King's Speech 2011 Oscar Best Picture

George VI, the reluctant king

King George VI

The King’s Speech is a critically-acclaimed movie. It has bagged the Best Picture and Best Actor for Colin Firth in the 2011 Academy Awards.

This movie is a historical drama, based on the life on King George VI of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. This is an inspiring story not only for the privileged ones, but also for ordinary people. It shows how even the wealthy and mighty can be also be afflicted with any disorder. The movie focused on the speech problem of the king - a stutter and how he overcame it with the help of a speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

King George VI was born Albert Frederick Arthur George on December 1895 to the then Prince George, who would later become King George and Mary, the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary).  As the second son, he was not expected to inherit the throne.  He always lived by the shadow of his elder brother Edward.

As a royal, he lived a well-endowed life. However, it was also accompanied by tons of pressure. He suffered from a stammer for several years, which he traced back to the pressures of his childhood: his strict father, the repression of his natural left-handedness, a painful treatment with metal splints for his knock-knees, a nanny who favored his elder brother, deliberately pinching Albert at the daily presentations to their parents so he would cry and his parent would not want to see him and the early death of his little brother John.  He developed shyness as a result of his speech difficulty. It also made him appeared less impressive than his elder brother.

In 1920 he met Lady Elizabeth, who was considered a commoner by the British standards. She was initially reluctant to be a member of the royal family, but his determination made her finally agree to it.  They were married on April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abby.  Albert’s marriage to a commoner was a modernizing gesture at that that time. Their union was blessed with two children: Elizabeth and Margaret.

In lieu of his stammer, Albert dreaded public speaking. After a embarrassing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in October 1925 he began to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born speech therapist. With his professional guidance, coupled with Albert’s determination and patience of the Duchess, his wife he gradually learned to overcome his stutter. In 1927 at the Australia’s Federal parliament he was able to deliver the opening address with only a light hesitation.

When King George V died in 1936, his elder brother ascended the throne as Edward the VIII.  But less than a year later, the new king abdicated the throne to marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson, a two-time divorcee.  Thus Albert became the king, a position he was not ready to accept.  He wept like a child before his mother Queen Mary, the day prior to abdication.

As a King he was credited for restoring the public faith in the monarchy when it was at its low ebb.  He was known to have been closely associated with Prime Minister Chamberlain and Churchill, both with whom he appeared alongside on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. It was described by the John Grigg, a historian, to describe this behavior as “the most unconstitutional act by a British sovereign in the present century.”

King George VI showed exceptional courage during the war when he and his wife resolved to stay in London despite the German bombing raids. It was also during his reign when the British Empire fell apart, eventually forming the Commonwealth of Nations.

On February 6, 1952 at the age of 56, George VI died from coronary thrombosis. He was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth who became Queen Elizabeth II.

  1. George VI of the United Kingdom. Wikipedia
  2. The King's Speech. Wikipedia

2 Response to King's Speech 2011 Oscar Best Picture

March 5, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Very informational. followed!

March 6, 2011 at 8:26 PM

The "Kings's Speech" is a movie that I haven't seen yet, but would like to at some point.

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