Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms is German from a house called “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is a German dynasty, the line of the Saxon House of Wettin that ruled the Ernestine duchies including the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Founded by Ernest Anton, the sixth duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, it is the royal house of several European monarchies, and branches currently reign in Belgium through the descendants of Leopold I, and in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms through the descendants of Prince Albert. Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V changed the name of his branch from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917. The same happened in Belgium where it was changed to “van België” (Dutch) or “de Belgique” (French)
The first duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was Ernest I, who reigned from 1826 until his death in 1844. He had previously been Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (as Ernest III) from 1806 until the duchy was reorganized in 1826. Ernst’s younger brother Leopold became King of the Belgians in 1831, and his descendants continue to serve as Belgian head of state. Léopold’s only daughter, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, was the consort of Maximilian I of Mexico, known as the Empress Carlota of Mexico, in the 1860s. Ernst’s nephew Ferdinand married Queen Maria II of Portugal, and his descendants continued to rule Portugal until that country became a republic in 1910.
Ernst I’s second son, Prince Albert (1819–1861), married Queen Victoria in 1840, and thus is the progenitor of the United Kingdom’s current royal family, called Windsor since 1917. In 1826, a cadet branch of the house inherited the Hungarian princely estate of Koháry, and converted to Roman Catholicism. Its members managed to marry an imperial princess of Brazil, an archduchess of Austria, a royal princess of “the French”, a royal princess of Belgium and a royal princess of Saxony. A scion of this branch, also named Ferdinand, became Prince, and then Tsar, of Bulgaria, and his descendants continued to rule there until 1946. The current head of the House of Bulgaria, the former Tsar Simeon II who was deposed and exiled after World War II, goes by the name Simeon Sakskoburggotski and served as Bulgaria’s prime minister from 2001 to 2005.
The ducal house consisted of all male-line descendents of John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld legitimately born of an equal marriage, males and females (the latter until their marriage), their wives in equal and authorised marriages, and their widows until remarriage. According to the House law of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the full title of the Duke was:
Wir, Ernst, Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, Jülich, Cleve und Berg, auch Engern und Westphalen, Landgraf in Thüringen, Markgraf zu Meißen, gefürsteter Graf zu Henneberg, Graf zu der Mark und Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein und Tonna usw.
We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera.
There were two official residences, in Gotha and Coburg. Therefore, the whole ducal court, including the Court Theater, had to move twice a year: from Gotha to Coburg for the summer and from Coburg to Gotha for the winter. For the Court Theater, two almost identical buildings had to be built in 1840 in Gotha (destroyed in the Second World War) and Coburg (now the Coburg State Theater) and thereafter maintained at the same time. In addition to the residential castles, Friedenstein in Gotha and Ehrenburg in Coburg, the Ducal family also used the Schloss Reinhardsbrunn in Gotha as well as the Rosenau and Callenberg Castles in Coburg and the hunting lodge Greinburg Castle, Grein, Austria.