British Empire Exhibition - Wembley 1924

These extracts are from speeches given by Edward, Prince of Wales, and King George V at the opening ceremony of the British Empire Exhibition. As president of the event, Edward, Prince of Wales, asks his father, King George V, to open the proceedings. They acknowledge the hard work that has gone into the exhibition, despite adverse weather, and outline its aims to show the achievements of the Empire and its peoples and to stimulate the economy, which is still recovering from World War I.

Roars from the crowd follow as the King finishes his speech and declares the event open. A prayer is then read by the Bishop of London, Dr Arthur Winnington-Ingram. This was the first broadcast made by King George V, although more were to follow. An estimated 10 million people heard the transmission and many events around the country were suspended so that the public could listen. As it was so high-profile, early royal broadcasting may have altered the image of the monarchy. This was also, possibly, the first electronic recording made in England.

Recorded 23 April 1924.

iPlayer archive