Once again a trip to the movies has both utterly enthralled me, and proved how lacking my knowledge is. First, I was absolutely blown away by The King's Speech over the long weekend (despite reservations that all the hype and build up may have left me disappointed). I'm not sure if you were supposed to, but I shed a tear watching Colin Firth as King George VI, struggle to complete a full sentence in the face of bullying, ridicule and some rather silly supposed remedies. The script was tight with some fantastic one-liners delivered with aplomb and superb timing by the cast including Helen Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush. Enough superlatives - but if you miss it at the movies, make sure you catch it when it is released on DVD. Or you can request the book of the movie The King's Speech: how one man saved the British Monarchy / Mark Logue and Peter Conradi which is based on the recently discovered diaries and notes of Lione Logue (but you may have to wait as there is a bit of a list at the moment).
However, secondly, it revealed that although I already knew some of the story (George V dies, Edward abdicates for Mrs Simpson, the new Queen Elizabeth never forgives her and Bertie has a stammer which he overcomes), there were facts in the story I had no idea of. For instance (and most glaringly) I had never given much thought to the rest of the family and was surprised to learn through the film that there was at least one younger brother (John who suffered from epilepsy and died at a young age). On further investigation I found that he in fact came from a family of six children. After Edward and himself, came Mary, Henry, George and John. I also learnt that he was naturally left handed and had to suffer nasty nannies and metal splints to cure knock knees.
To find out more about King George VI check out this keyword search link to our classic catalogue. Our Digital Library history resources would make another good starting point.
Jackie Kay at AWRF 2013
1 day ago