On this day in 1911, King George V and Queen Mary were crowned at Westminster Abbey in London.
George Frederick Ernest Albert was born on 3 June 1865 in Marlborough House as the second son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Albert and Alexandra. Queen Victoria was George’s paternal grandmother, and King Christian IX of Denmark was his maternal grandfather. He was christened on 7 July 1865 at Windsor Castle.
He married Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, his second cousin once removed, on 6 July 1893 at the Chapel Royal in St. James’ Palace, London. Together they had six children: Edward VIII, George VI, Mary, Princess Royal, Prince Henry, Prince George, and Prince John. Edward VIII famously abdicated to marry the divorced American, Wallis Simpson. This led to the reign of King George VI until 1952, when his daughter, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. She has since become the longest reigning monarch in British history. If she is still reigning by 2022, she will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, at the age of 95.
Being the second child of the Prince of Wales, it was not expected that George would take the throne. However, George’s older brother, Prince Albert Victor, died in 1892 from pneumonia developed from the flu. Thus, George became the heir apparent to the British throne.
George became the sovereign when his father, King Edward VII passed away on 6 May 1910. However, his coronation did not take place until over a year later. George and Mary rode in the golden carriage from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey to be crowned. After the coronation, they made the traditional balcony appearance in front of the adoring crowds gathered around Buckingham Palace.
The coronation was also celebrated with the Festival of the Empire. This was opened on 12 May and held at The Crystal Palace in London where there were exhibits, pageant, and sports championships. The exhibits included different products from countries in the Empire displayed in three quarter size models of their parliamentary buildings. The pageant consisted of the dramatisation of the history of London, England, and the Empire as a whole. This part of the festival was extremely popular, and thus, performances were extended until 2 September. The Inter-Empire Championships had teams from Australia and New Zealand (dubbed Australasia for the competition), Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom competing in multiple events. This event was the precursor to the British Empire Games, now called the Commonwealth Games, which began in 1930.
The new King and Queen began touring locations in the Empire starting in July 1911 when they visited Ireland and India later in the year.
King George V died on the 20 January 1936, at the age of 70 in Sandringham House in Norfolk. He was interred eight days later in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.