Monday, 21 February 2011

Following the success of the King's Speech, can we expect Noel Coward's love affair with the Duke of Kent, set to music?

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I am not sure if I want to see The King's Speech or not. Apparently people call the King Your Majesty which sounds Hollywooden. Very C. Aubrey Smith.

Poor King George VI was so unintelligent as to be almost mentally retarded. Which is absolutely fine. So were many of his subjects. He reviewed a battalion of WRACS just arrived in Sicily, asking the first: When did you arrive in Sicily? and receiving the reply: This afternoon, sir. He then repeated exactly the same question with the remaining 40 receiving the same reply each time. He will be remembered for one remark, made to W.H.Auden at a reception which is immortalised in the Oxford Book of Quotations: Abroad is bloody.

But he was a fine man who truly might like King George III have gloried in the name of Briton and he exemplified two very British characteristics of shyness and philistinism. A better man though much less influential monarch than King George V or King Edward VII too. He smoked 60 a day I think and died as a result of lung cancer. He received a telegram telling him of our present Queen's birth on the golf course and, perfectly reasonably, continued his game. He was as right-wing as Edward VIII but did not thankfully share the latter's insouciance about Fascism. King George VI thought the NHS a bad idea. 'You might as well give people free shoes...'

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