Most people know about the controversy surrounding the abdication of King Edward VIII which paved the way for King George VI to take the throne, but fewer folks are aware of King George V and his curious death. Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather met a rather suspicious ending.
Who Was George V?
Born less than a month after the American civil war ended, George V came up in the reign of Queen Victoria. He was the second son of King Edward VII, so he had little cause to fear about the ruling. When his elder brother Prince Albert died suddenly in 1892, it completely changed George V’s life.
Having served in the royal navy for over a decade, George V was forced to leave and prepare for his eventual ascension to the throne. Victoria passed in 1901, then Edward VII passed in 1910. George V ascended just in time for World War 1. As the reigning monarch, George V presided over a radically changing Commonwealth rife with imperialism and independence movements.
And In The End…
World War I took a severe toll George V’s health. His heavy smoking didn’t help matters, and it all fed into his chronic bronchitis. He nearly died in 1928 after a bout with septicemia. Edward VIII temporarily filled in for two years. He never fully recovered from his lung issue. After years of pain, George V died at midnight on January 20, 1936.
The official palace story at the time was that George V died peacefully in his sleep after a week spend bedridden. We now know that there’s more to the story. His last words were “God damn you,” said to a nurse who gave him his nightly sedative.
Here’s where the story takes a shocking twist. In 1986, the private diary of Lord Bertrand Dawson, George V’s physician, became public. In it, he wrote about euthanizing the king. He did not want him to suffer any longer than he needed to and wanted news of the king’s death to appear in the morning edition of the paper, for he felt it was more appropriate.
In his diary, Dawson wrote: “I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr.3/4 and shortly afterward cocaine gr.1 into the distended jugular vein … In about 1/4 an hour – breathing quieter – appearance more placid – physical struggle gone.” That’s right: This entry seems to suggest that George V was euthanized with a cocktail of cocaine and morphine. It looks like neither his wife nor children were privy to the decision, or they most likely would have protested.
George V’s death led to Edward VIII’s ascension, who by that time was already embroiled in controversy owing to his relationship with Wallis Simpson. The rest, as they say, is history.
More From Suggest
How Is Queen Elizabeth Related To King George III From ‘Hamilton’?
New Alleged Details Emerge About ‘Operation London Bridge’: What Is It And What It Means For The UK
Why Queen Elizabeth Forbade The Royal Family From Playing This American Board Game