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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The first truly candid portrait of George V and Mary - the queen's grandparents and the creators of the modern monarchy.

The lasting reputation of George V is for dullness. He was a crack shot and an outstanding stamp collector, but that's about it. The flamboyance and hedonism of his father, Edward VII, defined an era whose influence and magnetism is still felt today. The contrast between the two could hardly be greater.

But is that really all there was to King George, a monarch who faced a series of crises thought to be the most testing faced by any 20th-century British sovereign? As Tommy Lascelles, one of George's most senior advisors, put it: 'He was dull, beyond dispute - but my God, his reign never had a dull moment.'

Jane Ridley is one of the very finest royal biographers, celebrated for her immaculate research, highly entertaining style and piercing insights. How this supposedly limited man managed to steer the crown through so many perils and adapt a Victorian institution to the modern world is a great story in itself. But with it comes a riveting portrait of a royal marriage and family life that challenges myths and lets us see George, Mary and their children more fully and clearly than ever before.

George V was the queen's grandfather, and Jane Ridley takes right into the drawing rooms Elizabeth was born into. She brings us a royal family and world not long vanished and not so far from our own.

©2021 Jane Ridley (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about George V

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A superb Royal biography

One of the most absorbing and well written books I have enjoyed. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-12-2021

Captivating

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the performance by Joanna David was wonderful as always. Highly recommended.

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  • Michael
  • 28-11-2021

Excellent

Informative and enjoyable biography that is perhaps kinder to George V than some historians have been. Really a shared biography with Queen Mary to the end of their marriage on George’s death.

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  • Audiohead
  • 09-11-2021

A wonderful biography

I enjoyed listening to this biography of King George V. He is very often put down as grumpy and a bad father but this biography brings the more human family man side of him to light. Lots of very interesting and easily understood important historical events which help to understand his attitudes. I find Jane Ridley an excellent historian as a storyteller. The narrator Joanna David is first class.

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  • Miranda Godman
  • 15-01-2022

George V

Brilliant. Really brought a rather dull monarch to life with insights into his life. Read beautifully be Joanna David

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  • mark Rees
  • 16-12-2021

Really Enjoyed This

I found this book to be immensely interesting. Whilst George V was far from dull, I am not sure if he was very likeable. Mary was rather eccentric, but together, they sustained the monarchy. Whether you think that's a good thing is dependent on if you like the institution...

Really enjoyed Joanne David's retelling. Very easy to listen to.

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  • Stephen Bentley
  • 09-12-2021

Provocative Biography

Was George V as big a bore/dimwit as we have been led to believe? The central question of this biography, which is read marvellously by Joanna David, I say that because she usually drives me up the wall, but Ms David's voice and manner is exactly suited to this subject. I was left wondering who it was that navigated him through his choppy lifetime? Lord Stamfordham, his private secretary, was obviously very influential, Queen Mary who always denied discussing political matters with the King, used to say how disappointed she was once KGV died that she no longer heard all that was going on because "the King always used to tell me first".

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  • Winstone
  • 08-12-2021

Learned a lot…

When I began listening I didn’t think I could get used to the reader’s voice, but I did and before long felt she added something to the story that wouldn’t have been managed by another.
The book is well researched and very informative.
It treads a path of painting the picture of Regal splendour and the obvious negatives of monarchy, without siding with either.
Very much enjoyed it…

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  • T. Hodgkins
  • 06-12-2021

Interesting book, poor narration

I've never read any of Jane Ridley's work before, but I have come across her on several TV documentaries, especially Queen Victoria's Children and documentaries on Edward VII, so I was expecting this to be good. On the whole I wasn't disappointed. Though I can't say I came out of the listen knowing much more about George V in terms of basic facts, or that I understood more about how his mind worked, I did find myself more able to sympathise with a man who has so often been portrayed as dull and not very bright.

The thing that really lets this audiobook down is the reader. She manages to make what really could have been a very good book come across as dry and uninteresting. I'm not sure Jane Ridley could have done a better job herself, she speaks quite quickly and would probably have read in the same way, but someone who has a more interesting voice would have been a good idea.

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  • taylor
  • 12-11-2021

A wonderful book

So informative and very interesting. I have enjoyed the insight into George V life I hope for some more history books by Jane Ridley

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