The King’s Speech was written by London Sunday Times journalist Peter Conradi and Mark Logue—grandson of Lionel Logue, whose recently discovered diaries and correspondence contain fascinating details about these true events.
At the urging of his wife, Elizabeth, the Duke of York (known to the royal family as “Bertie”) began to see speech therapist Lionel Logue in a desperate bid to cure his lifelong stammer. Little did the two men know that this unlikely friendship—between a future monarch and a commoner born in Australia—would ultimately save the House of Windsor from collapse. Through intense locution and breathing lessons, the amiable Logue gave the shy young Duke the skills and the confidence to stand and deliver before a crowd. And when his elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry for love, Bertie was able to assume the reins of power as King George VI—just in time to help steer the nation through the dark waters of the Second World War.
The King’s Speech (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks) is NOT how one man saved the British Monarchy. That’s a bit much, if you ask me. However, it is how one man helped the Duke of York, later George VI, overcome his stutter to the extent that he could give speeches with only a little difficulty.
What’s interesting about this book is that it was written after the movie of the same name came out. So having a picture of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush on the cover is a bit mis-leading, although it covers some of the same territory.
Lionel Logue kept journals and letters, and his grandson and a journalist sorted through them and wrote about his relationship with the Duke of York, Bertie, through his ascension as King George VI. What’s also great about the audiobook version of this book is that several of the king’s actual speeches are used in the recording, so one can hear for themselves how he overcame his stutter for the most part.
Because the source material is one man’s recollections of events, the truth may or may not be cloaked in a subjective way. Overall, I found this an interesting story in the overall history of the House of Windsor, if a bit biased in it’s narrative.
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