December 31

The Kings Speech: but what about Canberra?


In The King's Speech I enjoyed watching Geoffrey Rush coach Colin Firth as King George VI to speak in public, leading to his triumphant radio broadcast to the British nation after Hitler's attack on Poland in September 1939."

So begins a letter by former diplomat Richard Broinowski  of Paddington NSW published in  The Sydney Morning Herald on 28 December.

Mr Broinowski might not have written the next two sentences if he had first read The King’s Speech by  Mark Logue and Peter Conradi.

Published by Quercus Publishing Plc, the book  draws on important information not available until after the story had been filmed.  Months after the film was completed, a considerable cache of Lionel Logue’s letters to and from The King, manuscripts and press cuttings were found.

“An excellent film,” Mr. Broinowski writes “ – except that it is based on an untruth.”  The film, as we have reported here takes artistic liberties involving the time, all for maximum dramatic effect .

“ Bertie’s stutter was interpreted as incapacitating him from public speaking until set straight by his Australian therapist. But, as Duke of York, Bertie had little difficulty in opening Australia's Parliament House in Canberra on May 14, 1927, a fact witnessed by my grandfather, who was in King's Hall as Usher of the Black Rod.”“The King must have delivered many speeches in between, perhaps not perfectly, but with competence. But why spoil a ripping yarn with a cold dose of fact?

…the facts…

 To which Pamela Davies of Wentworth Falls  NSW replied in a letter published in the Herald on the following day:

"In reply to Richard Broinowski (Letters, December 30), Lionel Logue started coaching the Duke of York in 1926, so he was already under his instruction before the opening of the Australian Parliament in 1927.

"Richard's grandfather was correct to say his speech seemed, while far from perfect, done with apparent ease, all due to Logue's coaching.

"In the interests of an entertaining movie that part was obviously deleted – it was much more interesting to have his first speech at the outbreak of the war rather than in the antipodes."

To which Martin Leonard  from Hughes in the ACT added:“On the contrary, Richard Broinowski, the Duke of York's speech impediment must have been incapacitating if he opened Parliament House on May 14, 1927, given that he began his address five days earlier.”

{youtube}AYFzfRYVrW0{/youtube} the book…

We have reported on this superb film in four columns, the last occasion here. The book The King’s Speech can purchased at a special price – at the time of writing A$15.64. This price is free of taxes and postage and comes at a substantial discount. Just click here




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