King George VI of England had one primal fear: public speaking.
Lionel Logue is a quirky Australian therapist credited with helping the king overcome his speech impedement.
The book “The King’s Speech” by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi even goes as far as crediting the therapist with saving the country during WWII, subtitling the book “How One Man Saved the British Monarchy”.
Many people will not have heard about the book, but the movie “The King’s Speech”, starring Collin Firth – who just picked up a Golden Globe for Best Actor – is starting to get a lot of traction.
I can’t wait to see the movie but a review I saw picked up some very interesting points about the King’s speaking abilities.
Since everyone knew he had a speech impedement audiences allowed the king to take his time and pause, lending him more gravitas.
At one stage he got so good he stammered only once during an important speech, when he said w-weapons. Logue congratulated him and mentioned the single stammer. The king replied he stuttered on purpose otherwise people listening to the radio wouldn’t believe it was him.
When the king died in 1952 the queen wrote to Lionel Logue: “I know perhaps better than anyone just how much you helped the king, not only with his speech, but through that his whole life and outlook on life.”
Being able to speek well had an enormous impact on the king’s public as well as personal life. I know he’s not alone.