By Laurits Tuxen – Public Domain, Wiki Commons
King George V and Queen Mary, like King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, were crowned as King and Queen of the United Kingdom (and Dominions) and as Emperor and Empress of India. Their 1911 coronation was luckily less eventful than that of George’s parents.
George came to the throne following his father’s death on 6 May 1910. The couple had been very involved with his parents’ coronation. Not only did they take part in the August 1902 coronation, but they also travelled to India for Edward’s Dehli Durbar in 1903. The British organised the mass celebration in Dehli to celebrate the new Emperor and Empress. (Edward was unable to travel due to his health.)
George and Mary’s coronation was 13 months after Edward’s death, to allow time for mourning and planning of the celebratory event. Their coronation, held on 22 June 1911, largely followed the 1902 coronation, aside from a newer and shorter translation of the texts used during the crowning.
In honour of their coronation, George and Mary presented new hangings for the High Altar to the Abbey; these hangings are still in use today.
King George’s coronation, although traditional, still marked some firsts and lasts. The 1911 coronation was the last coronation that representatives of foreign empires attended. The Austro-Hungarian, Russian, German, and the Ottoman Empires would fall over the next decade.
George and Mary’s coronation was the first coronation where photography was allowed within the Abbey. (Just over forty years later, his granddaughter’s coronation would be recorded on film and broadcast on television.)
The Emperor and Empress returned to India once more, for their own Delhi Durbar in December 1912. George and Mary’s second son, King George VI, would be the last Emperor of India.
India was represented at the coronation in London; several Indian Maharajas attended, and Mary wore the now-controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond in her crown.