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Review of the Fleet at Spithead 

British Isles Genealogy | Reign of King George V


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Review of the Fleet at Spithead

Until the Atlantic and Reserve Fleets gathered at Spithead on July 26th, 1924, there had not been a Royal Naval Review since the eve of the Great War. The King and the Prince of Wales on the bridge of the Victoria and Albert saw fewer capital ships than in 1914, but the 196 war vessels assembled included a far more varied collection of supporting craft. Dressed over-all with fluttering flags and pendants, the heavy ships-most of which had fought at Jutland-greeted the Sovereign with a salute of twenty-one guns, the crews vigorously cheering as the Royal Yacht passed. The Duke of Kent (then Prince George) was present as a sub-lieutenant in the destroyer Ursula.

The King and Queen at Bristol University

Their Majesties found a real West Country welcome in Bristol when on June 9th, 1925; they opened the new University buildings. The gift of the late Sir George Wills and his brother, the late Mr. H. H. Wills, these additions constitute a magnificent memorial to the first Chancellor, their father; and form, as the King acknowledged, "a conspicuous and beautiful landmark in this ancient city." His Majesty testified to the value of the newer Universities to learning and business, particularly recalling Bristol's traditional zeal for education, and acclaiming the University as proof that the nation's race of princely benefactors lives still.

The Royal Carriage at Ascot

Royal Ascot in 1925, when as usual the King and Queen drove down the course and past the enclosures in semi-state, lacked nothing of its accustomed colour, animation and gracious distinction. This meeting, one of the cherished gatherings of the London Season, is a date as significant in the calendar of fashion as of racing, and on June 16th, 1925, the weather showed off the newest gowns and frocks with brilliant sunshine. Their Majesties, arriving on the course, had a gay welcome from the spectators; and to complete a perfect Ascot day, the King's colours were carried to the winning post by Aloysia in the Queen Mary Stakes.

The Railway Centenary Exhibition

Over the route between Stockton and Darlington on which a century before the first passenger train accomplished its fitful run, there passed on July 2nd, 1925, a procession of engines and rolling stock which summarized a hundred years of railway progress. The Duke and Duchess of York were the chief guests at the centenary, and from a point between the two towns watched several of the earliest locomotives labour slowly past, drawing wagon-loads of passengers wearing the dresses of 1825. These old warriors of the day of Stephenson, Hackworth, Trevithick and Watt had a "guard of honour" of some of the finest modern locomotives on the railroads.

The King at the Tate Gallery

The two splendid new galleries-the Sargent and Modern Foreign Art Galleries-which the munificence of Sir Joseph Duveen added to the Tate Gallery, were opened by His Majesty on June 26th, 1926. He is seen walking with the Queen through the extensions, Lord D'Abernon, Chairman of the Board and Trustees, on his left, and Lord Peel, then First Commissioner of Works, immediately behind. The pictures of modern foreign artists were inadequately represented in this country until room was thus found for them and a gift of 50,000 pounds by Mr. Samuel Courtauld enabled discriminating purchase. The Tate is now the largest Gallery in Europe.

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