Tuesday, December 14, 2010

George VI, The Accidental King



A fool must now and then be right, by chance.

- William Cowper
From Conversation {1782}, 1. 96


Hey Sixteeners, if you want to have some Yuletide fun and you enjoy a challenge, try my Christmas television quiz. Just go to my TV website at http://www.tvbanter.net/


King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth, was born on December 14, 1895. Today marks the 115th anniversary of his birth. Born Albert Frederick Arthur George, this great-grandson of Queen Victoria was commonly known as Bertie. On December 11, 1936, Bertie’s brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry a twice-divorced American commoner named Wallace Simpson. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Bertie was thrust into the spotlight. He was an accidental king, but a king just the same. Shy, awkward and left-handed, Bertie did not relish being the focus of attention. He struggled with a speech impediment and his stuttering made speaking in public a hellish experience for the new king.

George VI ascended to the throne at a very troubled time. There was a world-wide economic depression. Hitler and Mussolini were firmly in power and involvement in a global war loomed closer all the time. Just days before his fortieth birthday, George VI became King of Great Britain. He and his wife, the future Queen Mother Elizabeth, helped to guide Britain through some of the darkest days of World War II.

George VI died in his sleep on February 6, 1952 at the age of 56, the immediate result of a blood clot in his heart. It was also revealed that the king had lung cancer. His 25-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was vacationing in Kenya at the time of her father’s death. She prepared to return to London immediately, but a thunderstorm delayed her flight. Upon her return, she took the Royal Oath and became Queen Elizabeth II.

George VI is once again the focus of attention. There is a new film about his struggles with his speech impediment. It is called The King’s Speech and stars Colin Firth in the lead role. I certainly plan to see it.

Click on the link below to watch a video of a 1937 newsreel of the coronation of George VI. Note that the announcer declares that Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada and Mounties are in attendance.




Well, what do you know? The Leafs are on a bit of a role. They have won three of their last five games with victories over Boston, Washington and Montreal. They have a date with the Edmonton Oilers in the Alberta capital tonight. Nazem Kadri is still looking for his first NHL goal. Will tonight be the night?

- Joanne

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