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King George V's War Museum

A collection displayed at Windsor Castle by George V following the First World War

King George V and Queen Mary

King George V (1865-1936) distributing decorations to the 1st Division©

The First World War impacted all levels of British society. Even the Royal Household was not immune from its devastation; three members of staff were killed in the first weeks of war. All together, over 500 members of the Royal Household served during the war. Many from the Royal Mews joined mounted regiments or veterinary units, Sandringham House staff and the footmen joined the Norfolk Regiment, and some of the woodsmen from Windsor became sappers, using their experience with timber to lay the infrastructure of the Western Front. Part of the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace was converted into a medical ward and some of the horses were taken into military service, including Paddy, Mac Neill and Granard. The Riding School housed catering facilities for troops passing through London on leave.

TM The King and Queen's tea party to the wounded at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace, March 1916©

King George V and Queen Mary were also both active in the war effort. The King first visited the Western Front in November 1914 and he returned five further times during the war. His engagements included meeting Allied heads of state, inspecting troops and visiting the wounded. Queen Mary felt she should accompany her husband and her first visit to France was in July 1917, where she visited hospitals, aerodromes, nurses' hostels and casualty clearing stations. At home in Britain, they undertook similar visits to wounded and disabled soldiers, sailors and airmen in hospitals and convalescent centres; discharged soldiers and sailors were even invited to entertainments at Buckingham Palace. During periods of unrest amongst munitions and engineering workers, the royal couple  also initiated goodwill tours of industrial and shipbuilding areas.

For three days this week we have given entertainments to wounded soldiers & sailors in our Riding School, over 2000 have been able to come & enjoyed it I am glad to say- Everything was very well organised & arranged for their comfort. They had tea first in the Coach Houses, members of our family presiding at each table, & being helped by the ladies & gentlemen of our household, & various friends of ours - The entertainments consisted of various artistes, acrobats, conjurors etc

Queen Mary to the Dowager Duchess of Mecklelburg-Strelitz (Queen Mary's aunt, an elderly member of the British royal family living in Germany), 24 March 1916, Royal Archives


The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.