When George V became King in 1910, the family name was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, which was the family name of his father, Edward VII, and his grandfather Prince Albert. For the first seven years of his reign, he kept this German surname, but in 1917, in recognition of anti-German feelings, by his people, he changed the family name to Windsor. It was a symbolic and popular gesture by a King who took his role seriously.
George V adhered strictly to the constitution and knew both his rights and his responsibilities.
When he succeeded he was immediately plunged into a major constitutional crisis over the powers of the House of Lords. The Prime Minister asked the King to create additional new peers to vote through a bill to reform the Lords, but George objected in which his position was being abused. He felt it was the monarch’s duty to keep out of party politics, and politicians to avoid dragging him in.
Further controversy amongst the Royal’s would shock the Royal Family and Parliament alike. Edward VIII the son of George V decided to abdicate his position as King of England, rather than give up the woman he loved. His brother George VI restored honour to the family, becoming a much loved king, and sharing the dangers of the Second World War with his people.
King George V: George Frederick Ernest Albert was born on the 3rd June 1865 at Marlborough House in London, to parents Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark.
At the age of twelve joined the Royal Navy, and served until 1892, when his elder brother Albert, the Duke of Clarence died, and he became heir to the English throne.
His father Edward VII, died in 1910, and he ascended to the post of King George V of England at his coronation on the 22nd June 1911, at Westminster Abbey.
In 1917, anti-German feelings by the British People, and the slaughter of British soldiers during the war, by German forces, made it essential to drop the family name. So it was, the family name of Saxe-Coburg Gotha was replaced with Windsor.
With the fall of the Romanov dynasty, George’s cousin, Tsarina Alexandra wife of Tsar Nicholas II, were executed along with their children by revolutionaries at Ekaterinburg. There was much critism, why he didn’t rescue them … his reply being, it could incite a British revolution.
In 1922, the Monarchy of Greece was overthrown, and George V sent in HMS Calypso to rescue them, which included the one-year old Philip, now the Duke of Edinburgh.
In 1932, he started the Royal tradition; the Christmas broadcast to the people.
On the 20th January 1936, King George V dies of pleurisy at Sandringham and is buried at Windsor Castle.
King Edward VIII: On the 23rd June 1894, Edward Albert Christian George was born at White Lodge in Richmond, to parents King George V and Queen Mary.
He became a celebrity playboy about town, and had several affairs with married women, and high on the list was; Mrs Wallis Simpson.
On the 20th January 1936, King George V died, and Edward ascended to the English throne. In 1936, Mrs Wallis Simpson obtained a divorce from her second husband, it was clear to see, Edward wanted to be husband number three.
In November of 1936, the uncrowned Edward sent shock waves through Parliament and family. The two were very much in love, and Edward had to choose Wallis Simpson or the English throne. She a divorced woman would have been an unacceptable Queen. On the 11th December 1936, Edward abdicated, which meant any children he might have, were excluded from succession to the English throne.
King George VI: Albert Frederick Arthur George was born on the 14th December 1895 at Sandringham, to parents George V and Mary of Teck. In World War One, he served as a young naval officer, in the “Battle of Jutland.”
In the December of 1936, following the death of his father; King George V and the surprise abdication by his brother, he became King George VI of England at his coronation on the 12th May 1937, held at Westminster Abbey.
In 1940 King George VI instituted the George Cross and George Medal for acts of bravery by citizens. In 1942 the George Cross was awarded to Malta, in recognition of their heroism and resistance to the enemy siege.
In 1939, King George visited France and the British Expeditionary Force, North Africa in 1943 after the victory of El Alamein. In 1944 visited the army on the beaches of Normandy, ten days after D-Day.
On the 8th May 1945, a day which will be remembered VE (Victory in Europe) Day. The war, the King and his duty to his people had created a bond between them.
Britain had overcome the hardships of the post-war years, but the strain incurred by the Second World War had taken their toll on the King. On the 6th February 1952, King George VI died in his sleep, at Sandringham. He laid in state at Westminster Hall. The funeral was held at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he is buried.
Queen Elizabeth II: Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on the 21st April 1926, to parents George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Bruton Street, London.
In 1947, Philip Mountbatten became a British subject, converted from Greek Orthodox to Anglican and renounced any claims to the Greek crown. On the 9th July 1947, Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were officially engaged and married on the 20th November at Westminster Abbey.
With the death of her father; King George VI Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II of England at her coronation on the 2nd June 1953, and Prince Philip her consort.
Philip passed away on the morning of April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle. He was 99. His funeral service was held on Saturday, April 17 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, and attended by thirty members of the royal family, due to Covid restrictions.
Philip’s casket was driven to the church in a custom Land Rover at his request. Laid upon the casket; his naval hat, a sword and flag representing his Greek and Danish heritage and flowers selected by the queen.
The Queen’s political powers these days are largely of a ceremonial nature, however she holds powers which can be used to expedite situations.