Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Ask Mefi Thread on Queen's Forename and Surname
December 10, 2008 3:13 PM   Subscribe

I remember an Ask Metafilter question in which it was asked whether, if the current Queen of England went by a name based on her forename and surname (the format many of us go by, such as "John Smith" or "Jane Doe"), what that name would be. I can't seem to find it under the "queen" tag or via a Google search.

I remember it had a bit of a spirited back-and-forth between some monarchist and anti-monarchist factions, which, as an American, I found kind of interesting, and, as I'm watching "The Queen" at the moment, the question popped into my mind based on a tossaway line in the movie.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 3:13 PM (69 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Well, she's Elizabeth Windsor, so I tried a site search for that and got a few hits, none of which are "What is the Queen's Name" though.

http://ask.metafilter.com/26918/God-save-the-queen

http://ask.metafilter.com/15784/Curtsy-for-the-Queen

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:34 PM on December 10, 2008


Well, she's Elizabeth Windsor von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 PM on December 10, 2008


She signs as "Elizabeth R" (short for Elizabeth R00lz) and before becoming Queen was known as Elizabeth Windsor, but I think that legally she does not have a surname. In the same way, she has neither passport nor drivers' licence, and cannot enter a court while in session (because the judges are acting on her behalf).

Yay, anachronism!
posted by athenian at 3:51 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was amused to read this from raedyn:
Isn't the British monarcy pretty much an empty, symbolic thing nowadays? More some sort of celebrity fluff position, and nothing of real political substance? - xmutex

In Canada, yes - for the most part. There are a bunch of things the Queens representative does (summoning & dissolving Parliament, sign bills into law, appointing Supreme Court Justices,) that are normally done under the advisement of the Prime Minister. It's very rare (like you could count on one hand the number of times) that the GG uses their own judgement in their parts of the democratic process.
Might need another hand soon.
posted by timeistight at 3:51 PM on December 10, 2008


Well, she's Elizabeth Windsor von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Not since 1917 really.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:56 PM on December 10, 2008


I still remember it being in a Metafilter context, but it's possible my memory's taking something from Wikipedia and mistakenly transplanting it here ...
posted by WCityMike at 3:56 PM on December 10, 2008


There was a wikipedia lame edit war about whether Queen Victoria's family name was Wettin, if that's what you're thinking of?
posted by calico at 4:19 PM on December 10, 2008


First name Queen, last name Elizabeth. Just like Queen Latifah.
posted by qvantamon at 4:20 PM on December 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Not since 1917 really.

sure, but it's still her "real" name. just like if you changed your name to - idunno, "cooter", for example - i'd still be all like "pssst, her real name is actually jessamyn..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:24 PM on December 10, 2008


[She] cannot enter a court while in session (because the judges are acting on her behalf).

Does that mean she can murder with impunity?
posted by Iridic at 4:24 PM on December 10, 2008


Isn't the British monarcy pretty much an empty, symbolic thing nowadays? More some sort of celebrity fluff position, and nothing of real political substance? - xmutex

Much like the American Constitution... just words. But some of us have pledged to defend it/her with our lives.

Ain't life mad?
posted by blue_beetle at 4:25 PM on December 10, 2008


If calico is barking up the right tree, this might be a branch on it. In which case, this is a younger branch on the same tree, I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:26 PM on December 10, 2008


Not since 1917 really.

on afterthought: i never realised she was that old! sure, she looks like she's around 245, but i always put that down to the premature ageing effect of having a great raving dolt like charles for a son.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 PM on December 10, 2008


Thanks, guys. I'm about 85% sure that this is what I'm thinking of, and it was a link within the "lamest edit wars" page you linked to that led me there.
posted by WCityMike at 4:33 PM on December 10, 2008


Does that mean she can murder with impunity?

well, criminal cases are always in the form of "R v John Doe", where R conveniently stands for either Regina or Rex, depending on the gender of the current monarch.

if the queen committed a murder, the case would be "R v R" and most likely end in a stalemate.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:36 PM on December 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


R v The Imaginary Rabbit.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:42 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


First name Queen, last name Elizabeth. Just like Queen Latifah.

A long-standing dispute between my wife and myself pertains to a joke I made back when the movie adaptation of "Chicago" came out: "You know why Queen Latifah won't win the Oscar for that? Anti-royalist sentiment."

I thought it was clever as the dickens. She likened it to "jerk store".
posted by Joe Beese at 4:53 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: "sure, but it's still her "real" name. just like if you changed your name to - idunno, "cooter", for example - i'd still be all like "pssst, her real name is actually jessamyn...""

Right, but if her grandfather had changed the family name to West from the slightly more clumsy "Tricycle-Banana-Proton" 9 years before she was born, I think we'd use the one she was, you know, born with.
posted by Plutor at 4:56 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


i've gotta hand it to you, Plutor, "Cooter Tricycle-Banana-Proton" has a great ring to it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 PM on December 10, 2008


Leave Gwyneth's poor children out of this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:06 PM on December 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


"jerk store"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2008


Hey! Jerk Store led me to Handbell Hero. Very apropos.
posted by tellurian at 5:31 PM on December 10, 2008


Speaking of jerk stores, that Holden guy from givewell was on NPR during my drive home today. He still sucks.
posted by inigo2 at 6:11 PM on December 10, 2008


Oh MAN someone was just telling me about that

"Hey were Givewell those fuckers that messed up your New Years Last year?"
"Yeah"
"I just heard about them on Marketplace"
"0_o"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:22 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those people who acts all militant about how backwards having a royal family is but if I ever had to chance to meet the queen I'd be all nervous and overly courteous and feel all starstruck afterwards.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:36 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Me too, Burhanistan, even without Freddie Mercury.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:42 PM on December 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


My brother-in-law is one of the most militant anti-republican, anti-right-wing, "everyone from Reagan on should be sent to Gitmo themselves" people I know, and to top it off he's brilliant, witty, verbose and brutally sarcastic , and stands a physically imposing 6' 7". One of his favorite stories is about the day he and a pal were playing golf in Kennebunkport when George Bush Sr. played through. They were both practically kowtowing, and couldn't say anything other than "nice drive, Mr. President".
posted by yhbc at 7:05 PM on December 10, 2008


Speaking of jerk stores, that Holden guy from givewell was on NPR during my drive home today. He still sucks.

Did he sound well-rested, though? The appearance of suck might have just been from lack of sleep, rather than actual suck.
posted by CKmtl at 7:43 PM on December 10, 2008


i remember seeing a news piece when prince andrew went into military service that mentioned that he went by the last name of "windsor." so, yeah, i think she's "elizabeth windsor"

royal trivia: queen elizabeth does not have a passport. (the british passports are written to request access on behalf of the queen. she can ask for herself)
posted by rmd1023 at 7:43 PM on December 10, 2008


From what hear, she is a very nice girl. Though not much to say.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:11 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


In England and Wales, your legal name is whatever you say it is, and you can change it at any time. (There are procedures you can use to provide evidence that you have changed your name, and which certain organizations may insist on before changing your name in their records, but they are not a legal necessity.)

In no sense is the Queen's name Elizabeth von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, since that's never a name that she would use.
posted by grouse at 8:35 PM on December 10, 2008


if the queen committed a murder, the case would be "R v R" and most likely end in a stalemate.

If she got sent to prison, it would be at "her majesty's pleasure," and she could say "Oh, no thanks, then. I'll pass."
posted by blenderfish at 8:45 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mountbatten-Windsor?
posted by hawkeye at 9:05 PM on December 10, 2008


Errr...

Few things:

1) The last person to hold the title of Queen of England was Anne; the title ended with the Acts of Union 1707.

2) Elizabeth does not have a last name. When one is legally required (e.g. her drivers' licence), she uses Windsor. Her children use Mountbatten-Windsor out of respect for their father, though Windsor is actually the correct one per various orders-in-council of the 50's and 60's; the people who should use M-W are those who do not bear royal titles.

3) The various children have generally used Windsor (though I believe Charles signed his first marriage register as Charles P). The male-line grandchildren tend to use the territorial designation of their fathers--William & Harry use Wales in the forces, Beatrice and Eugenie used York at school. Zara and Peter legally have surnames as their father was not a titled royal, and royalty is still somewhat sticky about which parent bears the title.

4) Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has not been a name used by the Royal Family since 1917, period. There is no circumstance under which that could be reasonably said to be their 'real' surname. The House name has been Windsor since 1917, with the same legal force as if you went to the appropriate government department, filled out the forms, and legally changed your surname.

5) The Queen is functionally above the law, as the living embodiment of it. There is a legal concept in Commonwealth monarchies that one may sue the Queen as institution (Regina), but not the Queen as person, in terms of civil law. In terms of criminal law it hasn't been tested in hundreds of years, not since that poor chap lost his head, but the widely-held opinion is that it would be impossible for the Queen to be tried in criminal court, as all courts speak with her voice; they are merely her representatives. So it's not that any such trial would end in a stalemate, it's that no such trial could be brought in the first place.

6) and before becoming Queen was known as Elizabeth Windsor -- not quite. She was The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, etc etc etc) immediately prior to becoming queen. Before her marriage she was The Princess Elizabeth (capitalised definite article as she was Heiress Presumptive from the moment her uncle abdicated), and prior to that abdication had been Princess Elizabeth from birth. During her short stint in the Army at the end of WWII she was Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, the only time she has ever used her last name apart from her drivers licence. I have no idea about her marriage licence, birth certificates of her children, or her bank accounts.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:33 PM on December 10, 2008 [16 favorites]


Why the devil does the queen need a driver license?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 PM on December 10, 2008


Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has not been a name used by the Royal Family since 1917, period. There is no circumstance under which that could be reasonably said to be their 'real' surname.

Well, that's the last time i try to joke around with amusingly long german names, you SchmutzigbetÀubtengelknabe.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


So she can legally drive a car.
posted by Kattullus at 9:52 PM on December 10, 2008


Why the devil does the queen need a driver license?

just in case she needs to take the corgis for a walk.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:53 PM on December 10, 2008


Ah... a silly joke wasted by being too late to post.
posted by Kattullus at 9:53 PM on December 10, 2008


royal trivia: queen elizabeth does not have a passport. (the british passports are written to request access on behalf of the queen. she can ask for herself)

Hm. How does that work with the US? Doesn't the US officially NOT recognize nobility titles (at least inside its borders, and especially English ones)?

Would a US border official deny her entry without a passport?
posted by qvantamon at 10:10 PM on December 10, 2008


Oh, and she needs a driver's license so she can buy beer.

Otherwise, how can anyone tell she's more than 21 (or 18, whatever)?
posted by qvantamon at 10:11 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The U.S. recognizes the Queen as the UK's head of state. Her noble title is irrelevant from a diplomatic point of view.
posted by grouse at 10:13 PM on December 10, 2008


Doesn't the US officially NOT recognize nobility titles (at least inside its borders, and especially English ones)?

Article I, Section 9:
"No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

(Section 10 says states can't grant them either.)

So, we don't grant them.
But that doesn't mean it can't be recognized. In fact, the fact that accepting a title from a foreign state is subject to congressional approval would seem to be, in and of itself, a form of recognition.

Doesn't _mean_ much of anything, though. Won't get you any privilege, and if it did that would probably run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause, at least. (but, I'm no expert.)

Of course, we're nice to Heads of friendly States and/or their Foreign Dignitaries in general.

And I've never heard any particular disdain for English titles, other than they're about the last of our major historical allies who still use them. Probably didn't go over so well around 1776, though.
posted by blenderfish at 10:53 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would a US border official deny her entry without a passport?

I'm more curious as to whether the official would deny her entry without first collecting a set of fingerprints, biometric photo, DNA swab, and perhaps a cavity search.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 PM on December 10, 2008


Would a US border official deny her entry without a passport?

Well, if you're working the Canadian-US border on some Tuesday night, and an old woman shows up wanting to get into the country with no passport, claiming to be the Queen of England, I'd sure hope so.

I guess what I'm saying is she should definitely call ahead.
posted by blenderfish at 11:24 PM on December 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Her 80th birthday celebration website has an image of her birth certificate. No surname was given, for parents or child.
posted by Knappster at 11:25 PM on December 10, 2008


Didn't Mrs. Mountbatten knight Sir Ronald Reagan?
posted by Cranberry at 12:17 AM on December 11, 2008


Does that mean she can murder with impunity?

Man, this should be a book.

Has anybody ever come up with a story about modern royals murdering with impunity? Um... other than the obvious?
posted by the latin mouse at 2:30 AM on December 11, 2008


Does that mean she can murder with impunity?

It might play out like upskirt photography in WA state.

Person covertly takes upskirt photos of women around town.
Gets caught, and arrested.
When they attempt to prosecute him, they find they can't, because he hasn't broken any laws.
Upskirt photography is legal! Press goes wild!
Sensing the potential for free press and votes, state law-makers fall over each other in their rush to gravely say (in an Emperor Palpy voice) "I will make it (il)legal!"
But too late to do anything to the person who started the whole kerfuffle.
And everyone feels kind of embarrassed about that.

It would be like that. Except with more dead bodies.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:05 AM on December 11, 2008


royal trivia: queen elizabeth does not have a passport. (the british passports are written to request access on behalf of the queen. she can ask for herself)

Hm. How does that work with the US? Doesn't the US officially NOT recognize nobility titles (at least inside its borders, and especially English ones)?

Would a US border official deny her entry without a passport?


I don't think heads of state ever use passports. I suspect that even when they go on holidays (as opposed to state visits) their diplomatic service arranges it beforehand.
posted by atrazine at 4:25 AM on December 11, 2008


You know who else changed their name?
posted by tallus at 5:37 AM on December 11, 2008


if the queen committed a murder, the case would be "R v R" and most likely end in a stalemate.

However, Q v R is known to be a win for Q with ideal play, although R can make it very difficult in practice.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:05 AM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


dirtynumbangelboy: Her children use Mountbatten-Windsor out of respect for their father

I thought Edward was Edward Windsor in his television work.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:25 AM on December 11, 2008


It might play out like upskirt photography bestiality in WA state.

Person covertly takes upskirt photos of women around town
horse weener in, um, his self and dies.
Owner of horse Gets caught, and arrested.
When they attempt to prosecute him, they find they can't, because he hasn't broken any laws.
Upskirt photography
Having sex with animals is legal! Press goes wild!
Sensing the potential for free press and votes, state law-makers fall over each other in their rush to gravely say (in an Emperor Palpy voice) "I will make it (il)legal!"
But too late to do anything to the person who started the whole kerfuffle.
And everyone feels kind of embarrassed about that.

It would be like that. Except with more dead bodies.


I'd link the news story, but I'm at work and am afraid of what kind of treasure google will dig up with the magic 'B' word in there.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2008


Burhanistan : Why the devil does the queen need a driver license?

I'm not sure, but I'm picturing a great video short where she is being carded for cigarettes and cheap vodka at a gas station by a 20 something clerk who is determined to fulfill his duties to "check everyone's ID" on fear of getting fired.
posted by quin at 8:31 AM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah and she totally holds up a stamp and is like "This is me!!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:35 AM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Videotapes show bestiality, Enumclaw police say. "enumclaw" sounds to this programmer like an unusually dirty C hack.

And in related news from San Francisco, Police Review Horse Death is, as headlines go, less than clear.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 AM on December 11, 2008


I thought Edward was Edward Windsor in his television work.

Could be; Anne used M-W for her marriages and (I believe) her court (as in law, not Buck house) appearance, as far as I know.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:04 AM on December 11, 2008


Oh yeah and she totally holds up a stamp and is like "This is me!!"
posted by jessamyn at 4:35 PM on December 11


Or...any of the bills and coins she has in her pockets. (Does the Queen carry loose change?)
posted by vacapinta at 10:48 AM on December 11, 2008


This is why I love Metatalk...I get to the end of a thread and I'm reading comments about bestiality in WA and following links to articles about a man killed by sex with a horse when I suddenly think "Wait, didn't this thread start out with some question about the Queen of England? How the fuck did we get here?"
posted by thejanna at 11:44 AM on December 11, 2008


Or...any of the bills and coins she has in her pockets. (Does the Queen carry loose change?)

Royalty, famously, doesn't carry money. That's what HM has ladies-in-waiting for.

psst.. thejanna... ain't no such thing as the Queen of England. Hasn't been since 1707.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:45 AM on December 11, 2008


Oh yeah and she totally holds up a stamp and is like "This is me!!"

That reminds me of that one man show about Lincoln that Bob Odenkirk used to do where he would say "Hand me a mirror and a penny" and then he would look back on forth between the two and say "It's true! I've gained weight!"
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:13 PM on December 11, 2008


"The Queen does carry money on Sundays--a folded note of unknown denomination which she discreetly places in the collection plate."
posted by Knappster at 12:40 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Wait, didn't this thread start out with some question about the Queen of England? How the fuck did we get here?"

The shortest route between those points is usually through Princess Anne.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:42 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Knappster: according to a book called What's in the Queen's Handbag?, that article is slightly incorrect; she actually carries a hook in the bag for hanging it off her desk, dining tables, etc.

In addition to the usual personal stuff, she also carries a framed photo of her mother and father at their coronation, a personal alarm, a Blackberry (!), throat lozenges, etc.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and she uses the handbag as subtle sign language for her staff. Switching it from one arm to the other (L-R, I think) indicates to her aides that she wishes to leave whatever situation she's in.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2008


Glad i could make your day, thejanna. That was actually the most linked news story for the Seattle Times for 2005. I actually had not heard of the story harlequin was talking about, but it reminded me of the one i was talking about.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2008

In England and Wales, your legal name is whatever you say it is
That's the case in the few US states I have reason to know about, as well, and I kind of assume it's true in general for places that got their legal system from England.
posted by hattifattener at 12:14 AM on December 12, 2008


Not in Canada. Hereabouts, your legal name is the one on your birth certificate. You can use other names (professionally, e.g.), but in practice it's difficult to use anything other than (reasonable variations of) your birthname, as everything eventually derives from your birth certificate--credit cards > bank accounts > drivers licence > birth cert, to show one chain.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:24 AM on December 12, 2008


« Older Howdy, Tampa/St. Petersburg, F...  |  MagCloud, HP's invitation-only... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments