Prince George Frederick Ernest Albert, the second son to the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexander), was born on 3 June 1865 at Marlborough. Alongside his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, George joined the Royal Navy in 1877 before his naval career came to a close following the unforeseen death of his brother, placing him in direct line of succession to the throne.
Created Duke of York in 1892, George soon after married to Princess Victoria Mary (May) of Teck, who was previously Prince Albert Victor’s fiancée, residing at York Cottage, Sandringham for the next 33 years. They had six children during their marriage, namely Prince Edward, Prince Albert, Princess Mary, Prince Henry, Prince George and Prince John.
Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, King Edward VII created George Prince of Wales and the heir apparent continued to pursue an active interest in the Commonwealth, including conducting a number of royal tours. He was proclaimed King George V after his father’s death on 6 May 1910, with the Coronation taking place at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911.
It was during King George’s reign that the first commemorative postage stamps were issued within the UK. A new process was also introduced whereby stamps were produced from a photographic negative transferred to a metal plate and etched in, known as photogravure. George’s reign was not without difficulties, including the beginning of the First World War; he made over 450 visits to troops while continuing to campaign towards the humane treatment of prisoners-of-war in Germany.
The anti-German feeling across the country subsequently led to George adopting the family name of Windsor after the castle of the same name. During his reign, King George also played a diplomatic role during the Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland, and civil war which followed.
He was also instrumental in readily accepting the first Labour government in 1924, as well as transmitting the first Christmas Broadcast to the British Empire in 1932. In 1935, the King celebrated his Silver Jubilee much to the delight of the public. He died on 20 January 1936, leading way for the succession to the throne of his eldest son, Edward.