George VI (b.1895 r.1936-1952)
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George VI (b.1895 r.1936-1952)

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George VI, born in 1895, ascended the English Throne upon the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936. He quickly restored the nation's confidence and respect in the monarchy and became a very popular figurehead during the Second World War, both to civilians at home during the Blitz, and through his morale boosting trips to the troops abroad. He died in 1952.

This is a copy by Robert Swan of the 1945 State portrait at Windsor Castle by Sir Gerald Kelly.

George VI prevented Churchill from taking an active part in the D-Day landings. He did this by threatening to take part himself.
A.J.P. Taylor, Observer, A Dutiful Monarch, 1982.

(2) George VI (b.1895 r.1936-1952)

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George VI (b.1895 r.1936-1952)

George was the second son of King George V, and had never expected to be king. He ascended the English throne upon the unexpected abdication of his brother Edward VIII, without any preparation for the role. Despite this, his sense of duty was invincible. This was supported by the influence of his queen, Elizabeth, who swiftly acquired popularity of her own. King George coped with the aftermath of his brother's abdication in a way that quickly restored the nation's confidence and respect in the monarchy.

George became a very popular figurehead for the nation during the dark days of the Second World War. The royal family rose to the occasion and stuck to their posts all through the 'blitz' of London. They showed love and care for their people by visiting civilians injured in the bombing, and George made several morale boosting visits to his troops abroad. His two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret also served their nation in uniform, and the family confined their diet to wartime rations. In September 1940 Buckingham Palace was bombed, and even then the family remained cheerful, saying that at least they could 'now look the East End in the face' - the east of London had been drastically bombed. In short, the royal family identified with the nation presenting a picture of a dutiful family life, with genuine concern for their subjects.

Throughout the war George was aided by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. At first their relationship was cool, but their formal meetings were soon replaced by a weekly lunch at the palace. Churchill entrusted the king with his most guarded political secrets. When, after the war, Churchill was replaced by Clement Attlee, the king was deeply disappointed by the country's rejection of the man who had done so much to secure their victory.

George was involved in the organising of The Festival of Britain, 1951, recognising the need for Britain to move on from the austerity of the war years, and celebrate the herald of a new future. He also held a great respect for tradition, like his father before him, particularly where ceremony and state address were concerned. Before the annual trooping of the colour George would wear his bearskin cap whilst gardening, in order to accustom himself to its weight.


The children can't go without me. I can't leave the King, and of course the King won't go.
- Queen Elizabeth's comment on leaving war-time London, 1941. Advanced Category Search

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