Colour Photos of World War One

A Visit from his Majesty


This photograph and caption appeared in the Daily Mail Weekend magazine in 2007

King George V had been on the throne for just four years when World War I broke out. Aware that his own family were of German origin, he changed the name of the dynasty in 1917 from `Saxe-Coburg-Gotha' to the English­sounding `House of Windsor'. Passionately patriotic, the King identified strongly with his country's cause, wore the uniform of a general, and attended military events as often as possible - he made 450 visits to troops during the war, and crossed the Channel to visit the front in France to bestow medals and comfort the wounded a score of times (although his staff were careful to keep him well out of the actual danger zone). Here, above, the King (looking up) is inspecting a dugout in a captured German trench. Below, the King is meeting two wounded officers. The presence of the VAD nurse on the far left indicates that this hospital is well behind the lines. George's two eldest sons took more active roles in the war. The Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor) served as an officer in the Grenadier Guards on the Western Front, though his superior officers were ordered to make sure he was not killed or captured. George's second son, the Duke of York (the future George VI, the father of our present Queen), served in the Royal Navy and took part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.