King George VI and Queen Elizabeth - a peek into the past

In anticipation of the film 'The King's Speech' which features Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter as King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, I felt motivated to post more information on this royal couple from the House of Windsor, a suitable pastime I think for this anglophile!

Here's a look at the British Monarchs starting with Queen Victoria, George VI's great-grandmother:
VICTORIA (reigned 1837-1901)
Married Albert of Saxe-Cobourg in 1840
they had 9 children:Victoria, Albert (later Edward VII), Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold and Beatrice

EDWARD VII (reigned 1901-1910)
Married Alexandra of Denmark in 1863
They had 6 children: Albert , George (later George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud, and John.

GEORGE V (reigned 1910-1936)
Married Mary of Teck in 1893
They had 6 children: Edward (later Edward VIII), Albert (later King George VI), Mary, Henry, George, John
(John is the subject of 'The Lost Prince', a great series!)

EDWARD VIII (reigned 1936)
Married Wallis Simpson in 1937

GEORGE VI (reigned 1936-1952)
Married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923
They had 2 children: Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret

ELIZABETH II (reign 1952- present)
Married Philip Mountbatten in 1947
They have 4 children: Charles (Prince of Wales), Anne, Andrew and Edward

George VI (christened Albert Frederick Arthur George) was born in 1895 and ascended the British throne in 1936, amidst the scandal of the abdication of his brother when Edward VIII chose to give up the throne after less than a year's reign in order to marry the divorced Wallis Simpson. George is the father of the current reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II who was 10 years old when her father stepped into a leadership role he was not expecting. His marriage to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon seems to have been a happy and successful one with her support helping him to fulfill his responsibilities as king.

If you can't wait to see 'The King's Speech, I would recommend that you find a copy of Bertie & Elizabeth, a film that came out in 2002 starring James Wilby as King George and Juliet Aubrey as Elizabeth. (Youtube link)

I remember being confused by the names used in the film. I kept waiting to hear 'George' and 'Edward' (his brother who abdicated the throne) but instead only heard the nicknames Bertie (for George) and David (for Edward) which were the familial names used by those close to them.

From Hello magazine:
Elizabeth met Prince Albert, Duke of York, at a ball hosted by Lord and Lady Farquhar in Grosvenor Square on May 20. The Prince was reported to have said later that he'd fallen in love with her that very evening, though he didn't immediately realise it. "Bertie" was a shy young man with a stammer and a delicate constitution, said to have been caused by a brutal nurse who did not spare the rod when looking after him.

The Prince soon became a regular visitor to Glamis Castle, enchanted by a happy home life and, of course, by Elizabeth. "I have discovered that [Bertie] is very much attracted to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon," Queen Mary told her lady-in-waiting Lady Airlie. "He's always talking about her. She seems a charming girl but I don't know her very well." The Queen's aide replied: "I have known her all her life and could say nothing but good about her." Elizabeth's fate was sealed.

When Bertie proposed in the spring of 1921 - possibly through a third party - she turned him down. However Bertie was not going to give up hope without a fight. His mother was convinced that Elizabeth was "the one girl who could make Bertie happy" and Bertie was, too. In early 1923 the Prince joined Elizabeth at another of the family's homes. Skipping church, the couple took a stroll in the woods. Once again he proposed and this time she accepted. The King and Queen received a telegram containing the pre-arranged message they had been hoping for: "All right. Bertie".

On honeymoon

"Her gaiety conquered his shyness. She gave him confidence.
When he rose to speak, she flashed him a quick smile. It gave him the spur he needed."
- Biographer James Wentworth Day

Duchess Elizabeth with Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth

Bertie and Elizabeth (Duke and Duchess of York)
with daughters Elizabeth and Margaret

Another family picture, Elizabeth and Margaret on right

Left: George declaring war in 1939
Right: with Winston Churchill on VE Day in 1945

Celebrating Silver Wedding Anniversary - 1948

L-R: Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Prince Philip,
King George VI, Princess Elizabeth, Anne

Doting grandparents

Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mary and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1952.
The Queen Mother, was only 51 when she was widowed. She lived to be 101.

Mary, Princess Royal, Prince Charles, Queen Mother, Princess Anne

Queen Mother with great-grandsons William and Harry

"He was my whole life, and one can only be thankful
for the utterly happy years we had together."

>>British Monarchs' Family Tree
>>Films Based on British Monarchy
>>Grandchildren of Queen Victoria

These Canadian stamps bring back fond memories of when I first discovered
who King George was from my own father who is an avid stamp collector!

Credit for pics found : wedding pics, British monarchy images, more British family pics


  1. I'm going to try and track down 'Bertie and Elizabeth.' Thanks so much for all the info!!

  2. can't wait to see this film. Thanks for these images and family tree refreshers in the mean-time!

  3. You're welcome! I'd love to have a weekend marathon just of British royal dramas :)

  4. darby, just found Bertie and Elizabeth on Youtube!

  5. Very excited for this movie! I just watched 'Bertie and Elizabeth' and I have fallen in live with this royal couple. Just like I did with Victoria and Albert. :)

    I love when you post these refreshers/summaries. I love history and I have to say England has a ton of it and I love learning about it! Thank you for posting.

  6. Samantha,
    I know how you feel! I've loved learning about British history and those couples in particular! Glad you got to see Bertie and Elizabeth. Have you seen The Lost Prince? It's another one that I love - about Bertie's brother when they're children.

  7. I was contemplating watching it! haha I probably will now. I just finished watching Aristocrats which was another great series. This blog definitely feeds my period film addiction :)

  8. Queen Victoria was born in 1819 but didn't get to the throne until 1837

  9. Thank you very much for those interesting photos. Do you mind if I point out that William and Harry were the Queen Mother's GREAT grandsons?

  10. JaneDee, thanks for correcting that oversight!



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