Part One: England.
3. The King is dead. Long live the King!.
On the evening of January 15th 1936, King George V took to his bedroom at Sandringham House complaining of a cold and feeling a tad unwell. The toll that the Revolution had taken on his health had eventually weakened him.
King George V during a military exercise at Salisbury Plains.
On January 20th, he was already comatose and close to death. His physician, Lord Dawson of Penn, issued a bulletin with words that have become famous: "The King's life is drawing peacefully to a close." Dawson admits hastening the King's end by giving him a lethal injection of cocaine and morphine, both to prevent further strain on the family and so that the news of his death could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper. He died at 11:55 p.m.
Thus, his elder son became Edward VIII. At midnight on 27 January, the new King and his three brothers joined the officers of the Household Brigade guarding the catafalque. They stood there for twenty minute in the dim candlelight and the great silence. As the mourners emerged from St George's, they saw that the grass surrounding the chapel was covered with wreaths.
The funeral took place on 28th January 1936 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. George V embarked on his last voyage of all. The gun-carriage bearing his coffin was manned by sailors. They drew him from Westminster to Paddington station; and when the train reached Windsor, through the precincts of the castle to St George's Chapel, which was reached more than an hour late because the crowds were so vast that scorned a raw winter morning to bid him farewell, blocking the processional way. At the procession, as the cortège turned into New Palace Yard, part of the Imperial State Crown trembled, as if to fell from on top of the coffin, but nothing happened and the Crown did not fall. Later on, it was said that id was an omen.
The coffin lies on the catafalque in St George's Chapel
The week had begun with a sudden downpour which drenched most of southern England in a series of endless storms. Under such unaspicious terms began the meeting that was to change, again, the face of the world. It began in London and would end in Berlin, two months later.
Apparently, nothing came out of it, but a few weeks later, the world was taken by surprise when it was annouced a trade agreement between the German Reich and the British Empire. Apparently, the agreement refered only to
"to maintain open relations and comercial exchanges" (article 3rd).More was to come and months of negotiations followed and led to stronger ties between the two countries. Thus, on May 24th, 1936, the Anglo-German Pact was annouced. By this Pact, both London and Berlin agreed to
"stand by and co-operate with one another to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned" [ and] "to assist one another with all political, economic and military means when one of the two contracting powers is attacked" (article 2nd).
Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, who was to have a key role during the rule of the next British monarch, seen here in a glimpse taken at the negotiations of the Anglo-German Pact *.
* trekkie et al, refrain yourselves a bit, please :P Blame Le Jones for that