German blood flows, like the Rhine, in the veins of the British Royal Family. Some historians argue the House of Windsor originated in Germany. Others insist Prince William’s blood is a mix of so many ancestries that Deutsche is merely a trace.
The British Royal Family German lineage began in 1714. Queen Anne died without an heir at a time of high tension between Catholics and the Church of England. Catholicism dominated all, but one, of Anne’s relatives. A third cousin, George, was the only protestant among the succession candidates. He became George I, a British King born and raised in Germany. George simultaneously ruled Hannover and spoke only a few words of English upon taking the British throne. Queen Elizabeth II is his seventh great granddaughter.
Queen Victoria, who became Britain’s ruler in 1837, spoke only German until age three. Victoria married Albert of Bavarian royalty. The British Royal Family became the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Gingerbread Boys, a favorite of the court, is a German tradition. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s oldest son, Albert Edward, succeeded his mother to the thrown in 1901 as King Edward VII. The current Queen’s grandfather, King George V, came to power in 1910.
First cousins of George V included Czar Nicklaus II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Revolution in Russia and war with Germany increased English nationalism. George V chose to distance the royal family German heritage. In 1917, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha converted to the current House of Windsor.
Royalists argue the royal family German blood mixes with Scottish, Danish, Russian, Dutch, French, and Greek. What do you know? The Royals are like the rest of us with a ‘Heinz 57’ variety of backgrounds.
The next time there is a British Royal Family ceremony at Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, consider all of nationalities among the attending relatives. If you hear a little ‘oom-pah-pah’ in pageantry, the Germans may be celebrating a little louder than their cousins.