Determination and Fortitude
If one is a king, can he not just command his problems to go away? Not in the case of Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha…..better known as Bertie, who was King George VI of England. His problem was stuttering.
He began stammering as a child when being abused by his nanny. In later years he became terrified to speak into a microphone or to speak at all when faced with a stressful situation.
After his father’s death and abdication of the throne by his elder brother, Albert,as he was known before taking on the name of King George VI, found himself in 1937 wearing the crown. He was now forced to speak to his people.
( See the movie trailer below that won Colin Fetch, who portrays King George VI, an oscar this year. His speech therapist, who remained his life-long friend is portrayed by Geoffrey Rush. This is certainly a movie worth seeing. )
What does it take to overcome a great difficulty? Mostly we would say determination and fortitude. The ability to not give up when everything in one’s being screams…”I can’t do this!”
King George was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria. He was in the Royal Navy during WWI and married Elizabeth Bowles-Lyon, better known later as the “Queen Mum”. His life was short-lived as he died of lung cancer at the age of 56 due to heavy smoking. Even science was incorrect during this time when doctors encouraged him to smoke, thinking that it would relax the vocal chords. In the end, it was actually the smoking what killed him in 1952. He died of a heart attack while having a lung operation.
During his reign as king, he and his wife were greatly loved by the people and were praised for their staunch resolve and morale-boosting visits to factories and sites that were bombed during WWII. As some would have done in the dangers of war, they never fled the country. They chose to stay with their people. Winston Churchill was his prime-minister at the time, dealing with the war and Nazi Germany.
After visiting the people of Canada , he came to the United States, being the first reigning British sovereign to enter this country. His two children were daughters. At his death, Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, became Queen at the age of 27.
Fortitude was not only a part of King George’s life, but it also has been in the character of the women within this monarchy. The Queen Mum lived to be 102 and Elizabeth has celebrated her 50th year as Queen of England.