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King George 5th

Updated on June 12, 2013

Early Life

George Frederick Ernest Albert was born on 3rd of June 1865. He was the second son of Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales and Alexandra Princess of Wales. His father, Prince Edward would later become King Edward 7th on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria. George's elder brother, Albert Victor was seventeen months older than George and they were raised together, taught their lessons together and joined the Royal Navy together when George was twelve years old. They were sent to H.M.S Brittania in Dartmouth where they served for two years before being drafted to H.M.S. Bacchante. Their ship then sailed on a tour of Commonwealth countries and colonies and over the three year period that they were away, the ship visited the Meditteranean, Egypt, the Caribbean, America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The boys were seasoned seamen by the time they got back to England.

Albert was then sent to University in Trinty College, Cambridge while George stayed on in the Royal Navy. He served as a general officer until he was given his own ship in 1890, a gunboat. His ship served with the Caribbean and North American squadrons.

King George 5th

In line to the throne

Sadly, in January 1892 George's brother, Albert Victor died of pneumonia. George's position was now second in line to the throne. Now that George was in direct line to the throne, he was created Duke of York, introduced into the House of Lords and given an apartment in St. James's Palace. Naval Service was no longer his primary career and he was assigned to other duties, mostly diplomatic. Albert had been betrothed to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck whose father was of German nobility, and during their mourning period George and Victoria Mary became very close. George proposed to her after a year of mourning and was accepted. They married on 6th July 1893.

George and Mary then began a life of diplomacy, travelling the world in the Royal Yacht. Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901 and George's father was crowned King Edward 7th. George now became Prince of Wales. Edward 7th, unlike his mother, started to prepare George in the duties of a monarch, giving him access to all the state documents and files that Victoria had denied to him. George included his wife in his new job and she responded enthusiastically, helping him to write some of his speeches. Mary and George had six children, five sons and a daughter. Sadly their youngest son, John died when he was thirteen years old after being ill for most of his life. Their eldest son and heir, Edward reigned for less than a year after his father died, then he abdicated, preferring to marry a divorced woman and live in exile, than take up the responsibilities of the monarch without her.

George as a boy

Edward the 7th,' Coronation

King George 5th

King Edward 7th died on 6th May 1910 and George was now King. His queen could not be called Queen Victoria so she became Queen Mary.

War broke out with Germany in 1914, and as Kaiser Wilhem of Germany was George's first cousin, it was decided that George and Mary and all their English family would drop all of their German titles and names. George announced that the British Royal House would drop the name,'House of Saxe Coburg and Gotha' and in future would be known as the 'House of Windsor.' His cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg became Louis Mountbatten, first Marquess of Milford Haven. Other British cousins on both sides dropped their German sounding names and titles and were given peerages in the House of Lords.

George was seriously injured on 28 October 1915 when he was thrown by his horse at a troop review in France. This, coupled with his heavy smoking did nothing to ease his recurring breathing problems. He was suffering from Pleurisy and obstructive pulmonary disease. His doctors insisted on him taking a cruise in the Mediterranean in 1925 for health reasons and he went, reluctantly.

In 1932, George agreed to deliver a Christmas Speech on the radio, which became an annual event. He was not in favour doing it at first but was persuaded by the argument that it was what his people wanted. He was concerned by the coming to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in 1933. In 1934 the king bluntly told the German ambassador that Germany was now the peril of the world, and that, if she went on at the present rate, there was bound to be war, and he warned his ambassador in Berlin to be very wary of the Nazis, and to be highly suspicious of them.

George's relationship with his eldest son Prince Edward deteriorated in later years. He was disappointed at Edward's failure to settle down and horrified by his love affairs with married women. He said of Edward, 'After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself within 12 months.'

On the evening of 15 January 1936, the King took to his bedroom with a cold, and gradually weakened. He drifted in and out of consciousness for the next five days then, on the 20th January his physician announced, 'The King's life is moving peacefully towards its close.' Shortly after, George 5th was dead.





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    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      You're right, hello,hello. Some of the royals are known to shoot themselves in the foot all the time. Maybe because their whole lives they've been given everything they wanted.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for this great history lesson. That Prince William and Kate seem to be great and pull the Monarchy together again after old Charlie made all that mess.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      Thanks for reading it, Dim. You are right, George 6th came to the throne when his brother Edward 8th abdicated.

      Edward was never crowned.

      raciniwa, thank you again. Prince Charles was an officer in the Royal Navy and he still has Naval Rank but is no longer active.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      ah, i see...because i've read an article about Prince Charles going into the army before...

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Brilliant. l enjoyed every word of that. l have vague memories of my mum saying ´that´s the old queen, queen Mary´ when l´d wonder who the lady all in black was

      in pictues of tthe Royal Familt.

      Am l right in thinking that George V1 was next on the throne, he being the father of the present Queen Elizabeth?. Thank you for a wonderful hub.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      Raciniwa, thanks for commenting. Its generally the case that the sons of royalty enter the armed forces. They are seen to be doing a useful job for their country.

      Case1worker. Family resemblances are very strong in the royals. Its easy to mix them up.

      tirelesstraveler, thank you for reading the hub. It was thought to be the right thing to do to change the names, as they didn't want to be associated with the Kaiser. He was a nasty man.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      Why does British royalty have to change their names? Dropping of German titles during WWI was common. Apparently my great grandfather couldn't get rid of his German name he did forbid the speaking of German by any of his family members. Excellent hub. Fascinating subject,

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I had to double take at the photo of King George as a boy I thought it was his son Edward. Shows how strong the family resemblance is!

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      is it really necessary for royalties to serve the army?

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      this is an awesome hub...i'll just read some more of your hubs later...