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12 June 1922: George V Receives the Colours of Disbanded Irish Regiments

12 June 2022

Read Heather Jones's essay on ‘Monarchy, Empire and Sovereignty' on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today's essay is by Heather Jones and it covers the moment on 12 June 1922 when King George V received back the Colours of Irish regiments that were being disbanded following the establishment of the Irish Free State:

‘The ceremony was one of the most touching that I ever beheld’, recalled John Fortescue, the librarian at Windsor Castle, describing the moment on 12 June 1922 when King George V received back the Colours of Irish regiments that were being disbanded following the establishment of the Irish Free State; ‘The King read a message of farewell to each of the regiments and quitted the hall, leaving most of the officers and non-commissioned officers in tears’. Men, who had been through the trenches of the First World War, wept. Colours were bestowed by the king to the regiments of his army to symbolise the British monarchy that their soldiers bled and died for on the battlefield. For Great War veterans, returning them crystallised that their regiment was no more; even that its recent suffering in the theatres of the conflict had come to nought. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.

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