1948.6 | Commemorating Coronation of George VI

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Commemorating Coronation of George VI
Goldsmith & Silversmith Company Limited
1936-1937, 20th century
14.9 x 14.9 cm
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Few doubted the outcome of the 1935 federal election. In the late spring, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett (1870-1947) returned to Ottawa from London and pushed the remaining pieces of his reform legislation through Parliament. Even though the economy continued to recover steadily, Bennett's damaged reputation, a party torn by internal strife, and a hostile press all conspired to encourage public demands for a change of leadership. Presented with "King or Chaos," the Canadian electorate chose a refurbished Mackenzie King (1874-1950), whom they had thrown out of office five years earlier.

R.B. Bennett remained in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition until 1938. At the age of 65, when he was tossed out of office, Bennett took his time deciding his next course of action. In 1937 he, along with his sister Mildred (1889-1938), attended the Coronation of George VI (1895-1952) and Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002). From England he traveled to Germany in search of advice about his health, and was told he could not return to the pressures he endured from 1930 to 1935. In 1938, his beloved sister Mildred died, severing an important family tie. A change of direction for Bennett appeared imminent.

  • What

    R.B. Bennett notes this clock in his last will and testament as "My gold and crystal Coronation Orb."

  • Where

    George VI and Queen Elizabeth were crowned in a spectacular ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London.

  • When

    George VI died of lung cancer in February 1952. Queen Elizabeth, more familiar to the world as the Queen Mother, lived another 50 years, basking in the affection of a nation and former empire.

  • Who

    Prince Albert, Duke of York, ascended the British throne in December 1936 as George VI, following the abdication of his older brother, Edward VIII (1894-1972).