Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2012
George VI was not born to be king but he became King with his unexpected accession to the British throne in 1936. He was the prince who bore the brunt of weighty responsibilities when he bravely stepped into the breach to save the monarchy and restore the nation’s confidence during the most unexpected and unprecedented changes following the abdication of his elder brother, King Edward VIII.
King George VI occupied a most extraordinary position in the history of his country. He maintained public morale during World War II and the Blitz. His calm, dignified personality was a shining beacon of hope, comfort and reassurance to the nation. He was earnest, frank and reliable, a greatly loved and much admired monarch. His life was the triumph of selfless honesty, exemplary goodness, fervent understanding and compassionate goodwill. Kindhearted and benevolent at all times, he was good, honest and kind in the face of despair, triumphing over extremely overwhelming odds.
A great-grandson of Queen Victoria and King-Emperor of the Commonwealth and Empire, King George VI set staggeringly high standards for himself to emulate in his private and public life. Not surprisingly, his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II took after her father in this respect, having admired and respected him greatly. She is her father’s daughter after all and a chip off the old block. His selfless, deeply committed spirit was reflected in her personality when at the tender age of 21, on a worldwide radio broadcast, she announced, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial Commonwealth to which we all belong”. The Empire is gone but the Commonwealth is still here and Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, did her utmost to preserve and keep the best traditions alive.
One of King George VI’s admirable qualities was his extraordinary power to adapt to his changing circumstances and to do his utmost to the very best of his abilities. He was not a great scholar but he was a quick learner. This proved to be one of his best and most admired traits. He knew to the hilt the peculiar limitations of his role and sphere of influence as a constitutional monarch.
Though born into great wealth and brought up in palaces, King George VI projected an entirely genuine image. There was no artificiality in him. He was a genuine person at heart. He never tried to flaunt his intelligence or parade his intellectual brilliance to an astounded world.
Denis Judd presents Prince Albert’s successful transformation into King George VI in this highly acclaimed biography of the father of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the world’s oldest reigning monarch and the longest-reigning monarch in British history.