This film is held by the BFI (ID: 12634).


DOCUMENTARY - made as a coronation souvenir (George VI) and traces the story of the British Empire from 1895 to the proclamation of George VI as King. Events are shown in strict chronological order.

Rl.1 St. James's Palace, December 1936. George VI is proclaimed King (149-183). The film then retraces its steps from here: Victorian horsedrawn traffic (238-244); Queen Victoria rides in a carriage to the cheers of crowds on her Diamond Jubilee (244-264); Edward VII shooting game (264-282); walking with the Prince of Wales (George V) (282-289); Prince of Wales and Princess Mary out walking (289-297). York Cottage, Sandringham; Princess Royal, George VI and Edward, Duke of Windsor, as small children (314-338). The coronation of Edward VII; procession (339-369). Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener (356-369). A map shows European Kingdoms at the time of Edward VII. King Edward and Queen Alexandra set out for France (397-404); rides in pro- cession in France (404-411). Some European royalty: the Kaiser salutes the Kaiserin (411-419); cadets of German Royal House ride by coach (419-427); German Crown Prince and his family (427-435); Leopold of the Belgians (435-444); Franz-Joseph of Austria (444-453); Austrian Imperial Guard (453-464); Ferdinand of Bulgaria (464-472). Russia: Tsar, Tsarina and young Tsarevich march in procession (with Rasputin?) (472-492); Tsarevich takes salute with his father (492-505). More shots of Tsar (505-523); the Princes of Germanic states, led by Luitpold of Bavaria, meet to honour the Emperor (523-540). Brussels: Kaiser pays state visit to King Albert (540-559). The Kaiserin and Queen Elizabeth of the Belgians (559-572). Prince of Wales and Princess Mary visit Berlin (572-598); the Kaiser in Turkey (598-615). Edward VII and Queen Alexandra are guests of King Victor of Italy and his Queen (615-635). Funeral procession of Edward VII; George VI, the Duke of Windsor, the Kaiser and George V walk in procession (636-690). English scene: countryside, sea-bathing. India prepares to welcome King George and Queen Mary to the Delhi Durbar (730-753). King George and Queen Mary proclaimed Emperor and Empress of India at an official ceremony at which Viscount Hardinge presents the loyal address (820 ft).

RL.2 Lloyd George with Bonar Law (8-14); Asquith and Sir Edward Gray (14-26); Margot Asquith with her husband (26-35); Mr. Churchill (35-50); Lloyd George descends from car to popular acclaim (50-70); suffragette procession - women being arrested by police (70-111). Liverpool: King George and Queen Mary visit Liverpool dockyards. Accompanied by Lord Derby and Prince Albert, they go aboard the "Mauretania" (145-159). Cunard officers, Naval Reserve men and cadets of the line are inspected by the King (159-180). The Kaiser visits Austria and is welcomed from the train by Franz-Joseph (182-229). The Archduke Ferdinand visits Sarajevo in Serbia. (This film taken 10 minutes before his assassination) (229-246). Devastation caused in Serbia by a bomb (246-265). World War I: The armies of Europe on the march (265-303). England - recruits enrol for army, most of them joining Haig's regiment (344-349). Women replace men as munitions workers, in the Auxiliary Corps, as bus conductors, railway workers, etc., transporting troops to front (405). The "Old Contemptibles" in France (415). King George V and Prince Albert visit the French front (415-428). Lord Kitchener reviews army he created (428-439). French troops (439-442); President Poincare and General Joffre (442-454). Battle scenes. The British soldier keeps cheerful under fire (reconstruction) (524). Battle of Jutland: Sequence showing battleship keeling over, etc. is not authentic: see related material No.1007. [SUNDAY TIMES, 19th June 1966]. Admiral Jellicoe (533-543) on "Iron Duke". Battle cruiser fleet led by Admiral Beatty from flagship "The Lion" (543-561); the Kaiser with Admiral Scheer (570-585). Prince Albert joins his battleship "Collingwood" (590-598). Fleets sail for the battle (map shows manoeuvres of both fleets). Admiral Hipper on board ship (663-669). (Animated diagram shows positioning of both fleets). The fleets sight each other and battle begins. Battle sequences (765). End of German battleship; she keels over and the crew swim for safety (875 ft).

Rl.3 German submarine warfare after the Battle of Jutland. The Kaiser's brother witnesses the campaign (8-16). A propaganda film made by Germany of her war on merchantmen shows the sinking of many British ships by German submarines (34-153). Convoy system introduced by Britain (153-183). Palace of Versailles; signing of Treaty of Versailles (185-225). At the Cenotaph: the nation mourns her war-dead. Prince Albert, Admiral Jellicoe and General Gourand(?) (269-285). Prince Albert accompanied by Sir Ian Hamilton lays a wreath on the Cenotaph. The latter leads the Legion pilgrimage down Whitehall. Another shot of Sir Ian with Prince Albert (285-297). Informal shots of the Duke of York (297-307). Shots of the home of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (309-357). Marriage procession from Westminster Abbey (357-388). Royal couple appear on balcony with King George and Queen Mary (388-412). The Duke and Duchess are seen fulfilling public engagements (412-436). Nurse with Lady Elizabeth (436-448). Rome: state procession (450-461) with Mussolini (475-480). Russia: shots of the Kremlin (475-480). Lenin makes a speech (481-494). Germany: Hitler at a parade (494-519). Australia: shots of Parliament House. Duke and Duchess open state Parliament at Canberra (531-574). Visit to Africa and New Zealand on world tour. Shot of Duke reading a speech - possibly in New Zealand (592 ft).

Rl.4 May 1926. "The General Strike". Newspapers cease printing (interior of printing works shown). Transport House. Miners strike (shots of pitheads). Transport strike: people walk to work. Millions volunteer to keep essential services going. Police protect skeleton transport workers. Shots of trams, traffic. (`Mock-up' of fights among citizens). Armoured cars escort food convoys. Milk churns in Hyde Park collected and despatched by volunteers. Unloading of meat. Publication of emergency newspapers. At Downing Street, Jimmy Thomas (130-137) brings T.U.C. peace offer. Crowds see T.U.C. leaders leave 10 Downing Street (144-152). Pressmen rush to print the news that the strike is over. "The Depression". Coal strike remains, crippling industry. Shots of depressed areas; merchant ships laid up. Pawn-shops flourish (reconstruction); hungry children, derelict areas (156-218). Duke and Duchess of York return from world tour on H.M.S. "Renown" and are welcomed by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent and Duke of Gloucester (219-261). Duke and Duchess perform civic duties (261-285). King George V at Hyde Park reviews with Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur of Connaught (261-311). Geneva: U.N. Headquarters (313-322). Lord Robert Cecil? Lord Reading? and Monsieur Briand (322-335). Germany represented by Gustav Stresemann (340-345). Evacuation of the Rhine by allies after Treaty of Locarno (345-368). Monsieur Herriot and Mr. MacDonald engineer another step towards peace with Germany (368-375). League of Nations: League Council hears British Prime Minister (J. Ramsay MacDonald) (379-422). Invasion of Manchuria by Japan. Street fighting (422-437). Chinese delegate at Geneva, Dr. Wellington Koo, speaks (438-468). Japan's delegate, Mr. Matsouka, speaks briefly and walks out (485-497). Geneva statesmen speak to support security (554-584). Germany: Hitler's troops re-occupy the Rhine (568-602). Italy embarks on conquest of Abyssinia (602-621). At Geneva, Britain imposes sanctions against Italy. Count Dino Grandi(?) told to withdraw by Rome. He tells the League of Nations that war can never be abolished (628-643). Italian militant rally - brief shots of Mussolini (664-679). Abyssinian Emperor shouted down (679-708). Clydeside: (712-791). George V makes a speech and Queen Mary launches the "Queen Mary". "Queen Mary" at sea (849 ft).

Rl.5 The Duchess of York visits Roehampton House of Wounded and Incurable (64). Wedding of Lady Mary Cambridge, attended by the Duke and Duchess with Lady Elizabeth (aged 5) (65-82). Lady May is escorted by her father, the Earl of Athlone (82-89). Family wedding group. Lady Elizabeth (96-102). Princess Marina and the Duke of Kent with their baby in the garden (104-128). Queen Mary, Duke and Duchess of York and the two princesses go to Braemar gathering (184). Duke of York (193-220) makes a speech at trade exhibition for Empire goods. Duke and Duchess at Brussels World Fair (222-246). The Duchess opens St. Joseph's flats (246-283). Duchess and princesses watch Aldershot Tattoo in daylight (283-324). Duke attends annual camp at Southwold (326-376). Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary attended by Duke and Duchess. The royal family ride home in procession. The King and Queen appear on the balcony and wave to the crowds (524). Funeral of george V (526-577). Abdication of Edward VIII. People gather outside the Palace. Prime Minister and Home Secretary leave Downing Street for Fort Belvedere (620). Scenes outside as abdication is confirmed (671). Duke of York takes up Kingship (679). Demonstration of might and defences of Britain; her intention to remain loyal to the Crown (848ft).




Technical Data

Running Time:
44 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
35mm Film
3988 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Great Britain
Production Company
Paramount British Productions