George V: Never a Dull Moment (Hardback)
  • George V: Never a Dull Moment (Hardback)
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George V: Never a Dull Moment (Hardback)

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£30.00
Hardback 576 Pages
Published: 04/11/2021

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Waterstones Says

This mighty biography of the supposedly dull English sovereign highlights both the turbulence of his reign and the measures he set in place for transforming the monarchy as Ridley offers the definitive portrait of George V.

The prequel to The Crown: the first truly candid portrait of George V and Mary, the Queen's grandparents and creators of the modern monarchy.

The lasting reputation of George V is for dullness. His biographer Harold Nicolson famously quipped that 'he did nothing at all but kill animals and stick in stamps'. The flamboyance and hedonism of his father, Edward VII, defined an era whose influence and magnetism are still felt today. The contrast between the two could hardly be greater.

But is that really all there was to King George, a monarch confronted by a series of crises thought to be the most testing faced by any twentieth-century British sovereign? As Tommy Lascelles, one of the most perceptive royal advisers, put it: 'He was dull, beyond dispute - but my God, his reign never had a dull moment.'

George V navigated a constitutional crisis, the First World War, the fall of thirteen European monarchies and the rise of Bolshevism. The suffragette Emily Davison threw herself under his horse at the Derby, he refused asylum to his cousin the Tsar Nicholas II and he facilitated the first Labour government. How this supposedly limited man managed to steer the Crown through so many perils is a great story. But with it comes a riveting portrait of a royal marriage and family life that lets us see George, Mary and their children more fully and clearly than ever before, with Queen Mary emerging as an important figure in her own right. Under the couple's stewardship, the Crown emerged stronger than ever. George V founded the modern monarchy, and yet his disastrous quarrel with his eldest son culminated in the existential crisis of the Abdication only months after his death.

Jane Ridley has had unprecedented access to the archives, and for the first time is able to reassess the many myths associated with this dramatic time, and take us right into the palaces Elizabeth I was born into. She brings us a royal family and world not long vanished, and not so far from our own.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780701188702
Number of pages: 576
Weight: 1026 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 39 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Most biographers would shy away from the notoriously dull George V. Not so Ridley, whose biography of the stamp-collecting, bird-shooting king is top-notch - Robbie Millen, The Times, Books of the Year*

Superb - Iona McLaren, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year*

Jane Ridley's George V is so sparklingly incisive about both the king and Queen Mary that it almost counts as a double biography. The pheasant-shooting, stamp-collecting, moderating monarch and his bejewelled, shopaholic consort are beautifully portrayed in all their complexities - Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Spectator, Books of the Year*

Superb . . . a perfectly candid portrait of our present Queen's grandfather: demythologised, certainly, and with spades called spades, but not trivialised, and not denied full credit for the massive amount he achieved . . . Ridley's convincing thesis [is] that George V was the true begetter of modern constitutional monarchy . . . this book makes it clear we were lucky to have him - Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

There have been few monarchs quite as discreet and inscrutable as George V . . . There's much to enjoy here about George's nerdy, hypochondriacal and rather humourless character. Yet, as Ridley portrays with great fairness, he somehow managed to be a king loved and revered by the people . . . Ridley has a wonderful ability to push the story along, luring us with salient details . . . riveting . . . Never a dull paragraph - Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Times

A 21st-century [biography] was overdue . . . and nobody could do it better than the immensely experienced Jane Ridley . . . The Windsors have always been emotionally handicapped, and in this respect George V was their prize exhibit - Max Hastings, Sunday Times

A magnificent new life -- wonderfully funny, from its winning subtitle onwards, and full of human sympathy and understanding . . . an evocative and touching portrait of a surprisingly impressive man - Philip Hensher, Spectator

The best royal biography since James Pope-Hennessy's Queen Mary (1959) . . . rivetingly interesting . . . sheds an entirely new light on both George V and his consort . . . Jane Ridley persuades us that their tactful handling of the many crises of the reign paved the way for the stable constitutional monarchy that persists to this day - A. N. Wilson, Times Literary Supplement

Splendid - Craig Brown, Daily Mail

Jane Ridley is a consummate storyteller and superb researcher. With a funny, analytical, sympathetic touch she both conveys the immediacy of history and invests those elusive, long-ago events and mysterious, long-dead people with a humanity recognisable to us all - Juliet Nicolson

A big beautiful beast of a book. Fair, thorough and unexpectedly funny, it won't be surpassed for decades - Lucy Worsley

Jane Ridley has written the definitive biography of George V. Sharply observed, revealing and very absorbing, 'dull George' and his dutiful wife, Mary, emerge in a new light as the monarchies of Europe crumble around them and the horrors of the early twentieth century unfold. At a pivotal time in the history of our democracy, with world leaders tested to their limits, Jane gives a gripping and authoritative account of what was happening behind palace doors - Deborah Cadbury

A truly inspirational new biography of George V - A N Wilson, The Times

A superb book; arguably it is the best biography of George V... immensely readable, wonderfully researched - Michael Nash, Eastern Daily Press

Ridley is good on the telling detail . . . lively and unstuffy - Kate Hubbard, The Oldie

[George V] is candid, well written, based on wide research and full of piquant detail, some of it new - Piers Bredon, Literary Review

This deeply researched biography casts new light upon the misunderstood monarch and his Queen, Mary of Teck. Illuminating, intensely readable - Rose Shepard, Saga Magazine, Christmas Gift Guide 2021*

Sparkling - Tony Rennell, Daily Mail Biographies of the Year

Riveting... Ridley brings new insight to George's personal life... Well-researched and entertaining, this book offers a vluable reassessment of a king who shaped modern Britain - Heather Jones, BBC History Magazine

[A] graceful, funny book... Ridley offers fine-grained and astute sketches of members of the king's entourage as they came and went - Michael Ledger-Lomas, London Review of Books

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