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Today 1936 George V was dying at Sandringham.But he wasn’t dying fast enough. It was 11pm, the Palace wished to announce in morning’s Times (if deadline missed, news wd be in ‘low’ evening papers). So doctor despatched the King w huge dose of morphine & cocaine- &Times got story
‘A Peaceful Ending at Midnight’ read The Times headline on the death of George V OTD 1936. His doctor, Lord Dawson, had injected him at 11pm with 1g of cocaine & 3/4 g of morphine to um ‘hasten his end’ - after he’d told his wife to phone the Times to hold back on going to press
Yes, we might argue that George V was saved unnecessary suffering as he was near the end by the injection to hasten his end. But important that the King’s chief nurse was scandalised and absolutely refused to stay in the room while the injection was administered.
As the doctor put it in his notes, the fatal injection meant that the death of George V OTD could be announced in ‘the morning papers rather than the less appropriate evening journals’. Does rather seem as if the King was bumped off so the Evening Standard didn’t get the story...
It is also unclear who doctor consulted before dispatching George V by injection - the King’s nurse was opposed and no records of specific discussion with royal family. He did talk later in the House of Lords of the importance of a ‘mission of mercy’ when patients were dying
The Queen and Prince of Wales has spoken to the doctor about avoiding unnecessary suffering. But they would have meant prolonging. Queen M was a stickler for playing by the rules - we have not allowed anything ‘unique’. And Prince would have needed to protect self against
Suggestions that all heirs have that they want the monarch out of the way. Lord Dawson may have been taking all the responsibility for a palace decision. Or it was maybe his idea - based on what he knew the palace hoped to happen with the newspapers.....
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