King George VI
- King George VI
- Typescript draft of his speech on the outbreak of World War II
- ink on paper
AN EARLY DRAFT OF "THE KING'S SPEECH". George VI's words, spoken live on the radio on day that war was declared with Germany on 3 September 1939, were a vital boost for morale at a moment of national uncertainty and fear; they were also a personal triumph for George VI himself, who suffered from a severe stammer so found public speaking an enormous strain. The story of this speech and George VI's struggle with his stammer has become familiar to millions through the 2010 film The King's Speech. This intermediate draft of the speech was retained among the papers of Harold Vale Rhodes (1887-1970), a civil servant who played an important role in setting up the Ministry of Information in September 1939. It was drafted on 25 August 1939, two days after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed between Germany and the USSR, making war all but inevitable by paving the way for the invasion of Poland. Rhodes notes that this version of the speech was weakened by the length of its sentences, and although the sentiment and structure of this draft remain in the final version spoken nine days later, the speech spoken by the king is characterised by shorter and less grammatically complex sentences than this draft. A UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOVING PUBLIC SPEECHES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.