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FINAL Countdown to The King's Speech: The Duke of York

No summary of characters in The King's Speech would be complete without the man whose plight inspired our story, The Duke of York latterly King George VI or, more simply, Bertie.

Many aspects of his life are explored in great detail in the play but there are other interesting facts about him including:

  • When the King paid a State Visit to the United States in 1939, he was the first British monarch to enter the country.

  • Despite being given the opportunity to relocate with his family to Canada at the outbreak of the Second World War, he remained in London at Buckingham Palace which was bombed on nine occasions. The visits made by him and his wife, Queen Elizabeth to severely bombed areas in the East End of London and elsewhere in the country gained him great popularity and were very good for morale.

  • Recognising the total nature of modern warfare, in 1940 the King instituted the George Cross and George Medal, to be awarded for acts of bravery by citizens.

  • Having served in the Navy during the First World War, including fighting at the Battle of Jutland, the King was anxious to visit his troops whenever possible. He went to France in 1939 to inspect the British Expeditionary Force, to North Africa in 1943 after the victory of El Alamein and in June 1944, the King visited his Army on the Normandy beaches 10 days after D-Day, followed later that year by visits to Italy and the Low Countries.

  • In 1947, the King undertook a major tour of South Africa, accompanied by the Queen and their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret - the first time a monarch had undertaken a tour with his family.

  • The strain of the Second World War and the tensions of the post-war period took their toll on the King's health and having failed to recover from a lung operation he died in his sleep on 6 February 1952 at Sandringham aged 56.

  • At the King's funeral, attached to the Government's wreath was a card on which Winston Churchill had written the phrase inscribed on the Victoria Cross - 'For Valour'.

We are delighted that the role of the King will be played by Ed Glass. Ed has become a firm favourite with audiences since making his debut as Charles Hart in Nell Gwynn with further memorable appearances in The Game's Afoot and Hay Fever.

It's show week! The King’s Speech will be at Haslemere Hall at 7:30 pm this Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May. Some tickets are still available by calling the Box Office on 01428 642161 or following the link

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