George was born on 3 June 1865, in Marlborough House, London. His full name was George Frederick Ernest Albert.
He was the second son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Albert Edward & Alexandra (later King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra).
His father was the eldest son of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, and his mother was the eldest daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark. As a son of the Prince of Wales, George was styled His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales at birth.
As a younger son of the Prince of Wales, there was little expectation that George would become king. He was third in line to the throne, after his father & elder brother, Prince Albert Victor. Albert Victor died aged 28 from influenza in the pandemic of 1889–92.
The Duke and Duchess of York (later George V & Queen Mary) on their wedding day 6 Jul 1893
The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V & Queen Mary) at the Devonshire House Ball, 2 Jul 1897.
Photograph of King George V when Duke of York standing facing the viewer and wearing fancy dress costume in the 16th Century style. On his right stands Queen Mary when Duchess of York also standing, facing the viewer and wearing a pearl necklace with Warwick sun brooch.
On her bodice she wears the necklace that was a wedding gift from the ‘Ladies of England’. She also wears the Kensington Bow brooch and the Dorset Bow brooch.
George, Duke of York (later George V) & Nicholas II of Russia (Nikolai II), Jul 1893
Queen Victoria with the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V & Queen Mary), 12 Aug 1893
The Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V & Queen Mary) and their six children. The Prince and the older boys wear Highland dress, which was usually worn at Balmoral so presumably this photograph was taken at Balmoral; within archway.
King Edward VII, King George V, when Prince of Wales, and Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia on the deck of the Russian Imperial Yacht Standart during the Cowes Regatta, 1909
The ageing King Edward VII stands at the centre of the group, with the Prince of Wales (George V) to the left & Nicholas II to the right. All are wearing ceremonial naval uniform & holding swords.
In August 1909 Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia & his family attended the annual Cowes Regatta. Their visit was hosted by King Edward VII, an uncle of the Emperor.
On 6 May 1910, King Edward VII died, and George became king. He wrote in his diary, “I have lost my best friend and the best of fathers … I never had a [cross] word with him in my life. I am heart-broken and overwhelmed with grief but God will help me in my responsibilities and darling May will be my comfort as she has always been. May God give me strength and guidance in the heavy task which has fallen on me”.
George had never liked his wife’s habit of signing official documents and letters as “Victoria Mary” and insisted she drop one of those names. They both thought she should not be called Queen Victoria, and so she became Queen Mary. Later that year, a radical propagandist, Edward Mylius, published a lie that George had secretly married in Malta as a young man, and that consequently his marriage to Queen Mary was bigamous. The lie had first surfaced in print in 1893 but George had shrugged it off as a joke. In an effort to kill off rumours, Mylius was arrested, tried and found guilty of criminal libel, and was sentenced to a year in prison.
George objected to the anti-Catholic wording of the Accession Declaration that he would be required to make at the opening of his first parliament. He made it known that he would refuse to open parliament as long as he was obliged to make the declaration in its current form. As a result the Accession Declaration Act 1910 shortened the declaration and removed the most offensive phrases.
King George and Queen Mary at the Delhi Durbar, 1911
George and Mary’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911, and was celebrated by theFestival of Empire in London. In July, the King and Queen visited Ireland for five days; they received a warm welcome, with thousands of people lining the route of their procession to cheer.
HM King George V and Queen Mary at the Red Fort during the Delhi Durbar, Dec 1911
The Delhi Durbar, was a mass assembly at Coronation Park, Delhi, India, to mark the succession of an Emperor or Empress of India. Also known as the Imperial Durbar, it was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911, at the height of the British Empire. The 1911 Durbar was the only one attended by the sovereign, who was George V. The term was derived from common Mughal term durbar.
Formal portrait of George, Duke of York (later King George V wearing formal dress with Garter Star and the Order of Malta Cross.
King George V and Queen Mary with the Duke and Duchess of York on board the Royal Yacht, Cowes circa 1935. Photograph showing King George V and Queen Mary, the Duke of York (later George VI) and the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth) on board the Royal Yacht, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Titles and styles
- 3 June 1865 – 24 May 1892: His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales
- 24 May 1892 – 22 January 1901: His Royal Highness The Duke of York
- 22 January 1901 – 9 November 1901: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and York
- 9 November 1901 – 6 May 1910: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
- in Scotland: His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay
- 6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936: His Majesty The King
- and, occasionally, outside of the United Kingdom, and with regard to India: His Imperial Majesty The King-Emperor
His full style as king was “His Majesty George V, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India” until the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927, when it changed to “His Majesty George V, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India”.
KG: Knight of the Garter, 4 August 1884
KT: Knight of the Thistle, 5 July 1893
KP: Knight of St Patrick, 20 August 1897
GCSI: Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India, 28 September 1905
GCMG: Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George, 9 March 1901
GCIE: Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire, 28 September 1905
GCVO: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, 30 June 1897
The Imperial Service Order was established by King Edward VII in August 1902. It was awarded on retirement to the administration and clerical staff of the Civil Service throughout the British Empire for long and meritorious service.
Royal Victorian Chain, 1902
The Royal Victorian Chain is an award instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII as a personal award of the monarch (i.e. not an award made on the advice of any Commonwealth realm government). Although it is similarly named (and has a similar insignia and ribbon), the chain is not an award of the Royal Victorian Order.
PC: Privy Counsellor, 18 July 1894
Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom. Its membership is mostly made up of senior politicians who are (or have been) members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
Privy Counsellor (Ireland), 20 August 1897
Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Medal, with 1897 bar
The Golden Jubilee Medal was instituted in 1887 by Royal Warrant as a British decoration to be awarded to participants of Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee celebrations.
King Edward VII Coronation Medal
The King Edward VII Coronation Medal was a commemorative medal issued in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
- September 1877: Cadet, HMS Britannia
- 8 January 1880: Midshipman, HMS Bacchante and the corvette HMS Canada
- 3 June 1884: Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Navy
- 8 October 1885: Lieutenant, HMS Thunderer; HMS Dreadnought; HMS Alexandra; HMS Northumberland
- 21 June 1887: Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen
- July 1889 I/C HMS Torpedo Boat 79
- By May 1890 I/C the gunboat HMS Thrush
- 24 August 1891: Commander, I/C HMS Melampus
- 2 January 1893: Captain, Royal Navy
- 1 January 1901: Rear-Admiral, Royal Navy
- 25 February 1901: Personal Naval Aide-de-Camp to the King
- 26 June 1903: Vice-Admiral, Royal Navy
- 1 March 1907: Admiral, Royal Navy
- 1910: Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy
- 1910: Field Marshal, British Army
- 1919: Chief of the Royal Air Force (title not rank)
- 1 January 1901: Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Marine Forces
- 29 November 1901: Honorary Colonel of the 4th County of London Yeomanry Regiment (King′s Colonials)
- 21 December 1901: Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
- Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark), 11 October 1885
- Badge of the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark)
- Knight of the Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), 14 June 1905
- Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain)
- Order of Saint Hubert (Bavaria)
- Knight of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Italy)
- House Order of Hohenzollern (Prussia)
- Order of the Wendish Crown (Mecklenburg)
- Order of Osmanieh (Ottoman Empire)
- Order of St. Andrew (Russian Empire)
- Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle (Prussia)
- Saxe-Ernestine House Order (Saxe-Coburg)
- Knight of the Order of the Rue Crown (Saxony)
- Order of the Red Eagle (Prussia)
- Order of the White Falcon (Saxe Weimar)
- Badge of the Order of the Redeemer (2nd type) (Greece)
- King Christian IX Jubilee Medal (Denmark)
- King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark Golden Wedding Commemorative Medal (Denmark)
- Cross of Liberty (Estonia), 1st class, 17 June 1925
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Colonial Empire (Portugal), 19 February 1934
Honorary foreign military appointments
- 1 February 1901: À la suite of the German Navy
- 26 January 1902: Colonel-in-Chief of the Rhenish Cuirassier Regiment “Count Geßler” No. 8 (Kingdom of Prussia)
Honorary degrees and offices
- 8 June 1893: Royal Fellow of the Royal Society,installed 6 February 1902
- 1899: Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of the Cape of Good Hope
- 1901: Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of Sydney
- 1901: Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of Toronto
- 1901: Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), Queen’s University, Ontario
- 1902: Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of Wales
- 1901: Chancellor of the University of Cape Town
- 1901–1912: Chancellor of the University of the Cape of Good Hope
- 1902–1910: Chancellor of the University of Wales