1948.32.1 | Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary

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Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary
Percy Metcalfe
1935, 20th century
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The late winter and spring of 1935 flew by in a whirlwind of events for Prime Minister R.B. Bennett (1870-1947). Maintaining the momentum of his radio addresses, he embarked on a speaking tour, traveling to major centres while presiding over a new parliamentary session. Back in Ottawa in early March, after a journey to New York and in misery from a respiratory infection, Bennett suffered a heart attack. His doctor prescribed complete rest for several weeks, a difficult situation for a man engaged in the political fight of his life.

In mid-April Bennett, ever an anglophile and imperialist, journeyed to England to attend the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V (1865-1935) and Queen Mary (1867-1953). He did not return to Canada until early May. In the days before rapid transatlantic travel and communication, an absence of such duration had disastrous political effects, with the press, opposition politicians and even members of Bennett's own party plotting intrigues against the Prime Minister.

  • What

    Some political wags noted that Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) lost the 1911 election because of his long absence from Canada to attend the coronation ceremonies for George V and Queen Mary.

  • Where

    Crowds throughout the British Empire, especially in Canada where political and social sentiments were particularly strong, celebrated royal events.

  • When

    George V died in January 1936, just weeks after the conclusion of celebrations to mark his 25 years on the throne. Queen Mary lived to see her granddaughter Elizabeth (1926- ) ascend the throne in 1952.

  • Who

    George V was the son of Edward VII (1841-1910) and the grandson of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).