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Thursday, 26 March 2015

George V of the United Kingdom

King George V was born on June 3, 1865, in Marlborough House, London. He was the second and eldest-surviving son of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).

At the age of 16, while a serving officer in the Navy, George visited Japan and had a dragon tattooed on his arm.

George never expected to be king but became heir to the throne when his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, died from pneumonia.

Eighteen months after his brother’s death, George married Albert Victor’s fiancee, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, known as May. Their marriage took place on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London.


He became king of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII on May 6, 1910.

George V and Mary of Teck were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey in London on June 22, 1911.




On July 17, 1917 King George V issued a proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family would bear the surname Windsor. The king was of German paternal descent and the name was changed from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor in 1917 because of anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War.

The Badge of the House of Windsor 

King George had a pet parrot named Charlotte. The bird had a free run of the palace and learnt to say rude words. George used to upset the Queen by encouraging the parrot to walk across the breakfast table.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the first ever King's message on Christmas Day 1932 for George V, an epic speech of 251 words. Just before the broadcast, the king fell through his wicker armchair. He exclaimed "God bless my soul!" and delivered his lines.

Twenty million people across the British Empire heard the first Royal Christmas Message given by George V.


At the time of his death in 1936, King George's stamp collection was so large that it had its own room in Buckingham Palace.



After months of ill health, by January 20, 1936, King George V was close to death. His physicians, led by Lord Dawson of Penn, issued a bulletin with words that became famous: "The King's life is moving peacefully towards its close."

Dawson hastened the King's death by injecting him with a lethal combination of morphine and cocaine. He later noted that he acted to preserve the King's dignity, to prevent further strain on the family, and so that the King's death at 11:55 p.m. could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper rather than "less appropriate ... evening journals."

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