King of Great Britain, Ireland North and dependencies overseas (1936-1952), and Emperor of India (1936-1947), second son of the King Jorge V (1910-1936) and Queen María, born on December 14, 1895 at Sandringham (Norfolk County) and died on February 6, 1952 in the same locality. Owing to the abdication of his brother Eduardo VIII (1936) was forced to assume the throne that had never thought to occupy, to which had to overcome tremendous shyness and the problems of speech which drew from childhood. Despite preferring to Edward Halifax to replace as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, the monarch left is trapped by the political charms of Winston Churchill. In the moments before the second world war, Jorge VI dealt personally with closer ties of friendship with France, the United States of America and Canada, as well as being a supporter of moderation, dialogue and fellowship with all possible countries, although he/she never abandoned his conservative and strictly Island ideas. His laudable decision to stay in London, together with his family, during the terrible bombing that was the capital by German aviation during the war, infused mood the population to withstand the rigors of the conflict. Just as did his father, he/she made numerous visits to the front. In 1947 he/she renounced the title of Emperor of the India after the recognition of the independence of that country. He/She was a monarch who has managed to gain the sincere affection of all his subjects.
Like his father, the future Jorge VI was not designed to deal with the British Throne by his condition of segundogenito; both received full training of marine and, once crowned, had to deal with major crises and lead his country during two world wars. Finally, father and son had the same character, shared the same tastes and they were fond of the simple life and family that loved his people.
During his youth, when he/she was known as Prince Alberto, he/she received education and developed common activities to members of the Royal family, i.e., a medium education and military training. In 1913 he/she joined as a cadet in the Royal Navy, where he/she attained the rank of Commander, after which it was under the orders of Admiral Beatty at the battle of Jutland during the first world war. Once he/she left the Navy, he/she went on his military training in the newly created Royal Air Force, that same year, go to study at the elite Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1919. Named Duke of York in 1920, supported the creation of the festival Duke of York completo Camp, annual concentration in which met during a weekend public schools (mainly of the working class) students and private schools for fellowship and together acts of solidarity and social assistance, event that was held until 1939. On April 26, 1923, Prince Alberto got married with Angela Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, belongs to one of the oldest families of the Scottish nobility, whose Union would be born two daughters: Princess Isabel (current Queen of Great Britain), and the Princess Margaret (Countess of Snowdon). Elizabeth played a role of extreme importance in the life of the future monarch, especially helping to give you confidence in the most delicate moments of his role as King.
At the end of 1936, Prince Alberto acceded to the British Throne in dramatic and unexpected circumstances as a result of the voluntary abdication of his brother Eduardo VIII (later named Duke of Windsor), when it decided to marry the American Wallis Simpson, twice divorced. The new monarch was solemnly crowned on 12 May 1937, with the name of Jorge VI.
Jorge VI, aware of the limitations that imposed him his shyness that met him to suffer long periods of anxiety and stuttering, overcame all obstacles with determination and sense of duty, and also continued his wife's support and love that never ceased to express his people. But the tension that imposed you duties as monarch contributed to gradually undermine its already on its delicate health, and led him to a premature death.
In 1937 Jorge VI officially visited France to strengthen the Cordial Entente which both countries had formed in 1904 to the territorial and military threat from Germany. With the same purpose, in the spring of 1939 embarked on a lengthy trip to North America where he/she met with the Presidents of the Canada and United States. In the course of its second scale, the British monarch held a solid friendship with democratic US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Just return to your country, when across the European continent were blowing winds of war, Jorge VI decided to make a last effort to avoid conflict publicly supported the "policy of appeasement" by its Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
When the conflict became inevitable, Jorge VI joined as one member of the Government to help cope with the situation, by means of proclamations and daily calls of encouragement through the radio and personally interested by units of fighters and British war facilities and equipment. On many occasions, the King and his family visited the London neighborhoods destroyed by bombing, as it did in the rest of the hardest-hit cities in the country. In order to set an example of austerity and serenity such adversity, the monarch minimized the Buckingham Palace ceremonial and annual budgets that Parliament attached to the Royal household for their maintenance. Honesty went so far apply to the Royal family and other members of Palace standards of rationing of food and other everyday belongings. Jorge VI also encouraged all members of the family Windsor, direct and indirect, men and women, to serve in the British armed forces without any privilege, either in the front, well in the work of relief, as did her daughter and future Queen, Princess Isabel, who worked as a truck driver.
Like his father, Jorge VI said an absolute respect for the constitutional and democratic order. Thus, when in May 1940, the House of Commons forced to resign to Chamberlain for the resounding failure of its "policy of appeasement", Jorge VI had was to resign to accept as Prime Minister Winston Churchill and not to Halifax, as it was his desire. Winston Churchill was appointed head of the Government and Minister of Defense thanks to a coalition between conservatives, Liberals and labour; was the maximum leader and leader of the British people during the entire war, sharing with the monarch the task to give encouragement to the population.
After the war, Jorge VI returned to set an example to the whole country to apply the same restrictions that was submitted throughout the country by the hard economic post-war crisis for the Royal family. In this context, substantial allocation that the Parliament had approved to meet the expenses of the wedding of his eldest daughter and heiress to the throne he/she rejected at his own request in 1947.
When at the end of 1945 the Labour Party, came to power with Clement Attlee as Prime Minister, Jorge VI bowed with discretion to the guidelines of the new Government, always observing the same collaborative and friendly attitude that always kept with his personal friend Winston Churchill. This way of being contributed to the monarchic institution remains to the beat of the social and political developments introduced by the labour party in the nearly six years that remained in power, without that there is divergence between the traditions representing the monarch and the new changes. It was precisely this flexibility that led him to support the line marked by Attlee in foreign policy which aims to launch a process of decolonization which led to the Declaration of independence, in 1947, of the ancient colonies of Burma and India, this in turn broken off into two States sovereign and mutually suspicious: the current India-Pakistan. Jorge VI also supported the British withdrawal from Palestine that made it possible, in 1948, the creation of the new State of Israel. Jorge VI invited the India and Pakistan to remain within the British orbit as full members of the Commonwealth.
Since 1950, the health of Jorge VI began to show obvious signs of damage. What initially seemed to be a relapse without importance, at the beginning of next it manifested itself in a serious cancer that Jorge VI was urgently operated on September 23, in the same Buckingham Palace. In anticipation of the gravity of the matter, four days later Jorge VI appointed a Council of State, which relieved him of most of his duties as King, in which took part, his wife, the real Princess, the Duke of Gloucester and the sister of the King, the Princess Victoria Alejandra María, among others. After suffering several relapses and subsequent operations, the King died on February 6, 1952, to the dismay of all his people, who a month earlier had seen him in one of his few appearances in public apparently revived. His daughter and heir to the throne, Princess Isabel, had to suspend the official visit was undertaken by South Africa to return to London immediately on the same day and be recognized as Queen of Great Britain in the Parliament.
With the death of Jorge VI disappeared the last British monarch sincerely loved and respected by his subjects. His life as King was devoted to the effort to increase the prestige of a monarchy which was not born nor had been suitably prepared, circumstance that not prevented him from developing a more than worthy role in one of the most sensitive for their country, as they were the first two years of the second world war, in which Britain was virtually alone to stop the impressive display of military of the Germany's Adolf Hitler. With exquisite sensitivity and respect due to his people, Jorge VI was founded in the paradigm and the perfect example for all Britons.
GEORGE VI. King George VI to His People. Selected Broadcasts and Speeches. (London: Ed. Murray. 1952).
MIDDLEMANS, a.. The Life and Times of George VI. (London. 1974).
ORMOND, Richard. The House of Windsor. (London: Ed. Her Majesty´s Stationery Office. 1967).