Our surnames play a significant role in giving a person an identity beyond their respective profession. It gives away details of our heritage and acts as a brand, which is true even for the royals. Some of us may have royal last names hiding in our family tree, or our ancestors may have royal roots that we aren’t aware of. Even if you don’t have tales of Kings and Queens to recollect, it might be fun to investigate and discover that having noble connections is somewhat common in most families. However, as with any aspect of your family history research, all information must be verified and accurately sourced before you can correctly add it to your family tree. Royalty surnames and aristocratic surnames are not meant for vanity purposes but give valuable insight into the families who have served their respective nations and have been immortalized in history.
As children inherit surnames from their father, similarly sovereigns take the name of their ‘House’ from their father. Whether by bloodline or marriage, royal families focus on national identity, unity, and pride. They give a sense of stability and continuity, supporting the idea of voluntary service and possessing special privileges. They are the imperials who are represented by an emperor or empress who reign by hereditary right. There are royal families worldwide, with around 26 monarchies comprising a fascinating network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors, and emirs who rule over 43 countries. There were no British royal surnames before 1917 as only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged existed. Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries they belonged to, and their families ruled instead of a traditional last name. Kings and queens signed themselves by their first names only as no official family name is passed by the law of the land, and they are bound to decide any last name for themselves. They are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess and do not need a surname at all. Royal last names England tended to change when a rival faction within the family took the line of succession of a particular dynasty. English royal last names reflect a combination of both Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Phillip’s last names. British royal family names are considered British cultural icons today who represent social values and changes while glorifying the role. Therefore, royal blood last names have the power to lend your character a regal touch that may inspire a magnificent fantasy world and help you pay homage to their nobility. When it comes to royal last names, there are a wealth of European royal surnames gracing this long list.
Nevertheless, Europe is by far not the only continent to offer a royal affair. There is an abundance of emperors and royal dynasties around the globe like Scottish royal surnames, African royal surnames, eastern royal surnames, Asian royal surnames, and island royal surnames worthy of immediate attention being unique in their ways. Even if your child’s character doesn’t match them, you can hope that these last names would bring them good luck, help them inherit a fortune like the fairy royals, and stay blessed forever. Read on to find interesting information on the unique last names of royal families and get an insight into how these last names are linked to royalty.
60 Royal Surnames Or Family Names With Meanings
A royal family name is highly respected, admired, and loved for its wealth, influence, and international status. Parents looking for a strong surname with special meaning can explore this well-researched inventory given below to either trace their royal lineage or choose one for their beloved child that will help to establish their identity in the future.
This noble family hailed from the Bavarian region of Germany and ruled alongside the Merovingian dynasty around the seventh century AD. Prince Agilulf started this dynastic name, this dynastic name was derived from old Germanic words agil (meaning edge) and ulf (wolf).
Having descended from its founder Alpin mac Echdach, the Alpins ruled Scotland and nearby regions between the 9th and 11th centuries AD. Alpin in Gaelic means’ white,’ referring to mountain dwellers.
The House of Khalifa is the ruling family of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Al Khalifas belong to the Utub tribe that migrated from Central Arabia to Kuwait. They then ruled Qatar and Al Zubarah, which they built before settling in Bahrain in the early 17th century. Khalifa is an Arabic honorific title which in English means ‘successor,’ ‘regent,’ or ‘viceroy.’
This German nobility belongs to the Bavaria region, whose ancestry goes back to the 13th century AD. Derived from the Saxon root, Althan means ‘spring.’
Also called Barclay de Tolly, Barclays is a well-respected noble family of Baltic German settlement. Originally from Scotland, they migrated to Russian and then German regions towards the mid-17th century. The name means ‘birch tree meadow’ in Scottish.
Forming the House of Bourbon, Bourbons have ruled large parts of France and some areas of Spain between the 16th and 18th centuries AD. Robert, Count of Clermont, founded this dynasty. Louis Alphonse de Bourbon of Spain currently heads the family. They are considered as the rightful heirs to the French throne.
This old noble family of Scottish ancestry was founded by Robert, the Bruce, a high-ranking knight during the rule of William I in the 13th century AD. Bruce translates to ‘willow’ in Old English.
Chakri means ‘king’ or ‘Lord Vishnu’ The Chakri dynasty is the current reigning dynasty of the Kingdom of Thailand. The family has ruled Thailand since the founding of the Rattanakosin Era and the city of Bangkok in 1782. The royal house was founded by Rama I, an Ayutthaya military leader of Sino-Mon descent.
Derived from the Italian word Conti, Contarini means ‘companion.’ The Kingdom of Venice founded this Italian nobility. They are equivalent to the Dukes, apart from holding other roles like diplomats and ambassadors.
The House of Capet was the royal family of France who ruled from 987 to 1328, and Charles IV was their last official King. Capet in Old French means ‘captain’ or ‘head.’
The history of the Cobenzis can be traced back to the early 1200s when they settled in the area of present-day Slovenia. Presently, they hold a significant influence in Carinthia, Austria, and their members have occupied positions of Barons and ambassadors.
The wealth and influence of this high-ranking noble family hailing from the Republic of Venice peaked during the early 12th century. Domenico Dandolo was the earliest member of the family.
Dassanowsky is a topographic last name belonging to a village. This is a branch of Polish nobility that settled in Vienna, Austria, in the 1600s.
The Doukas is a high-ranking aristocratic family of the Byzantine era that flourished from the 9th to 11th centuries. Members of the Doukas family can still be found in many parts of Greece.
The Estridsen family was at the height of its power from 1047 to 1412 and occupied the foremost ranks. Derived from Norse origin, Estridsen means ‘divine beauty.’ This dynasty was founded by Estrid Svendsdatter and produced several Kings of Denmark. Though their power waned in the 1400s, members still occupied critical administrative posts.
Belonging to the Jewish ancestry, Ernušt is a member of the Hungarian nobility. Ernust means ‘diligent and hardworking.’ They settled in medieval Hungary who migrated from Vienna. Members also occupied essential ranks in the Kingdom of Croatia from 1450 to the 1500s under King Corvinus.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was France’s Queen Consort, who became the wife of King Henry III. Eleanor in Greek means “bright, shining one.”
The Ferdinand family has been influential in Austria since the early 1800s. Franz Ferdinand was the duke of Austria. Ferdinand in German means’ brave’ or ‘courageous.’
This noble house of Austria of German origin flourished in the mid-1800s. Belonging to German lineage, a branch of the House of Fenner. In the late 18th century, the family prospered in Meseritz in South Prussia and moved to Austria-Hungary in the 19th century. Fenrich comes from the modern German word fahne meaning ‘flag’ or ‘banner.’
Later known as Caligula, Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was awarded the Roman cognomen and victory title for his campaigns in Germania. He ruled as a Roman emperor between AD 37 and AD 41.
Harold Godwinson, also called Harold II, was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England. He succeeded William the Conqueror.
The Hashemites, or the House of Hashim, are the royal family of Jordan, who have ruled since 1921 along with the kingdoms of Hejaz, Syria, and Iraq. Hashim means ‘destroyer’ in Arabic.
Hardrada in Norwegian means’ hard ruler’. The Hardrada family has ruled over Norway and Ireland. Its founder Herald Hardrada ruled as King of Norway from 1046 to 066 AD.
Herbert is a Germanic given name, formed by combining harja- “army,” “warrior” or “noble, sublime” and beraht “bright” or “shining.”The Herbert family is an Anglo-Welsh noble family founded by William Herbert, the son of William ap Thomas, founder of Raglan Castle.
Members of the Harviala clans were landlords in Finland, with Vanaja being their seat of the family rule. The Harviala family and descendants are now Councilors in the Finnish monarchy.
Holstein comes from Middle Low German holt-sate, meaning ‘forest dwellers.’ The Holstein family adopted the name from the region of the same name in northern Germany. From 800 to 1500s, members of the family occupied positions of Count and Councilors in different Kingdoms.
Howard comes from the Anglo-Scandinavian name Haward, composed of the Old Norse elements há ‘high’ varðr ‘guardian,’ ‘warden.’ Founded by John Howard in the late 1400s, the Howard family has emerged as one of the most powerful English families. Members of the family occupied positions of Earls and Dukes during the 1400-1500 eras.
The Anscarids, or the House of Ivrea, was a medieval Frankish dynasty of Burgundian origin that reached the height of popularity in Italy in the tenth century. They even held the Italian throne for a while.
Yaropolk was the son of Izyaslav Yaroslavichand King of Rus. After his father’s death, Yaropolk was appointed Prince of Volhynia and Prince of Turov in 1078.
Emperor Jimmu was the first emperor of Japan who ruled in the 7th century BC. Jimmu means “divine warrior” and is formed by combining Jin meaning “god” and mu meaning “military, martial.”
Khan comes from Turkish khan, meaning ‘ruler’ or ‘nobleman.’ It was initially a hereditary title among Tartar and Mongolian tribesmen but is now widely used throughout the Muslim world. Genghis Khan was Emperor of the Mongol Empire.
Igor of Kiev and Olga of Kiev were rulers of Slavic regions. Kiev, in its Hebrew origin, means ‘Gift of God.’ Grand Prince of Kiev was the title of the prince of Kiev and the ruler of Kievan Rus’ from the 10th to 13th centuries. This dynasty went on to establish Kievan Rus’.
Komnenos were a Byzantine Greek noble family who ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1185. Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, a high-ranking military official, founded and headed the Empire of Trebizond.
The Kurki family, or the Kurcks, was a baronial family from Laukko, Finland. Arvid Kurck went on to become a Swedish Count in the early 1800s. Kurck in Finnish means’ peninsula’.
The Lambergs were mostly Barons in the16th century Germany. Other members of the family occupied distinguished positions in the German and Austrian kingdoms. Lamberg in German means ‘cold, snowy mountains.’
This British dynasty name was adopted by a branch of the princely Battenberg family during World War I because of rising anti-German sentiment among the British. It is an Anglicised spelling of the German Battenberg, meaning a small town in Hesse.
Maxwell was adopted from a location near Melrose, in Roxburghshire, Scotland. This name is represented as Mac Suail in Scottish Gaelic and originally meant “Mack’s spring or stream.”
The Mattei family graced distinguished papal positions in the Roman Catholic Church around the 1500s. The surname Mattei came from the personal name Matteo, which is the Italian form of the English Matthew meaning’ gift of God’.
The Macedonian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867 to 1056. The dynasty was named after its founder, Basil I, the Macedonian, who came from the Theme of Macedonia. This last name belonged to Alexander the Great.
The House of Munsö, also known as the House of Björn Ironside, is the earliest royal dynasty of Sweden, which ruled during the Viking Age between the 12th and 13th centuries as per the Icelandic chronicles. The name originates from the rulers of the island of Munsö. The name House of Björn Ironside comes from the founder of the dynasty Björn Ironside, a legendary figure.
Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was a queen of the 18th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt, the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. The name Nefertiti means ‘Perfect One’ in its Egyptian origin.
Named after the lordship associated with Nassau Castle, located in present-day Nassau, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, The House of Nassau is an aristocratic dynasty in Europe. The lords of Nassau were initially titled “Count of Nassau” and were later called “Princely Counts.”
Novosel was a noble family influential in the Kingdom of Croatia and the later Habsburg Monarchy during the period in history marked by the Ottoman wars in Europe. This Ukrainian and Jewish nickname refers to a newcomer to a place.
Oldenburg is a European dynasty originating from Northern Germany and having strong ties with Denmark. Apart from Oldenburg, they have also ruled many other countries, including Iceland, Greece, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
This royal family consists of the monarch of Ondonga of Namibia, the late King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, the paramount chief within the Republic of Namibia, and the hereditary head of the Ondonga dynasty.
The Priuli family belonged to the republic of Venice in the 14th century. Members of the aristocratic family occupied a variety of high posts in Venetian nobility.
47. Pasha al-Mas’ud ibn Agha
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas’ud ibn Agha, also known as Muhammad Ali of Egypt and Sudan, was the Alban ian Ottoman governor and the de facto ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848. Pasha is an honorific title in Arabic.
Derived from the given name Pavel, which is the Slavic form of the name Paul. Paul comes from the Latin word Paulus, which means ‘small.’
The Querini family were one of the wealthiest family of Venice in the 1300s. Descendants of the royal family were essential members of Venetian political circles till the 1800s.
Myles Christopher David Robertson was the 12th Baron of Wharton. Robertson is a patronymic surname, meaning “son of Robert.” It originated in Scotland and northern England.
The Rothschild family is a prominent noble family of Jewish origins. After making their fortunes in the 18th century Frankfurt, Germany, they spread throughout Europe and America to expand their businesses.
The Salian family gained prominence in the Holy Roman Empire, producing four kings from 1027 to 1125. Salian comes from the Anglo-Saxon name Solomon.
The Samborides were a ruling clan that influenced the northern regions of Poland. Their presence was most important in the region of Pomerelia. The Samborides lost their dynasty around the early 1200s, but the name continued to exist. In Polish, Samborides means ‘wise’ or ‘famous.’
The Savelli family rose to power in 13th century Rome. Derived from Latin, Savelli means ‘promise’ or ‘word.’
Tudor family ruled over England, Wales, and Ireland, rising to prominence in the mid-15th century. They are closely related to the Windsors, who are the present reigning monarchs. Tudor in Welsh means’ ruler of the people.’
The Utheemu dynasty was created in 1573 when Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam became the sultan of the Maldives. This island royal dynastic family was named after the northern Maldives island of Utheemu.
57. Von Schmitt
This high-ranking noble family lived in the Kingdom of Bavaria, present-day Germany, in the 1800s. Johannes Kaspar Schmitt was the councilor and first important member of the family. Schmitt comes from the wordsmith, meaning ‘blacksmith’ or ‘metalworker.’
In the ninth century, the Wilhelminer family was a powerful family that ruled parts of Bavaria, Germany. They rose to prominence during the war of Wilhelminar under the leadership of brothers William and Engelschalk.
This British family of the United Kingdom is the most famous royals around the globe. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-lived and the longest-reigning aristocrat, having ruled since 1952. Windsor means ‘windy bank’ in Old English.
Alexandrina Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland. She was the last in the line of Hanover. The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors, and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.
Even though some countries have abolished royalty altogether, as in post-revolutionary France (1870), post-revolutionary Russia (1917), Portugal (1910), post-war Germany (1918), post-war Italy (1946), and many ex European colonies, the fascination for the royals and their surnames will never wear out in the imagination of the common public. Still, today they act as role models, and their lineages are well-documented. Thus, their celebrity status and glamorous lifestyle will continue to encourage parents to select one of their last names for their beloved child.