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George V – The Hard King


A two-part portrait of Elizabeth II’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, which examines the lasting legacy of the couple who rescued the monarchy from potential disaster, and whose influence persists to this day.

Episode one focuses on King George V. George could not have been a more unlikely moderniser. Born and brought up in the Victorian age he was conservative to his fingertips. Yet in the face of unstoppable social change after the First World War he turned out to be a remarkable innovator, creating the House of Windsor, embracing democratic reform, and reinventing many of the royal traditions that we know today. When he celebrated his silver jubilee in 1935 the monarchy was more popular than ever.

But as a parent King George V was far less successful – he bullied his children and alienated his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward. As one courtier remarked at the time, ‘the royal family are like ducks, they sit on their children’. By contrast, King George had a loving relationship with his granddaughter, and much of Queen Elizabeth’s style and commitment to duty can be traced back to this early influence.

Part2 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaWkkpgviWo

Courtesy : BBC Four and Producers

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C4 Dispatches July 2019

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