May 12th 1937: George VI crowned

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A stamp commemorates the coronation

 

On this day in 1937, the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom was held at Westminster Abbey, London. He became King upon the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII who left the throne in order to marry the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. George never expected to become King, but when the role was thrust upon him became one of Britain’s most loved monarchs. A resurgence of interest in the life of George VI occurred after the release of the Oscar-winning 2010 film ‘The King’s Speech’ which detailed the reluctant King’s struggle with his crippling stutter.

 

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The royal family (Queen Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and King George VI) wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

 

He ruled during the Second World War, and he and his wife Elizabeth were a great morale boost for the nation. However the war was not the only monumental event that took place during the reign of George VI; it was under his rule that the British Empire mostly dissolved, with independence movements in India and Ireland leading to a transition from empire to Commonwealth. George VI died on 6th February 1952 with his oldest daughter Elizabeth becoming Queen – she rules as Queen Elizabeth II to this day.

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