Having been active in the Mark degree, as Senior Grand Warden in 1929 and Provincial Grand Master for the Middlesex Mark Province since 1931, he accepted the rank of Past Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons in 1937.
In the Ancient and Accepted Rite he had become an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council when they conferred on him the 33rd Degree in 1932. Surprisingly,
in the Royal Arch, although he had been through the three Chairs of his Chapter, he did not take high office, being content to remain a Past Principal.
By time honoured tradition, King George’s appearance in Grand Lodge in 1937 should have been his last formal contact with Freemasonry. Despite himself being a traditionalist, he broke the convention, and on three great occasions appeared as King and Past Grand Master in Grand Lodge.
In 1939 the Duke of Connaught, who had ruled as Grand Master for 38 years, retired. Grand Lodge elected the King’s brother, HRH The Duke of Kent (father of our present Grand Master) to succeed him.
On 19 July 1939 the, at that time, largest ever gathering of Freemasons in England took place when 12,003 brethren met
at Olympia in Kensington for an Especial Grand Lodge at which the King took the Chair and installed his brother as Grand Master. In welcoming the new Grand Master the King said:
“This great and representative gathering of recognised Freemasons, who have come from all quarters of the Globe to greet you on his occasion, will indicate the support you may expect in the future.
You know that you have my good wishes, and as a Brother Mason,
I shall always follow with great interest your rulership of the Craft
and the progress of our Order”.
The high hopes of that great meeting were to be short-lived
as the new Grand Master was to die tragically in an air accident whilst on war duties with the Royal Air Force in 1942. The installation of his successor, the Earl of Harewood, was to be a more muted affair. On 1 June 1943, just over 1,600 brethren assembled at Freemasons’ Hall in London.
Masonic correspondence from the King
The Queen Mother is greeted by the Grand Master, Lord Scarbrough, on her visit to Freemasons’ Hall
in October 1952, shortly after the King’s death
The jewel worn by the King as Provincial
Grand Master for Middlesex
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