The King's Speech
Bertie was a boy who couldnâ€™t do
anything right. He couldnâ€™t walk
right or talk right or write his letters with
the right hand. And he lived in a time
when doing things the right way, the
proper way, was very important.
His father was the handsome and strong-
willed King George V. His great-
grandmother was that epitome of
rightness and propriety, Queen Victoria.
His brother David, who would follow
his father as King Edward VIII, was the
perfect person for the jobâ€”handsome
and popular and right in all the ways
Bertie was wrong. Their father never
got furious at David the way he did at
But Bertie grew up to be the handsome
and popular King George VI, the
perfect king to lead his country through
the dark days of World War II. And he
recently became the subject of the
Academy-Award-winning film The
The title of the movie is a double
entendre, referring at once to the speech
defect that caused him to stutter and to
the important address he needed to give
on the radio about the threat posed by
Bertie never expected to be king. In
fact, it was the last thing he wanted. His
brother did became king, but then he
did the unthinkable. He abdicated.
There are two reasons he decided to
give up being king. One was the reason
he gave in a speech at the time. He
wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, an
American woman who had been
divorced. This is the reason many
Americans still believe--that he gave up
the chance to be king for love.
The second reason was darker and
more sinister. He liked Hitler, the
leader of Germany. He didn't really
believe that Hitler would imprison and
kill the Jewish people in Germany, take
over most of the rest of Europe, and try
to bomb the British into submission.
But that's just what he did!
David with Wallis Simpson and with Hitler
The King's Speech is the story of
Bertie's growing friendship with the
speech therapist, Lionel Logue, his
growing confidence in himself, and his
growing conviction that he can be the
right leader to inspire England to resist
the Nazi threat.