Author Topic: King George V  (Read 42133 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2013, 08:17:42 PM »
I always admired that, despite his personal conservatism, he reacted much better than many of the other old guard in adjusting to the new order. He dealt well, exceptionally well, on personal and political terms with his new governments and steered the monarchy along in a more modern way. He personally may have deplored airplanes, bobbed hair, 'new fangled' styles of dress, etc...but as a constitutional monarch he was exceptional. 
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Offline TimM

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Re: King George V
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2013, 04:33:41 PM »
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he reacted much better than many of the other old guard in adjusting to the new order.

He was pretty much all that was left of the old guard.  Most of his fellow European Monarchs were either dead or dethroned.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #47 on: March 25, 2013, 03:52:10 PM »
I was speaking more generally of the royal/noble/aristocratic members. A lot of people of George's generation weren't able to move forward with the changing times and fell by the wayside after WW1. Even prior to that, with the Emperors Franz Josef, Nicholas and Wilhelm, there was a lack of being able to modernize and change with the times which helped hasten the collapse of their empires. If those empires (save Germany which was pretty modern in many ways) had been able to adjust, perhaps they could've survived the calamity of WW1 in some form. Victoria, Edward VII and George V had all shown the were able to adjust to the changing times in their country--there's probably no surprise that the monarchies that survived the war were constitutional ones. The days of autocracy were fading quickly.

Even among those deposed royals, though, there was a clinging to the old ways and an inability to accept their change in status. Hitler held an appeal for many of them based on their own self-serving reasons (not all of them but many) and while they looked down on him for his 'common' manners and not his vicious rhetoric, George V saw him as a danger early on and forbade Edward VIII from attending the wedding of their relation Sybilla of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (daughter of the staunch Nazi Charles Edward) to Gustav Adolf of Sweden. (The Coburg branch had re-established ties with the British royals post-WW1 with CE frequently visiting England and marching in George's funeral). The wedding became a Nazi-fest full of Nazi banners and brownshirts, much to the upset of some of the Swedish relations. Instead, the only British relations were the Athlones who were the bride's aunt & uncle-in-law and the Duke of Connaught, who was the groom's grandfather.

So people dislike him because of the asylum issue (which I don't blame him for personally for a variety of reasons I've stated before) and his parenting skills but I find much more to admire in his duty towards his people, his relative pacifism and horror of war, his foresight towards Hitler and his many (documented) acts of personal kindness. For some reason, mostly due to the asylum issue I believe as his parenting wasn't any worse (and often better) than most of his station and time, he comes in for tons of criticism and outright dislike & hatred while other royals really bad behavior (anti-Semitism, laziness, entitlement, etc) is constantly glossed over. I would take George V over just about any other ruler of the day, including Nicholas II.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 03:55:55 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline TimM

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Re: King George V
« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2013, 05:07:49 PM »
Yeah, he was more in tune with the times.  Still, one gets the feeling he preferred the pre-WWI world. 
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: King George V
« Reply #49 on: March 26, 2013, 04:08:31 AM »
George V was very much a traditionalist, but he was prepared to move with the times where necessary. Unlike Nicholas, he was able to recognise when change was necessary. Fortunately for him, a lot of his own characteristics chimed with the mood of his time - devotion to duty, modest personal habits, and so on.

Ann

Offline edubs31

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Re: King George V
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2013, 08:24:43 AM »
George V was very much a traditionalist, but he was prepared to move with the times where necessary. Unlike Nicholas, he was able to recognise when change was necessary. Fortunately for him, a lot of his own characteristics chimed with the mood of his time - devotion to duty, modest personal habits, and so on.

Ann

No doubt. But needless to say Nicholas had the far greater burden. In business terms I might consider George the manager of a mid-sized company that struggles but survives, whereas Nicholas was the owner of a very large company that collapses. Nicholas may very well have been able to handle ruling England as a constitutional monarch, but it's doubtful George V could have handled Russia as a semi-autocrat.

The system is more important than the person at the head of it. Exactly why the United States can survive through poor Presidents and an ineffectual congress.

I do agree that George V was uniquely suited to the times however, and provided a necessary bridge from the post-Victorian era he inherited to the verge of the modern era (WW2). He of course was spared having to deal with the political and international drama of the late-30s and 40s, just as he was luckier than his cousin Nicky to be born into a country far less impoverished, polarized and radical than Russia.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #51 on: March 26, 2013, 09:17:04 AM »
Yeah, he was more in tune with the times.  Still, one gets the feeling he preferred the pre-WWI world.  

Oh, I have no doubt. He just wasn't chained to the past like many others. But in his own way of living--activities, dress, etc...he was definitely of the Victorian/Edwardian mindset. He wasn't a fan of David flying in airplanes nor of bobbed hair. :)
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2013, 09:22:10 AM »
George V was very much a traditionalist, but he was prepared to move with the times where necessary. Unlike Nicholas, he was able to recognise when change was necessary. Fortunately for him, a lot of his own characteristics chimed with the mood of his time - devotion to duty, modest personal habits, and so on.

Ann

No doubt. But needless to say Nicholas had the far greater burden. In business terms I might consider George the manager of a mid-sized company that struggles but survives, whereas Nicholas was the owner of a very large company that collapses. Nicholas may very well have been able to handle ruling England as a constitutional monarch, but it's doubtful George V could have handled Russia as a semi-autocrat.

The system is more important than the person at the head of it. Exactly why the United States can survive through poor Presidents and an ineffectual congress.

I do agree that George V was uniquely suited to the times however, and provided a necessary bridge from the post-Victorian era he inherited to the verge of the modern era (WW2). He of course was spared having to deal with the political and international drama of the late-30s and 40s, just as he was luckier than his cousin Nicky to be born into a country far less impoverished, polarized and radical than Russia.

I think Nicholas would've done well had he been a constitutional monarch--and brought up along those lines. He didn't have the force of character of his father nor grandfather (and lacking the latter's sense of the need to reform--though it didn't get him a good ending).  It's difficult to say how George would've done as an autocrat if he'd been brought up as Nicholas was--I won't try to speculate there. I think George was the right person at the right time in the right system of monarchy. He was that bridge and he and Queen Mary helped to institute many of the facets of the modern British monarchy we see today.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline TimM

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Re: King George V
« Reply #53 on: March 26, 2013, 12:01:50 PM »
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He of course was spared having to deal with the political and international drama of the late-30s and 40s

He lived just long enough to see the rise of Hitler.  I think he knew another war was looming on the horizon.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: King George V
« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2013, 12:31:20 PM »
I think Nicholas would've done well had he been a constitutional monarch--and brought up along those lines. He didn't have the force of character of his father nor grandfather (and lacking the latter's sense of the need to reform--though it didn't get him a good ending).  It's difficult to say how George would've done as an autocrat if he'd been brought up as Nicholas was--I won't try to speculate there. I think George was the right person at the right time in the right system of monarchy. He was that bridge and he and Queen Mary helped to institute many of the facets of the modern British monarchy we see today.

The other question that I think merits asking, although off topic a tad, is what would have been the fate of Nicholas's reign had he come to power older and presumably more experience in 1910 as George did?

Tsar Alexander III having died in 1894, from natural causes and at just 49-years of age, certainly wasn't part of the successful game plan laid out. Lets say he had died in a similar fashion but passed away sixteen years later same as Edward VII. Would Nicholas have been better prepared to rule? If we are to assume that history would have unfolded just as it did elsewhere 1910 would still have also afforded him some ramp up time to prepare for the events of WWI and the subsequent revolution (which may or may not have then taken place).

I think the biggest change would have been with Alexandra. As wife of the Heir for sixteen years rather than Empress herself she would have had more time to warm to her surroundings and could have proven both more likable and adaptable. Perhaps her relationship with the Dagmar Empress would have also been much better. Alexandra would have had time under the wing of Marie Feodorovna and would have been forced to recognize her authority and wisdom instead of essentially casting her aside. Further, it's hard to imagine her relationship with Rasputin ever having the chance to develop under the watchful and critical eye of her ruling father & mother-in-law.

Back to reality now...George V really benefited from the timing of his ascendancy to the throne. His two predecessors, one who reigned popularly for nearly 64-years, really laid a solid foundation for George to stand and rule. Of course arguments could certainly be made that Nicholas's two predecessors did the same, and it was he, possessing neither the necessary reform minded intellect of his grandfather, or that strength of character (you accurately referred to GDElla) who made a mess of things.

But 1910 was probably a decent time to come to power in Europe. By the time WWI broke out he had both the experience and credibility to help steer England through the rough terrain. He also was about 45 when he became King. A good age to begin ruling in my opinion. Old enough to where he possessed the requisite experience, and yet young enough to grow and change. He was neither naive and wet behind the ears (see Nicholas II circa 1894), nor old and impossible to change (see Franz Joseph circa 1900s).


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Offline TimM

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Re: King George V
« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2013, 05:07:44 PM »
Sounds like George V had all the right qualities.  He was a good king.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2013, 05:22:28 PM »
His father, having been shut out of governmental affairs for 60 years, plus realizing that, given his age and habits, he probably wouldn't have a very long reign, made sure to involve George closely in affairs of kingship. The two men were close in affection (if not interests & habits) and had a solid, grounded relationship. George was devoted to, and a bit in awe of, his father while Edward VII respected and trusted both George and May. Like his cousin Nicholas though, George V would've been very glad to have had many more years before having to take up his crown.
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Offline historyfan

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Re: King George V
« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2013, 09:26:09 PM »
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He of course was spared having to deal with the political and international drama of the late-30s and 40s

He lived just long enough to see the rise of Hitler.  I think he knew another war was looming on the horizon.

By then, I think most everyone with their finger on the pulse of foreign affairs could see it. One speculative question I enjoy asking myself is, would WWII have been conducted any differently had George V still been on the throne? And the answer I come up with is, no, for the simple reason that it was the Prime Minister and his Cabinet that drove the war machine, not the King.

I think George V and Mary would have been every bit the morale-boosters that George VI and Elizabeth were.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: King George V
« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2013, 04:26:51 AM »
I agree entirely that George V benefited from a solid apprenticeship and coming to the throne as a mature man. Interestingly, Nicholas, Wilhelm and Franz Josef had all ascended their thrones prematurely, though by 1914 they were all well-established.

George V and Queen Mary worked hard for the war effort throughout the war, and would doubtless have done so had they still been reigning in 1939-45.

Ann

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: King George V
« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2013, 10:14:43 AM »
I collect illustrated magazines from that period and there are hundreds of images of GV and QM inspecting troops, hospitals, factories, etc...every single day during the war. It was literally non-stop--they really made sure to put the public face out there--including banning alcohol from the royal household and planting a vegetable garden which they actually used. These were steps that regular people were taking to support the war effort and their monarchs were right along with them. Even after his horrible injury in France, GV maintained his schedule upon recovery, though he was usually spotted with a can afterwards. I don't think he was seen out of uniform throughout the entire war.
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