British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

Glossary: George V

Political Career:

George V took the throne during a constitutional crisis, the budget controversy of 1910, which was resolved with the passage of the Parliament Bill in 1911. When the First World War broke out in 1914, George and his wife visited the front over 450 times as well as hospitals, factories and dockyards. At one of those visits his horse rolled over him and broke his pelvis which caused him pain for the rest of his life. In 1917 the anti-German feeling caused the adoption of the family name Windsor. When the worldwide depression broke out in 1929 it affected England deeply; the king was forced to persuade the three political parties (Labour, Conservatives and Liberal) to unite and build a coalition, a national government. Therefore in the end of the 1920's the Windsors were one of the few Royal Families that kept their royal status.
During that time, the relations between England and the rest of its Empire underwent changes. Ireland established an independent Parliament in 1918 after the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. The government of Ireland Act divided Ireland along religious lines. The six northern counties remained part of the United Kingdom, whilst the rest formed the Republic of Ireland. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa demanded to be self-governed after the war as well and so did the British Commonwealth of Nations was created by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. India was given some degree of self-determination as well when the Government of India Act was passed in 1935.
Under George V the monarchy transformed from an institution of constitutional legacy to a wall of traditional values and customs.
George V also started the annual Christmas Broadcast by the sovereign, to the Empire, which was firstly transmitted in 1932.


Personal Life:

George V was born on June 3rd in 1865 in London. He was the second son of Edward VII and Alexandra. Because he was unlikely to become king due to his older brother Albert, he joined the Royal Navy when he was 18 and started a career as a professional naval officer, serving until his older brother's death in 1892. He married Mary of Teck, who had been his older brothers fiancée, in 1893, together they had four sons and one daughter.
The King celebrated his Silver Jubilee, in 1935, which was greatly joined by the public. George V died on January 20th 1936.


Back to previous page