George V was the son of King Edward VII of England, born 3 June 1865. He was the second son, and since his older brother Albert Victor was the heir apparent, George started a naval career (rather like his great-great-uncle William IV) and probably saw more of non-aristocratic life than many princes. In 1892 his brother's unexpected death made George next in line for the throne after their father; the next year he became engaged to his brother's fiancee, Victoria Mary of Teck. The two turned out to be well suited when they married and had six children.

George was a straightforward, hearty man who was a strong example for the people of Britain during World War I. In 1917, as a response to anti-German feeling during the war, the royal family's surname was changed from the one inherited from Prince Albert (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the territories Albert was from, or Wettin, which some say was actually Albert's surname) to the more English-sounding "Windsor." He also bore with changes in the English government after the war, such as the rise of the Labour party, without complaint, keeping on with what he felt was his duty.

In 1935 the Silver Jubilee (25-year-anniversary) of his reign was celebrated and Edward was apparently greatly moved by the love the people of England showed for him. Early the next year, he developed a bronchial infection (after several years of respiratory problems) and died on 20 January 1936. He was succeeded by his eldest son Edward VIII.

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