Close familial links between the British and German monarchs in 1914
For more than a century they have been hidden away in a Royal wardrobe, a reminder of the rift in the House of Windsor caused by the First World War.
Now the Queen is facing calls to display the German uniforms worn by her grandfather, George V, to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war.
The close familial links between the British and German monarchs in 1914 – George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II were both grandchildren of Queen Victoria – meant that George held the honorary ranks as a German Field Marshal and as a colonel of German regiments.
|George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II were both|
grandchildren of Queen Victoria (above)
The Queen is facing calls to display the German uniforms worn by her grandfather, George V, to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war. The British king is pictured (right) in German military uniform, with his cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II (left)
He was fitted out for Teutonic uniforms to mark his roles as Admiral of the Imperial German Navy, Prussian Field Marshal, Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st Guard Dragoon Regiment and Colonel-in-Chief of the Kürassier Regiment Graf Getzler (Rhine) No 8.
At the time, both sides of the family used the name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The uniforms are still held by the Royal Collection, but have been displayed only on rare occasions.
Last night, former Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, a First World War expert, said the uniforms should be placed on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
‘These are hugely significant items,’ Mr Mackinlay said.
‘Not only do they tell the extraordinary story of the schism between the Royals occasioned by the war, but they are also works of considerable skill and artistry in terms of the fabric and design.
'They have been kept in pristine condition. Displaying them would highlight that despite the fact that these close first cousins were the heads of the two principal belligerent countries, the tragedy of the First World War could not be averted.
‘Many young people today do not realise how close the two wings of the family were – or that Queen Victoria died in the Kaiser’s arms in 1901.’
The conflict led to George changing the name of the family by Royal proclamation in July 1917 to Windsor.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Collection said: ‘A number of Royal Collection items relating to the First World War are on short and long-term loan to cultural institutions across the UK, and any loan requests will continue to be fulfilled wherever possible to mark this four-year centenary period.’