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.
Portrait photograph of Prince George of Wales, later King George V, wearing a Lieutenant Naval uniform, 1886
Three-quarter length portrait photograph of Prince George of Wales wearing his Lieutenant Naval uniform with the Star of the Order of the Garter. The Prince is holding a pair of white gloves and the handle of his sword in his left hand, and has his right hand resting on a table.
The Duke and Duchess of York (later George V & Queen Mary) on their wedding day 6 Jul 1893
Photograph of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary: full length portrait, Princess Mary seated in her wedding gown of ivory silk satin, trimmed with Honiton lace and orange blossom. The Duke in full military uniform decorated with many orders.
Photograph of King George V, when George Duke of York, standing in left side profile as he holds his infant son, Prince Edward of York, who later became King Edward VIII then the Duke of Windsor.
The portrait was probably taken when Prince Edward was Christened at White Lodge, Richmond, on the 16th July 1894 by the Richmond firm of photographers, Gunn and Stuart.
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
George, Duke of York, later King George V, as Captain on HMS Crescent Jun or Aug 1898 He holds telescope in right hand; taken on deck of HMS Crescent.
Prince George of Wales, later King George V, wearing Full Field Marshal’s Uniform, 1905
Photograph showing half length portrait of Prince George of Wales. He faces three-quarters left and wears Full Field Marshall’s uniform with the Order of the Bath, Thistle and St. George.
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.
Photograph of King George V & Queen Mary with their six children (from left to right): Princess Mary (later Princess Royal) (b.1897-d.1965), Prince John (b.1905-d.19), in his mother’s arms, Prince Henry, later Duke of Gloucester (b.1900-d.74) (seated), Prince George, later Duke of Kent (b.1902- d.42). Prince Edward (later King Edward VIII, then Duke of Windsor) (b.1894-d.1972), Prince Albert (later King George VI) (b.1895-d.1952).
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.
Photograph of King Edward VII (b.1841-d.1910), the Prince of Wales (b.1865-d.1936), later King George V, & Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia (b.1868-d.1918) on the deck of the Russian Imperial Yacht Standart during the Cowes Regatta, Isle of White 1909
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
Photograph of King George V wearing Coronation robes and the Imperial Crown of India turns, smiling, to face the viewer. On his left is seated Queen Mary who also turns to face the viewer. She wears the Durbar diadem and State robes. In the foreground are seated Indian boys and men dressed in traditional Indian costume. Photographed in the Red Fort, Coronation Park.
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.
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
The House of Windsor is the royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I
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
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry and the third most prestigious honour (after the Victoria Cross and George Cross) in England and of the United Kingdom, and is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George as England’s patron saint.
KT: Knight of the Thistle, 5 July 1893
KP: Knight of St Patrick, 20 August 1897
The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick is a dormant British order of chivalry associated with Ireland. The Order was created in 1783 by George III at the request of the then Lord-Lieutenant, Lord Buckingham. The regular creation of knights of Saint Patrick lasted until 1921, when most of Ireland became independent as the Irish Free State.
GCSI: Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India, 28 September 1905
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes:
Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
Knight Commander (KCSI)
GCMG: Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George, 9 March 1901
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, King George III.
It is named in honour of two military saints, St Michael and St George.
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