One of the biggest movies of 2010 was a poignant story about a man in desperate need of overcoming a debilitating stutter. The man was the Duke of York, Prince Albert, the second son of King George V, who was unwittingly poised to become the next king of England. The King’s Speech was a huge success, winning Oscars in the Best Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay categories.
The film is centered around the relationship between Prince Albert and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. One of the best scenes comes when Logue bets the Duke a shilling that he can recite Hamlet’s “To Be or Not ot Be” without stammering while listening to The Marriage of Figaro on headphones. The Duke, sure that he did a dreadful job, leaves in a hurried frenzy, but in reality, the future king did a masterful job, the speech free of any stutters.
The video above is the real speech given by King George VI on September 3, 1939 at Buckingham Palace following the declaration of war with Nazi Germany. Happily, it was a success. King George V’s story, and The King’s Speech itself (despite its minor factual inconsistencies), is an excellent source of inspiration for the presenter.
With hard work, steadfast determination, and the help of a great coach, King George VI was able to give a speech that inspired millions in wartime, despite his daunting speech impediment. The next time you find yourself inconsolably nervous before a presentation or speech, take solace in Prince Albert’s encouraging story.
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