Witley, July 26, 1917

Thursday        Slept in this am on F.P [Fire Picquet last night] The weather is fair have been busy all day fixing up for an inspection by the King which is to take place between 10 am & 1 pm tomorrow I am in the best of Health Expect to hear from [Janie] soon Heard from Mother Wed.

There must have been some excitement in camp at the prospect of a Royal inspection, which often preceded orders to go overseas.

king-georgeGeorge V, Queen Victoria’s grandson, announced last week that his family’s name was henceforth to be Windsor, rather than Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, an all too obvious a reminder of his German heritage and connections. George’s grandfather was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; his aunt (another Victoria) was the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm.  Thus the kings whose nations were at war were first cousins.

Not only did the King change the family name, but he also renounced all “German Degrees, Styles, Dignities, Titles, Honours and Appellations.” (1) “No reasons are assigned in the Proclamation,” opined one of the London newspapers, “but they are sufficiently obvious. Germany in this war has broken the laws of civilisation and humanity as no belligerent had hitherto done for two hundred years.”  The new name “suggests antiquity and long tradition; there is history in the very sound of the word. It combines past and present with the promise of the future. And it is English, as Windsor and the Castle themselves are English, set in one of the fairest and loveliest of English landscapes.” (2)

The Daily Telegraph was “quite sure that public opinion throughout this country and the Empire will applaud the Proclamation.” (2)

(1) “The New Name of the Royal Family: King’s Proclamation,” The Daily Telegraph. July 18, 1917. 5. Available from the Telegraph‘s World War I online archive.
(2) “The House of Windsor,” The Daily Telegraph. July 18, 1917. 4.

The photograph of King George V comes from the National Post‘s reprint of 1917 reports of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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