Fall of house of Windsor fails to impress subjects

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The Independent Online
THE QUEEN is the fourth sovereign from the house of Windsor. But will she be the last?

Prince Charles, in creating the house of Mountbatten- Windsor, would merely go a step further than his mother did in 1960 when she declared that those of her descendants not entitled to the style of Royal Highness or Prince or Princess, and female descendants who married - and their descendants - would in future use Mountbatten-Windsor.

A royal name change, according to George Jones, Professor of Government at the London School of Economics, can be done by proclamation. He said: 'They would need to take the advice of the Prime Minister, although technically Charles could do it on his own. I don't see it as being something unpopular and shouldn't require an Act of Parliament.'

However, it is his wish to reaffirm the ancestry of his father, and to reflect this in a new Royal house, that will attract renewed debate. His father, the Duke of Edinburgh, is the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg. The Duke's father was a Prince of Denmark and descended from kings of Greece, Denmark and Prussia.

Prince Philip's grandfather was Prince Louis of Battenberg, who in 1917 renounced his German titles, taking the surname of Mountbatten - while George V substituted Windsor for the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

However, this link with history may be lost on the new king's subjects.

Sir Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, said: 'The point of changing the name escapes me. What would make a difference is if people started behaving sensibly again.'

'I think Charles should change his name to Bernie Schwartz,' said Alan Coren, the writer and humourist. 'It's Tony Curtis's old name, so as he isn't using it at the moment, it's available. The Americans would love it, the Jewish community would be delighted and Tony Curtis would be thrilled.'

Helena Kennedy QC, barrister and chair of Charter 88, said: 'Repackaging is not going to solve the problem. We need to have a more radical look at the constitutional role of the monarchy.

'The nub of this is not about royal divorce. The debate should be held using constitutional language, not the language of mere gossip. '

The revelation in the Sunday Times about the Royal name appeared alongside further aspects of Prince Charles's personal life and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. The Prince is said, in the authorised work by Jonathan Dimbleby, to have had three separate love affairs with Mrs Parker Bowles and to have initiated the separation between himself and the Princess of Wales after he felt he was being denied access to his children. He also says he never considered giving up the Crown.

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