The King's Speech

Colin Firth will be playing King George VI in a new film called The King’s Speech. Set to open in November, Geoffrey Rush plays royal speech therapist Lionel Logue, while Helena Bonham Carter will play the Queen Mum.
The King’s Speech tells the story of the man who would become King George VI, the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ‘Bertie’ VI (Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.

A handsome and rather shy younger son, George VI came to the throne after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne of England in order to marry Mrs. Simpson. George and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married in 1923 and had two daughters, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. The Queen Consort never forgave Edward VIII for his selfish action in abdicating, thus throwing the responsibility for the country upon her husband, whose health had never been the best. Within three years of his accession, King George VI found himself at the head of a country at war with Nazi Germany. Choosing to stay at Buckingham Palace in London through the worst of the bombing, the King and Queen garnered themselves legion of loyal subjects who praised them for their courage and for their selflessness in helping at air raid shelters and bomb sites and by standing fast through the blitz.

Charles, Prince of Wales, recently hosted a reception at Clarence House, his London home, to celebrate the work of the country’s only national stammering centre, The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in Islington, north London. Speaking about George VI the Prince told his guests ”His stammer cut him off I think in so many ways from his parents and his brothers and sisters and drove him into himself as I suspect so many stammerers will understand. I think above all he experienced that awful fear of feeling different from others.”

The Prince joked with the audience about how the Monarch’s speech problem would be dealt with in the forthcoming film about his grandfather: “My grandfather was fortunate enough to receive speech therapist services which enabled him to overcome the condition.”

The Palin Centre was founded in 1993 and the comic actor and travel presenter agreed to the institution being named after him following his role as a stammering character called Ken in the hit movie A Fish Called Wanda.

You can watch an interview with Mr. Firth about his upcoming role here.

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