|GEORGE V (1910-36 AD)|
George V was born June 3, 1865, the second son of Edward VII and Alexandra. His early education was
somewhat insignificant as compared to that of the heir apparent, his older brother Albert. George chose
the career of professional naval officer and served competently until Albert died in 1892, upon which
George assumed the role of heir apparent. He married Mary of Teck (affectionately called May) in 1893,
who bore him four sons and one daughter. He died the year after his silver jubilee after a series of
debilitating attacks of bronchitis, on January 20, 1936.|
George ascended the throne in the midst of a constitutional crisis: the budget controversy of 1910. Tories
in the House of Lords were at odds with Liberals in the Commons pushing for social reforms. When George
agreed to create enough Liberal peerages to pass the measure the Lords capitulated and gave up the power
of absolute veto, resolving the problem officially with passage of the Parliament Bill in 1911. The first
World War broke out in 1914., during which George and May made several visits to the front; on
one such visit, George's horse rolled on top of him, breaking his pelvis- George remained in pain for the
rest of his life from the injury.
The worldwide depression of 1929-1931 deeply affected England, prompting the king to persuade the heads
of the three political parties (Labour, Conservative and Liberal) to unite into a coalition government.
By the end of the 1920's, George and the Windsors were but one of few royal families who retained their
status in Europe. The relationship between England and the rest of the Empire underwent several changes.
An independent Irish Parliament was established in 1918 after the Sinn Fein uprising in 1916, and the
Government of Ireland Act (1920) divided Ireland along religious lines. Canada, Australia, New Zealand
and South Africa demanded the right of self-government after the war, resulting in the creation of the
British Commonwealth of Nations by the Statute of Westminister in 1931. India was accorded some degree of
self-determination with the Government of India Act in 1935.
The nature of the monarchy evolved through the influence of George. In contrast to his grandmother and
father - Victoria's ambition to exert political influence in the tradition of Elizabeth I and Edward VII's
aspirations to manipulate the destiny of nations - George's royal perspective was considerably more humble.
He strove to embody those qualities, which the nation saw as their greatest strengths: diligence, dignity
and duty. The monarchy transformed from an institution of constitutional legality to the bulwark of
traditional values and customs (particularly those concerning the family).