George V of the United Kingdom

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King George V 1911 color-crop.jpg

George V of the United Kingdom (3 June 186520 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India.


  • The Old Country must wake up if she intends to maintain her old position of pre-eminence in her Colonial trade against foreign competitors.
    • Speech at Guildhall, 5 Dec 1901, quoted in Harold Nicolson, King George V (1952), p.73
  • I said to your predecessor: 'You know what they're all saying, no more coals to Newcastle, no more Hoares to Paris.' The fellow didn't even laugh.
    • Said to Anthony Eden on 23 December 1935 following the furore that erupted over the Hoare-Laval Pact.
    • Quoted in Earl of Avon, Facing the Dictators (1962) pt.2 ch.1
  • After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months.
  • How's the Empire?
    • On the morning of his death; quoted in Kenneth Rose, King George V (1983), ch.10


  • After you've met one hundred and fifty Lord Mayors, they all begin to look the same.
  • I look upon him as the greatest criminal known for having plunged the world into war.
  • You dress like a cad. You act like a cad. You are a cad.
    • Allegedly said to his son, Prince Edward. Quoted by Christopher Warwick in Abdication (Sidgwick and Jackson, 1986)
  • I may be uninspiring, but I'll be damned if I'm alien.
    • Allegedly said in response to H. G. Wells's criticism of his "alien [i.e. German-descended] and uninspiring court"
  • But, remember, I wish to have the best collection, not just one of the best collections in England.
    • Allegedly said to J.A. Tilleard, Honorary Secretary, Philatelic Society, on appointing him as Philatelist to the King.
  • You can't shake hands with a clenched fist.
  • Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance.
  • Golf always makes me so damned angry.
  • My father was frightened of his mother. I was frightened of my father and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.
    • Attributed in Randolph Churchill's Lord Derby (1959), but said by Kenneth Rose in King George V (1983) to be almost certainly apocryphal.
  • What did you do about peeing?
  • They make me look like a stuffed monkey.
    • Allegedly said about two postage stamps issued in 1911.
  • Bugger Bognor.
    • Alleged last words in 1936, in response to being told that he would soon be well enough to visit the seaside resort Bognor Regis
    • A second theory is that this dates from the King's 1928/9 recuperative visit there. Local dignitaries went to see the King's private secretary Stamfordham petitioning to have the town renamed Bognor Regis. The King told Stamfordham "Bugger Bognor", which he translated as the King would be pleased to grant their request. (Nigel Rees, Sayings of the Century page 6, quoting Kenneth Rose's biography of the King.)
  • Goddamn you!
    • Alleged last words, after his nurse administered a sedative.

Quotes about George V[edit]

  • There can be no question that one outstanding reason for the high level of loyalty and patriotic effort which the people of this country maintained [during the First World War] was the attitude and conduct of King George V.
  • For seventeen years, he did nothing at all but kill animals and stick in stamps.
    • Harold Nicolson, diary entry (17 August 1949), quoted in Harold Nicolson, The Later Years: 1945–1962. Volume Three, Diaries and Letters, ed. Nigel Nicolson (1966), p. 174
  • The King feels so strongly that, no matter the crime committed by anyone on whom the VC has been conferred, the decoration should not be forfeited. Even were a VC to be sentenced to be hanged for murder, he should be allowed to wear his VC on the scaffold.
    • Lord Stamfordham, private secretary to George V, on 26 July 1920. The original Royal Warrant involved an expulsion clause that allowed for a recipient's name to be erased from the official register in certain wholly discreditable circumstances and his pension cancelled. Eight were forfeited between 1861 and 1908. George V strongly opposed the concept of revoking a Victoria Cross, and directed Lord Stamfordham to express this view forcefully in a letter.

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