By Ben Wheeler
TO MARK the anniversary of the burial of King George VI, a compilation of fascinating retro-footage showing landmark moments from his reign as monarch has been released.
Shown complete with his lisp in the hit movie The King’s Speech and more recently in the acclaimed Darkest Hour, in these clips we can see King George’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on 12 May 1937.
The new King can be seen being crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, before the Royal Family head back to Buckingham palace for a famous balcony shot. The video also features footage from George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s milestone visit to North America, where they attended the 1939 New York World’s Fair, becoming the first reigning monarch to visit North America.
Finally, the clip finishes with an excerpt from King George’s sombre VE Day speech to the nation at the end of the Second World War, in which he encourages the nation to turn their thoughts to new tasks across the world brought about by peace in Europe, whilst remembering the men and women who laid down their lives.
Public speaking was particularly difficult for George, who suffered from a stammer all his life, which he never fully overcame despite ongoing speech therapy. The King’s speech impediment can be heard in the clip as he takes long pauses at certain words in the address that went as follows: –
“At this hour when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our harbours and homes in these islands, we may at last make one pause for thanksgiving and then turn our thoughts to the tasks all over the world, which peace in Europe brings with it.
“First, let us remember those who will not come back, their constancy and courage in battle, their sacrifice and endurance in the face of a merciless enemy.
“Let us remember the men in all the services, the women in all of the services who have laid down their lives. We have come to the end of our tribulation, and they are not with us at the moment of our rejoicing.”
George VI, known as Albert before his ascension to the throne was never meant to become king. As the second son of King George V, his elder brother Edward was expected to reign as monarch.
Edward did become King Edward VIII after their father’s death but only lasted a year on the throne, abdicating in order to marry his American mistress, Wallis Simpson, who was divorced from her first husband and in the process of divorcing her second.
Edward was advised that he could not remain king and marry a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands, choosing abdication and the relinquishing of his royal title in preference of abandoning his marriage plans.
With Edward having no children, Albert was next in line to the throne and was crowned as King George VI. His reign lasted a little over 15 years until his death on 6 February 1952 at Sandringham House in Norfolk, at the age of 56.
As well as being monarch throughout World War Two, George’s reign saw the acceleration of the dissolution of the British Empire, with India, Pakistan and Israel all gaining independence during his time on the throne.