The King’s Speech

I’ve just started some extended leave. What to do? – I have slept a lot and then, compliments of a Christmas gift of movie tickets, went with my bride and friends to see ‘The King’s Speech’.

‘The King’s Speech’ is thought provoking and excellently acted. A triumph of the underdog – two of them in fact: The King and the Australian speech therapist.

See, The King’s Speech official website with film extracts. A good review, here which concludes,

Whatever we may think of the monarchy as an institution for 21st-century Australia, it is this sense of tidal historical forces at work that gives The King’s Speech its resonance, its moral grandeur. More was at stake than one man’s peace of mind or the rival claims of love and duty. The film works as historical drama and as a story of personal salvation. On both counts it succeeds magnificently.

It is inspiring to engage through the very Australian spirit of the speech therapist with King George VI as they labour to overcome the King’s debilitating stutter.

In due course King George VI would bring to the world’s attention Marie Louise Haskins’ poem ‘God Knows’ (popular title is ‘The Gate of the Year’) from her collection ‘The Desert’ (1908) as Great Britain faced its first Christmas at war with Hitler’s Germany. The quote used by King George VI in 1939, 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
The complete poem and the following information is found at The Gate of the Year – From Wikipedia:

“The Gate of the Year” is the popular name given to a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. The title given to it by the author was “God Knows”. She studied and then taught at the London School of Economics in the first half of the twentieth century.

The poem, published in 1908, was part of a collection titled The Desert. It caught the public attention and the popular imagination, when Queen Elizabeth handed a copy to her husband, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire.

The poem was widely acclaimed as inspirational, reaching its first mass audience in the early days of the Second World War. Its words remained a source of comfort to the Queen for the rest of her life, and she had its words engraved on brass plaques and fixed to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the King was interred. Queen Elizabeth was also buried here in 2002, and the words of “The Gate of the Year” were read out at her state funeral.

An inspiring story and a great film.

PS Late news, Geoffrey Rush wins BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.


The King’s Speech — 1 Comment

  1. I will be disappointed if this film does not take out the Best Actor and possibly best supporting actor tonight at the Oscars.
    Many of us would not be aware of King George VI childhood experiences which appeared to influence his speech difficulties from an early age. Very sensitively dealt with in the film.
    Whilst having an injection in the back before my hip operation (a few weeks ago) I was telling the attendant, holding me on the side of the bed, about the film as a must see.
    A truly feel good movie as you leave the cinema. A good one for a group church outing.

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