Royal opening of the ‘School of Oriental Studies’
Pathé Film footage shot on the occasion of the opening of the School of Oriental Studies at the London Institute in Finsbury Circus. King George V was accompanied by Queen Alexandra and Princess Mary on 23 February 1917.
According to its Royal Charter, the School’s purpose was “to give instruction in the Languages of Eastern and African peoples, Ancient and Modern, and in the Literature, History, Religion, and Customs of those peoples, especially with a view to the needs of persons about to proceed to the East or to Africa for the pursuit of study and research, commerce or a profession..”.
1917 was a year of critical change for George V as he had rejected his Germanic surname and rebranded the royal family as ‘The Windsors’, after their historic castle in Berkshire; and in the same year refused asylum to his first cousin and good friend, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who was subsequently assassinated by the Bolsheviks alongside his entire family.