What a lovely film, with more British stars of screen and stage than Harry Potter. And who could resist a browse around in history to find out a little more about George VI…..?  Herewith a few programme notes.

1. Bertie was forced to buy the well-known royal residences Balmoral (in Scotland) and Sandringham (Norfolk) from his brother when he became king, as the two properties were considered private residences and did not automatically pass to him.

2. When it was suggested that his wife, Elizabeth, send her children out of London to safety during the Blitz, she famously answered “The children will not go without me, I will not go without the King and the King will never leave.”

3. Despite his devotion to his wife (“‘the most marvellous person in the world”), Bertie spent a good deal of his life infatuated with an actress named Evelyn ‘Boo’ Laye.  Elizabeth apparently had “an amused acceptance” of her husband’s admiration of Laye, and it was Laye who recommended the services of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue.

4. Elizabeth (later the Queen Mum) was known for her irreverent sense of humour. A friend of Noel Coward’s, she once noticed his eyes flicker across a line of soldiers and whispered: “I wouldn’t if I were you, Noël; they count them before they put them out.”

5. George VI was the first member of the royal family to own a Corgi, purchased in 1933. His name was Dookie.

6. According to rumour, Wallis Simpson had an affair with Mussolini’s future son-in-law and became pregnant, leading to a botched abortion that left her unable to conceive.

And here it is, the real King George VI’s speech. Have a listen, it’s wonderful.


6 thoughts on “The King’s Speech

  1. Jon M 8 years ago

    fascinating stuff but I wonder how many people heard the speech. My Dad relayed the fact that Britain was at war to Digby airbase where he was stationed after receiving a radio message. I wonder if it was broadcast later. No “listen again” then. Though I suppose I just have “Listened again!”

  2. Thomas 8 years ago

    Thanks for these. I especially like the Lizzy/Coward moment.

  3. Philippa 8 years ago

    Another Elizabeth of Glamis quotation for you: when Buckingham Palace was hit during the height of the Blitz, Queen Elizabeth observed that “It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”
    Interestingly, this was interpreted ( on a foreign anti-Monarchist site) as meaning they now had a better view!
    Thanks for the post, Meg.

  4. bookwitch 8 years ago

    Clearly YOU had spare time on your hands.
    I knew no. 2 already.
    What happened to no.4? Censored? Or are we adjusting for having had too many 12s last time?

  5. Katherine Langrish 8 years ago

    Gosh, I bet that left a lot of people in tears. Stirring stuff!

  6. Bazza 8 years ago

    That speech has become imbued, for me at least, with new meaning with the publicity engendered by this film.
    Geoffrey Rush is one of my favourite actors and it looks like inspired casting, altoughI have not seen the film yet!
    Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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