King George V
King George V and his consort Queen Mary visited Jersey on 12 July 1921, accompanied by their daughter Princess Mary. He was only the second reigning monarch to pay an official royal visit to the island, following in the footsteps of his grandmother Queen Victoria.
The Royal party travelled in style on the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert, accompanied by the Royal Yacht Alexandre, HMS Cleopatra, a light cruiser, HMS Wryneck and HMS Watchman, both destroyers. Also in the Royal Squadron were the French cruiser La Provence and two destroyers.
The party first visited Guernsey and attended a sitting of Chief Pleas at St George's Hall. Loyal addresses were read on behalf of the people of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, and the French community.
The King received the homage of the Seigneurs of Sausmarez, Bruneaux, St Martin's, Henri de Vaugrat and Canely and Fantome. He knighted the Bailiff, Edward Chapmell Ozanne, and decorated a number of islanders.
As the Royal party travelled in their vedette from the Royal Yacht to the Harbour a 21-gun salute was fired from Fort Regent and the island's church bells were rung.
The King was received at 10.30 am by the Lieut-Governor Sir William Douglas Smith, the Bailiff, Sir William Venables Vernon, and Col F H Voisin, and R R Lempriere, Seigneur of Rosel, and Maj J F Giffard, Seigneur of Augres, who owed the service of riding into the sea up to their saddle girths on the Sovereign's arrival and departure.
After inspecting about 2,500 ex-service men drawn up on the Albert Pier and a further 500 French ex-service men, the Royal Party was driven to the Royal Square where they were met at the Public Library by the Bailiff and the Viscount. The Jersey Choral Society sang the National Anthem and the Queen and Princess were presented with bouquets.
Raoul Lempriere's Customs, Ceremonies and Traditions of the Channel Islands takes up the story:
- "A procession was then formed. At its head was the Viscount, acting as Marshal, behind him walked the two dénonciateurs, carrying respectively the royal mace and the banner of arms of the bailiwick. Behind them walked the King and the Bailiff, the Queen and the Lieut-Governor, the Princess and the Royal Suite. the halberdiers were lined up on each side of the entrance and up the steps of the Public Library.
- "There followed a ceremony in the States Chamber where a loyal address of welcome was read by the Bailiff and replied to by the King speaking in French. At the close of the reply the Members of the States and the members of the public in the galleries cried out "Vive le Roi, notre Duc!, Vive la Reine!". It was then announced that His Majesty had been pleased to confer a number of honours, and these were presented by the King.
- "This was followed by the Ceremony of Homage in the Royal Court. The royal procession entered the Royal Court Room in the same order as it had entered the States Chamber, with the exeption that the banner of arms had been deposited by dénonciateur P J Sohier over the canopy above the Bailiff's and Lieut-Governor's chairs, where it was permanently to remain.
- "When they entered the Court Room the King seated himself in the Bailiff's chair and the Queen in the Lieut-Governor's chair. The Bailiff stood beside the King and asked His Majesty whether it was his wish that the lords of the manor should pay homage. Clasping hands and leaning towards the King the Lords of the Manor spoke the words of homage Je suis votre homme lège a vous porter foi et hommage contre tous. The King then clasped the Lord of St Ouen by the hands, as being the senior, and bowing, acknowledged the homage thus paid.
- "The Lord of the Manor of Trinity then, in accordance with the terms of his tenure, presented the King with two mallards or wild ducks, which having been received by His Majesty were handed to the Receiver-General."
During the afternoon the Royal party went on a tour of the east of the island. The visited Victoria College, and while the King was being welcomed by the headmaster, staff and pupils, Princess Mary inspected the island's Guides who assembled on the cricket ground. The colours were carried by Doris Noel and Olive Le Clerq.
Then on to Mont Orgueil Castle where the King and Queen were met by a guard of halberdiers. At the main gateway the sergeant lowered his halberd across the entrance and challenged "Chi va la?" (Who goes there?). The Bailiff replied "Le Roy" (The King).
The next visit was to Rosel Manor where the Seigneur, as hereditary butler to the Sovereign, served tea to the royal party in a marquee in the lower ward. They then returned to St Helier Harbour, and another royal salute was fired from Fort Regent as their launch headed out the to Royal Yacht slightly ahead of the scheduled time of 5.40 pm.
It is generally supposed that the island's 12 parish emblems have a long history, but they were actually designed to commemorate the Royal visit in 1921. The badges were designed by A G Wright, assisted by Major Norman Rybot who redesigned them in 1923.
Government House scrapbook
A scrapbook of pictures of the 1921 visit, and other memorabilia, was kept at Government House and eventually found its way to Jersey Archive, via the Jersey Public Library, where it was kept for many years. The scrapbook gives a fascinating insight into the planning for the visit and includes the letter of thanks sent by the King from his Royal Yacht after his departure from Jersey, as well as a menu for the official dinner he hosted on the yacht, signed by himself and Queen Mary.
Gallery of further pictures
Click on any image to see a larger version