The Father King at Balmoral with sons Edward, George and Henry. Randolph Churchill claimed that George V was a strict father, to the extent that his children were terrified of him. The King was apparently quoted as saying: "My father was frightened of his mother, I was frightened of my father, and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me."
The King-Emperor was a rather stern, dull and conventional figure who abided by the moral strictures of his time; he did not partake in the wine and womanizing ways of his father, he preferred collecting stamps. He preferred the simple, almost quiet, life in marked contrast to his parents. Even his official biographer despaired, writing: "He may be all right as a young midshipman and a wise old king, but when he was Duke of York ... he did nothing at all but shoot animals and stick in stamps."
During the Great War when H. G. Wells wrote about Britain's "alien and uninspiring court", George famously replied: "I may be uninspiring, but I'll be damned if I'm alien." He would do whatever was required, including changing the family name to Windsor. Dull and dutiful to the end, he had the ideal disposition for a wartime King, which would prove to be the steady hand that guided Britain from the brink, while other European crowns fell into the dust.
Judging by the long success of our current Queen, boring is a blessing for monarchs, for kings there is a kind of virtue in being dull. By the silver jubilee of his reign in 1935, George V had become a well-loved king, saying in response to the crowd's adulation, "I cannot understand it, after all I am only a very ordinary sort of fellow."