A Successful Constitutional Monarch Passes Away

Eighty years ago the King's doctor, Lord Dawson of Penn, composed the now infamous statement that, "The King's life is drawing peacefully to a close." The overdose of opiates with which Dawson injected the King helped on both counts and he died just before midnight. The news thus appeared first in the morning newspapers, considered in those days to be far more reputable than the evening papers.

Although he was a somewhat remote figure to his subjects, they had shown genuine enthusiasm and affection at his Silver Jubilee in 1935. He had been a highly successful constitutional monarch. His good sense and probity helped the country through a number of difficult episodes with major constitutional implications: the People's Budget in 1910 just after his accession, the attempt to introduce Irish Home rule in 1914, the first Labour government in 1924 and the formation of the National Government in 1931. His reign had seen many of Europe's monarchies swept away but he had played a large part in the survival of Britain's with its prestige undimmed.


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