The King’s Speech – Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

The King’s Speech – Mark Logue and Peter ConradiThe King's Speech by Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
Published by Quercus Publishing on April 28th 2011
Pages: 242

Lionel Logue was a self-taught and virtually unknown Australian speech therapist. Yet it was this outgoing, amiable man who almost single-handedly turned the nervous, tongue-tied Duke of York into one of Britain's greatest kings after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 over his love for Mrs Simpson.

The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy is the previously untold story of the remarkable relationship between Logue and the haunted future King George VI, written with Logue's grandson and drawing exclusively from his grandfather Lionel's diaries and archive.

This is an astonishing insight into the House of Windsor at the time of its greatest crisis. Never before has there been such a portrait of the British monarchy seen through the eyes of an Australian commoner who was proud to serve, and save, his King.

You might have seen the movie from 2010 with Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush. This is the book and it explains so much that wasn’t in the movie. Seeing it on the screen gave me a better idea of the people themselves, this book gives a really good idea of the work they all went through and how much the people listening to King George understood and applauded his efforts.

A nicely written book. Not only do we see how much work the King put in and how much the Queen helped and supported him but we also got to see Mark Logue. This book shows just how much he loved both the King and Queen and was therefore prepared to lay his life on the line during the bombing in WWII. He also spent a number of years abandoning his family during Christmas to help the King prepare and give his speech. They had a very close relationship, as close as a monarch and commoner can have. Logue sent a book as a birthday present every year and the King sent back a personal thank you in reply.

One of the things this book highlights more than the movie is how dedicated the King was. He was prepared to play second fiddle to his brother. Then, when his brother abdicated for Mrs Simpson he took over. With total dedication. George V had been in the habit of making an annual Christmas speech on the radio. With his speech impediment making any talking challenging George VI was unwilling to continue this tradition but in the end he felt it important for the Empire to hear his voice. The first time he went on radio he was very nervous and it took many years before he became comfortable behind the microphone.

If you’ve watched the movie and read this book, you might want to track down a documentary released in 2011. It’s called The Real King’s Speech and looks to be even better.

Because I do actually recommend it here’s a link to buy the copy with the same cover as mine. Or just find it at the library.