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King George V (1910 - 1936)

Name: King George V
Full Name: George Frederick Ernest Albert
Born: June 3, 1865 at Marlborough House, London
Parents: Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark
Relation to Charles III: Great-grandfather
House of: Windsor
Ascended to the throne: May 6, 1910 aged 44 years
Crowned: June 22, 1911 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Mary, the daughter of the Duke of Teck
Children: Five sons including Edward VIII and George VI, and one daughter
Died: January 20, 1936 at Sandringham, Norfolk, aged 70 years, 7 months, and 16 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 25 years, 8 months, 15 days
Succeeded by: his son Edward VIII

George V was the second son of Edward VII. His mother was Alexandra of Denmark, sister of Empress Marie of Russia. He joined the Royal Navy aged 12 and served until 1892 when he became heir to the throne on the death of his elder brother Albert, Duke of Clarence, who died of pneumonia.

In 1893, he married Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (known as ‘May’ to her family) who had previously been engaged to his brother. They became Duke and Duchess of York and lived on the Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk. The marriage was a success and George unlike his father never took a mistress. They had 6 children Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George and John. The youngest Prince John suffered from epilepsy and died aged 13.

He became King George V on the death of his father Edward VII in 1910, and Mary became Queen consort. They toured India in 1911 as Emperor and Empress of India. During World War I he made several visits to the front, and Mary visited wounded serviceman in hospital. She was staunch supporter of her husband during difficult times that included not only the war with Germany, but also the Russian revolution and murder of George’s cousin Princess Alix who was Tsarina Alexandra wife of Tsar Nicholas II, civil unrest including the General Strike in England, the rise of socialism, and Irish and Indian nationalism. George V has been criticised for not rescuing the Russian Royal family but at the time there was serious concern that it would incite a similar revolution in the UK. He sent a ship in 1922 to rescue the Greek Royal family including 1 year old Prince Philip now the Duke of Edinburgh.

In 1917 with anti-German sentiment running high, he changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (popularly known as Brunswick or Hanover) to Windsor, and he relinquished all German titles and family connections. George V enjoyed stamp collecting and although considered dull by biographers he became by his Silver Jubilee in 1935 a much loved King. In 1932 he started the tradition of the Royal Christmas broadcast which has continued ever since. His relationship deteriorated with this eldest son Edward (later Edward VIII) when he failed to settle down and had affairs with married women, but he was fond of his second son Albert (“Bertie” later George VI) and his granddaughter Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) whom he called ‘Lilibet’. She called him ‘Grandpa England’. He died of pleurisy in January 1936.

King George V's Signature


‘After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months’ – George V (about his son Edward who became Edward VIII)

‘Try living on their wages before you judge them’ – George V (taking exception to the suggestion that workers involved in the General Strike were revolutionaries)

‘I cannot understand it, after all I am only a very ordinary sort of fellow’ – George V (on adulation from cheering crowds at his Silver Jubilee)

Timeline for King George V

Year Event
1910George V becomes King and Emperor of India on the death of his father, Edward VII.
1911Parliament Act ensures the sovereignty of the House of Commons.
1911National Insurance Act provides sickness and unemployment benefits.
1912The luxury passenger ship S.S. Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage, drowning more than 1,500 people.
1913Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison throws herself under the Kings horse at the Epsom Derby
1914Anglican Church in Wales is disestablished.
1914The heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire is assassinated. Outbreak of World War I.
1914Battles of Mons, the Marne, and Ypres.
1915Second Battle of Ypres. Allied Gallipoli expedition fails to remove Turkey from the war.
1916Battle of the Somme. Naval Battle of Jutland between British and German fleets.
1916Easter Rising in Dublin in support of Irish independence.
1916David Lloyd George replaces Asquith as Prime Minister.
1917Battle of Passchendale.
1917Russian Revolution.
1918Czar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra (both cousins of George V) and their royal family are shot in Ekaterinburg.
1918Kaiser Wilhelm II (cousin of George V) abdicates as Germany faces defeat in World War I.
1918The end of World War I. Armistice signed on 11 November.
1918Reform Act gives votes to women over 30.
1918General Election produces landslide victory for Sinn Fein MPs in Ireland, who refuse to take their seats in Westminster and form their own DalI parliament in Dublin.
1919Lady Astor becomes the first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons
1919Third Afghan War. Afghanistan gains independence from Britain
1919A flu-pandemic (known as Spanish Flu) rages around the world killing over 50 million people.
1919-1921 Ireland partitioned into the Free State and the province of Northern Ireland.
1920Marconi opens first radio broadcasting station in Britain
1920A flu epidemic rages around the world killing more than 20 million people.
1922The British Broadcasting Company starts radio transmissions
1923Prince Albert (later George VI) marries Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
1924Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister of the first Labour Government
1926General Strike fails to reverse wage cuts and imposition of longer hours.
1926John Logie Baird demonstrates world's first television in London
1927British Broadcasting Corporation founded by Royal Charter
1928All women over the age of 21 get the vote.
1928George V falls seriously ill with blood poisoning of the lung.
1928Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin
1929Beginning of the Great Depression which lasted almost 10 years
1931The Statute of Westminster recognizes independence of. the dominions.
1931Great Depression leads to the formation of a national government of all three political parties under the leadership of Ramsay MacDonald.
1932George V makes the first annual Christmas broadcast on radio.
1935George V celebrates his Silver Jubilee.
1935Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates Radar
1935Stanley Baldwin replaces Ramsay MacDonald as prime minister
1936George V dies at Sandringham.