Learn More About the Reign of King George V
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and the Emperor of India from May 6, 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936.
George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. On the death of Victoria in 1901, George's father became King Edward VII, and George was made Prince of Wales. On his father's death in 1910, George succeeded as King-Emperor of the British Empire. George wrote in his diary at the time of his father's death, "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 Mary [Queen Mary] 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".
As a result of the First World War, other empires in Europe fell while that of King George V expanded to its greatest extent. In 1917, he became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. The reign of King George V and Queen Mary saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape.
Following World War I, as the political climate in Europe underwent vast changes, George V became concerned by the coming to power in 1933 of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Germany. In 1934 the King bluntly told the German ambassador that Germany was now the peril of the world, and that if she went on at the present rate, there was bound to be a war within ten years; he warned his ambassador in Berlin to be suspicious of the Nazis.
By the Silver Jubilee of his reign in 1935, he had become a well-loved king, saying in response to the crowd's adulation, "I cannot understand it, after all I am only a very ordinary sort of fellow."