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The King at the Front 

British Isles Genealogy | Reign of King George V


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The King at the Front

The first week of December, 1914, the King spent with his Army in France, thoroughly surveying the British position, visiting all Corps and Divisional Headquarters and many field hospitals. Sir John French received the Order of Merit, and among the Allied Generals given audience were Joffre and Foch. On the King of the Belgians His Majesty personally bestowed the Order of the Garter. The two monarchs met in a quiet country road, and crossing the Belgian frontier in King Albert's car, together reviewed detachments of Allied troops. This was the first journey of an English King to a seat of war for 171 years.

The Memorial Service to Lord Kitchener

Few men have been trusted by the British nation as was Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and the loss of this outstanding personality at he height of the War was felt alike by the King and by the humblest of his subjects. "K. of K." went down in the cruiser Hampshire (which was mined or torpedoed off the Orkneys), while on a mission to the Emperor Nicholas of Russia. When the news was received, the blinds were drawn at the War Office and the Admiralty, and many flags were lowered to half-mast. On June 13th, 1916, the King, the Queen, Queen Alexandra and others of the Royal Family drove to a memorial service at St. Paul's Cathedral attended by 4,000 people.

Their Majesties' Silver Wedding

St. Paul's Cathedral and the Guildhall saw the ceremonial side of Their Majesties' Silver Wedding on July 6th, 1918, but it was in the streets of London that the warmth of popular sentiment expressed itself. As the King and Queen drove through the City with their children, bells joyously pealed and the people cordially congratulated their Rulers on twenty-five years of domestic happiness. At Temple Bar the City Sword was surrendered, a short Thanksgiving Service followed at St. Paul's and finally the King and Queen were welcomed at the Guildhall, the Lord Mayor presenting a cheque for 53,000 pounds, to be distributed as Their Majesties thought fit.

The Prince of Wales at Ottawa

The corner stone of the Victory Tower of Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, was laid by the Prince of Wales on September 1st, 1919-the third First of September on which such a ceremony has been enacted on this site. Kind Edward laid the original foundation stone in 1860, and the Duke of Connaught repeated the work in 1916 after the Parliament Buildings had been burnt. This date also chances to be celebrated in Canada as Labour Day, and the six contingents of trade unionists among the huge audience gave the Prince a rousing reception. After laying the corner stone of the Tower, His Royal Highness inspected a parade of over 5,000 war veterans.

Unveiling the Nurse Cavell Memorial

The memorial to Edith Cavell which stands in St. Martin's Place, close to Trafalgar Square, was unveiled by Queen Alexandra on March 17th, 1920. The monument is of Cornish granite, forty feet high, in front of which stands the figure of Nurse Cavell in marble; people of all classes contributed-mostly in small sums-to its cost. A delegation from Brussels, headed by the Belgian Ambassador, attended the ceremony; and Miss Cavell, sister of the Nurse who, the Queen-Mother said, "met a martyr's fate with calm courage and resignation," was prominent in the distinguished company. Trumpeters of the Coldstream Guards are seen sounding the "Last Post."

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