Search This Blog

Thursday, 26 March 2015

George VI of the United Kingdom

George VI (real name Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor) was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on December 14, 1895.


His father was Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V) and his mother the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary,)

As a child Albert had his legs strapped into wooden splints every night because the royal doctors were concerned that his legs weren’t growing straight.

Prince Albert, the Duke of York, married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey on April 26, 1923.  It was the first royal wedding at the abbey since 1383. Albert's marriage to someone not of royal birth was considered a modernizing gesture. 

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon leaves to marry Prince Albert
The wedding was not broadcast on the wireless as courtiers feared listeners might have been sitting down or drinking in a pub when "God Save The King" was sung.

They Duke and Duchess of York had two children, Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, died peacefully in her sleep at the Royal Lodge at Windsor on March 30, 2002. She was 101 years old.

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother painted by Richard Stone in 1986.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, had an older sister, Violet, who sadly died at the age of eleven, eight years before the Queen Mother's own birth. Which means that one sister died in the 19th century while the other died in the 21st century.

He was an outstanding tennis player. Albert played at Wimbledon in the Men's Doubles with Louis Greig in 1926.

Albert became George VI,  king of the United Kingdom, on December 11, 1936 when his elder brother, Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson.



George VI was crowned on May 12, 1937. The coronation took place on the date originally set for his brother, Edward VIII, to be crowned, before he abdicated.

When the BBC televised George VI's coronation, the scenes were watched by an estimated 10,000 subscribers to the service. Pictures were transmitted from Alexandria Palace relayed by a cable that stretched from the studio to the coronation activity, being unplugged and moved about with the camera. The BBC sent a Christmas card to all television owners that year.


King George VI became the first British monarch to make an official visit to the United States of America on June 7, 1939 when he crossed over from Canada near Niagara Falls.

Because of his stammer, George VI dreaded public speaking. He was treated by an Australian speech and language therapist called Lionel Logue. After breathing exercises, and multiple rehearsals with his wife, the king was able to speak with less hesitation.

George VI holds the Sceptre with the Cross, containing the 530-carat Cullinan I Diamond. The Imperial State Crown is on the right. Portrait by Sir Gerald Kelly.
The King chain-smoked after being told cigarettes might help his stammer.

George VI was portrayed by Colin Firth in The King's Speech, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. The 2010 film about how George overcome his stuttering condition also won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Screenwriter David Seidler stammered as a child and was inspired by King George VI's wartime speech. As an adult, he wrote to The Queen Mother for permission to use the late king's story to create a film. She asked him not to during her lifetime, saying the memories were too painful. Seidler respected her request. At age 73, he was the oldest person ever to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for this film.



George VI won admiration during the Second World War as he stayed at Buckingham Palace during the most intense months of the blitz. On September 13, 1940, the King and Queen narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace while they were present. George VI remained there during the remainder of the war, becoming a symbol of resistance and 'fighting spirit'.


The stress of the war took its toll on King George VI's health exacerbated by his heavy smoking and subsequent development of lung cancer among other ailments, including arteriosclerosis and thromboangiitis obliterans. On January 31, 1952, despite advice from those close to him, the King went to London Airport to see off Princess Elizabeth, who was going on her tour of Australia via Kenya. On the morning of February 6, 1952, George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham House in Norfolk from a coronary thrombosis aged 56.

When King George died, every cinema and theater in the UK closed, all BBC programs were cancelled except for the news, and all sport was called off.

George VI was given a large state funeral, which took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on February 15, 1952. Shortly after 9:00 am, the funeral procession arrived at Westminster Hall where his body had been lying in state. More than 300,000 people paid homage to the body of the king, who was in chapel for three days.

 It was the first royal funeral to be televised and thousands watched the event on TV.


He was succeeded as monarch by his elder daughter Elizabeth II.

No comments:

Post a Comment