George VI, King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 1895-1952

George was the titular head of the British Commonwealth and Empire and during World War II wanted to present himself to the public and the world as a symbol of Britain’s upright resistance against the evil forces of Fascism and Nazism. In May 1940 the question was often raised about transferring the British Government and Monarch to Canada, but George and his Queen, Elizabeth, would not hear of it. They remained in Britain and spent much of their time touring the country. On 13 September 1940 a few minutes after their return to Buckingham Palace, a bomb exploded a mere eighty yards from the King and Queen but they were unharmed. After the bombing raid on Coventry the King visited the city on 16 November 1940. George made a point of having cordial relations with CHURCHILL and the Prime Minister dined at Buckingham Palace once a week. Churchill kept the King informed about the war effort. The King also maintained the morale of the Armed Forces by visits to the Navy and Army: he would have liked to have seen the men go ashore in Normandy and had to be dissuaded. The King overcame his natural shyness and stammer and became very close to the hearts of his people during the war.

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