Following upon the spate of movies in recent years about British female royalty (the Elizabeths and Victoria), we now have one about British male royalty, The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as George VI.
It focuses on George VI (the current monarch’s father) and his struggle to overcome stuttering and stammering, especially when he spoke in public.
He became King in late 1936, when his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. He also became the first reigning British monarch to visit the United States—in June 1939—just after a state visit to Canada.
After spending a few days in Washington, DC, the King and Queen traveled with President and Mrs. Roosevelt to Hyde Park, NY, the President’s home (and now the site of his Presidential library), where they had an American-style picnic at FDR’s retreat, Top Cottage.
On the menu were traditional American picnic fare, such as ham and turkey and strawberry shortcake—fit for a King. And FDR, the patrician with the common touch, also served their majesties the great American treat—hot dogs. And, yes, according to news accounts, the royals did indeed down their first-ever hot dogs.
The royals were delighted, and their visit helped cement U.S.-British relations just a few months before World War II began on September 1, 1939.
A complete account of the royal visit is on the web site of the Roosevelt Library.