George V - 1910-1936
The second son of Edward VII was quite unlike his father. He brought up his children with a severity that was intended to prevent a resurgence of Edward VII's libertine ways, and to restore dignity and decorum to the royal household and the life of the nation.
He was also concerned about the role of King and Parliament and refused to create new members of the House of Lords for political purposes, as requested by his Prime Minister. In 1914 the outbreak of war with Germany saw him standing firmly against his cousin the Emperor of Germany whom he later called 'the greatest criminal'.
Like his grandmother, Queen Victoria, George V was only dimly aware of the undercurrent of discontent among his less privileged subjects. The General Strike of 1926 was almost as much of a shock to him as the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Wall Street crash and its after effects in Britain was another sobering fact of George V's reign, and perhaps prompted his first royal broadcast to the nation in 1931.
The inter-war period during which George V reigned may have appeared broadly unruffled on the surface to most middle-class Britons, but there were strong currents of change at work under the surface of working class life and the young educated classes.
While writers like Noel Coward and P. G. Wodehouse were poking fun at middle-class morals, others like D. H. Lawrence and J. B. Priestly were undermining accepted ideas about sex and society, while the cartoonist Low was lampooning politics and politicians. But for George V and Queen Mary it was a regrettable development, one they hoped was a passing phase.
Key Events during the Reign of George V
1910 - George V bcomes King and Emperor of India on the death of his father Edward VII.
1911 - Parliament Act ensures the sovereignty of the House of Commons. National Insurance Act provides sickness and unemployment benefits.
1912 - SS Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage; more than 1,500 lives are lost.
1914-18 - First World War.
1914 - Battles of Mons, the Marne and Ypres.
1916 - Battle of the Somme. David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister.
1924 - First Labour government formed by Ramsay MacDonald.
1926 - General Strike in support of the coalminers.
1928 - All women over 21 get the vote.
1931 Great Depression leads to the formation of a national government of all three political parties.
1935 - George celebrates his Silver Jubilee: 25 years on the throne.
1936 - George V dies at Sandringham.