My life as Elizabeth Windsor

Elizabeth Windsor at Castle Howard

Elizabeth Windsor toasts the Queen - our writer enjoys a glimpse of the Crown Jewels at Castle Howard - Credit: Charlotte Graham

Yorkshire Life writer Elizabeth Windsor tells us what it's like to share the name of arguably the most famous woman in the world.... 

It wasn’t until a letter dropped onto the doormat with an unusual red stamp on it that my mother realised what she’d done. Enclosed was a letter from Buckingham Palace from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting congratulating my parents on the birth of their baby girl and wishing her a long and prosperous life. She’d never intended to name her first child after the Queen of England, yet that’s exactly what had happened.

After my birth in August 1989, my grandparents from my father’s side (the Windsors) had written to the Queen to inform Her Majesty of the arrival of another Elizabeth Windsor into the world – me! Except this one had no royal connections (that we know of – any Prince Charmings please make yourself known) and was born rather unceremoniously by emergency caesarean in Calderdale Royal Hospital (well, I have always liked to make a bit of an entrance). Whether it was the traumatic birth or the presumption that my parents intended for me to share the Queen’s name, no one thought to mention it to them. Making the arrival of the royal letter somewhat of a surprise.

Will it fit ? Our Elizabeth Windsor holding a replica of the Queen's crown 

Will it fit ? Our Elizabeth Windsor holding a replica of the Queen's crown - Credit: Charlotte Graham

The surname Windsor comes from my father – a wonderful man who sadly left this world too soon, which makes me cherish my surname even more. They decided on the name ‘Beth’ for their first child, but as my mother didn’t want me christened with an abbreviated forename, it was decided that I would be Elizabeth, and always referred to as Beth. Of course, that wasn’t always the case, especially when Elizabeth is on all of my official documents.

After I graduated from university, I went to work for British Airways as an air stewardess where we had to have our full names on our badges. When asked if I could have Beth Windsor instead, they said Elizabeth Windsor fitted the brand better. I remember one particular flight where an American lady boarded the plane and exclaimed how wonderful it was that we all wore name badges with the Queen’s name on them, thinking it was in honour of her Diamond Jubilee. She refused to believe it was my real name until I showed her my passport with the evidence in black and white – this happens A LOT.

Similarly, when I organised a giant street party for the Queen’s Jubilee at BA’s headquarters and sent out emails about it, people presumed the email address had been created especially for the event. Nope, that's my actual name. 

Crowning glory - Elizabeth Windsor

Crowning glory - Elizabeth Windsor gets up close with a replica of the crown at Castle Howard - it is one the unique replica Crown Jewels pieces from Castle Howard's collection - Credit: Charlotte Graham

Sharing the same name as the Queen is certainly interesting. People either twig straight away, exclaiming that my parents must have had a sense of humour or asking if I’m aware I share the same name as our great monarch, which always amuses me. Other times it can take a little longer for the penny to drop and sometimes not at all. Although I’ve certainly received my fair share of questionable looks at passport control and doctor’s waiting rooms where my name is called out in front of lots of strangers who then peer around at me.

All-in-all I find it a great privilege to be called Elizabeth Windsor and share a name with our wonderful monarch. I would hate to part with it, especially as I'm now the last Windsor in our family tree, which is why I'll be keeping my surname even if I marry. Unless William or Harry suddenly become available again, of course.