12th July 1921

King George V visits Jersey

Jersey pulled out all the stops to welcome the King, Queen Mary and Princess Mary when they visited the island in 1921, their arrival being marked with a salute both from French warships, and from Fort Regent. The King repaid the honour by speaking in French when responding to his official welcome in the States Chamber. He was only the second reigning British monarch to visit the Channel Islands since King John. The previous visitor, 75 years earlier, had been his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

A right royal welcome

This time, as last, the royal party arrived on the royal yacht, Victoria and Albert, at 6am and dropped anchor in St Aubin’s Bay, but it took another four hours for the royal party to come ashore, where they found the streets decorated with garlands and flowers on one of the hottest days ever recorded.

They were met by thousands of islanders, including 2,500 who had fought in the First World War, alongside a large company of widows who had lost their husbands in the conflict. With formalities completed, they spent the afternoon touring the island and sightseeing.

Unusual gifts

The King was given a Jersey cow as a gift from the population, and two ducks from the Seigneur de Trinite, who was obliged to make the gift by the terms of his tenure. However, not all of the regular customs were observed. The King should have been greeted by two officials riding white chargers into the water, but he excused them this chore as the water was too deep.

They stayed in the island for two days and then sailed back to Portsmouth. For their final night in Jersey, a parade was mounted in St Helier and fires were lit, which were kept going throughout the night so that they might be visible as the royal yacht set sail.


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