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House of Windsor - King George VI

Name: King George VI
Father: George V
Mother: Mary of Teck
Born: December 14, 1895 at Sandringham, Norfolk
Ascended to the throne: Dec 11, 1936 aged 40 years
Crowned: May 12, 1937 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on April 26, 1923
Children: Two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret
Died: February 6, 1952 at Sandringham, Norfolk, aged 56 years, 1 month, and 22 days
Buried at: Windsor

Second son of George V he was named Albert after his grandfather Prince Albert. As The Duke of York he had never expected or wished to succeed to the throne. He was naturally diffident and anxious, and suffered from a speech impediment. But he never lacked bravery or enterprise, and had a strong sense of Duty. He had fought as a young naval officer at the Battle of Jutland in World War I, and was the first member of the Royal Family to learn to fly. In 1923 he married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. They had two daughters Elizabeth, know as ‘Lilibet’ who later became Queen Elizabeth II, and Margaret Rose ‘Princess Margaret’.

He became King George VI in December 1936 following the death of his father George V and the abdication of his brother. Fortified by the influence of his Queen, who swiftly acquired immense popularity in her own right, George VI coped with the aftermath of the abdication in a way that quickly restored confidence in the monarchy.

When the horrors of World War II descended shortly after­wards on Britain, and on London in particular, the royal couple rose superbly to the occasion. Initially sceptical of Winston Churchill, the King and his Prime Minister soon developed a close personal working relationship and they met regularly to discuss the progress of the War. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed at what they and their subjects saw as their posts all through the Blitz, and showed love and care for their people in gestures that stilled the meanest critics. They narrowly escaped death when bombs exploded beside Buckingham Palace. Their daughters served in uniform, and the identification of the Royal Family with the national will was complete.

Following the War Britain entered a time of economic austerity and the British Empire began to be replaced by the Commonwealth of Nations as former colonies including India became independent. The war effort has been crushing and the King’s health was per­manently affected. He had been a heavy smoker and in had his left lung removed. He died suddenly in the winter of 1952.

King George VI's Signature

Timeline for King George VI

1936 George VI accedes to the throne upon the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII
1937 Frank Whittle invents the jet engine
1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signs agreement with Adolf Hitler at Munich in an attempt to stop outbreak of war in Europe
1938 Nazi Germany annexes Austria
1939 Germany invades Poland. Outbreak of World War II.
1940 Retreating British troops evacuated from beaches of Dunkirk as Germans advance.
1940 Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
1940 Battle of Britain fought in the skies over England between the RAF and German Luftwaffe.
1940 German bombers blitz London, Coventry and other major cities
1941 Hitler invades the Soviet Union
1941 America enters the War after Japanese air raid on US fleet at Pearl Harbour.
1942 Fall of Singapore to the Japanese
1942 British victory at El Alamein.
1944 D-Day landings in Normandy as the Allies begin to push the German forces back across Europe.
1944 Battle of Arnhem airborne landings
1945 The defeat of Germany marks the end of World War II in Europe.
1945 Japan surrenders, after US drops atomic bombs on two cities.
1946 Start of the 'Cold War'. Churchill speaks of the 'Iron Curtain' separating Western Europe from the Communist Eastern block
1947 India granted independence. Pakistan declared a separate nation.
1947 Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) marries Philip Mountbatten
1948 National Health Service establishes free medical treatment.
1948 Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
1949 Berlin Airlift relieves the Soviet blockade of Berlin
1950 -1953 Korean War
1951 Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister again.
1952 George VI dies.