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Honour. Courage. Example. King George VI, Queen Mother, Teen Elizabeth II... never left Buckingham Palace during wwii air raids


By WcP.Story.Teller - Posted on 17 April 2016


Top: King George VI addresses the nation by radio on 4 Sept 1939, the day after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.
Center: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in rubble after Buckingham Palace bombed, 13 Sept 1940


Top: King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill
Inset: The King's brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent, killed on in 1942 (aged 39) on active service
Bottom: King and Queen with their daughter Princess Elizabeth visit the royal artillery during wwii


Left: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day, 20 Nov 1947; Right: Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and Love and lasting 65-year marriage

By showing personal courage, King George VI and his wife (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) set extraordinary examples, became a symbol of national resistance. The royal family never left London, were sharing the same dangers and deprivations as the rest of the country, and leading his people through the hardships of World War Two (1939-1945).

(quote)
Sept 1939 - war declared on Nazi Germany, King George VI and his wife determined to stay in London, despite German air raids.
07 Sept 1940 - the first German air raid on London killed about one thousand civilians.
13 Sept 1940 - the King and Queen narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace while they were there. In defiance, the Queen famously declared: "I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face".
Aug 1942 - the King's brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed on 25 August (aged 39) on active service.

"The King will never leave" - During the war, many of London's children were evacuated to avoid the frequent aerial bombing. The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth's mother, who declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave."

The royal family was sharing the same dangers and deprivations as the rest of the country. They were subject to rationing restrictions, and U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt remarked on the rationed food served and the limited bathwater that was permitted during a stay at the unheated and boarded-up Palace.

"We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war."
In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities. She stated: "We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well."

A king UK needed in time of war, a symbol of national resistance -
On 4 September 1939, the day after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, King George VI addresses the nation by radio - The King's Speech. George VI, this nervous, sickly, stammering man, forced himself to confront the inevitable, became the king his country needed in time of war, an unlikely symbol of national resistance.

The 1930s, known as "the devil's decade" - Like his fellow Britons, George VI dreaded another war so soon after the slaughter of the trenches. When shy, stammering Albert, Duke of York, succeeded his dissolute brother Edward as King of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Dominions and Emperor of India, just before Christmas 1936, he found himself ruling a country where London's 26,000 busmen went on strike.

The 1930s have often had an appalling press. They were a "low, dishonest decade". The Thirties: An Intimate History, points out, it was indeed a time of shattered dreams. Visiting the valleys of South Wales in the early 1930s, one reporter watched as "groups of ragged men squatted on their haunches, as miners do, and played pitch-and-toss with buttons; they had no half-pennies to venture". For a long time they were known as "the devil's decade".

London's 26,000 busmen wanted shorter hours and better conditions, as well an inquiry into the dangers to their health of the new larger buses, which travelled at a dizzying 30mph instead of just 12mph. The general secretary of their union, future Labour minister Ernest Bevin, conscious of the nation's patriotic mood as the coronation loomed, urged them to think again, but they walked out anyway. With no buses, London's trams were packed to capacity, while the streets were full of illegally parked cars and the railway stations flooded with commuters.

Yet as the big day approached, short-term inconveniences were forgotten. The papers all printed supplements of the processional route; a thousand special trains were arranged to bring sightseers to the capital; overnight, thousands of people slept in parks or on the streets. "I went to a short thanksgiving service and then back, to sit solidly listening to the wireless, which thrillingly described the procession and the service," an Oxford vicar's wife wrote afterwards. "We sat spellbound from 11 till five and gloried in all the pageantry as described and the music and the cheering. It was the most wonderful broadcast we'd ever heard."

After Buckingham Palace was bombed (Sept 1940), George VI’s newsreel appearances were regularly interrupted by applause from the audience, his mundane domesticity a reminder of what Britain was fighting for. Famous lines of King George VI –
"The highest of distinctions is service to others." After V-day, he said, "Let us join in thanking Almighty God that war has ended throughout the world."

The family, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and their daughters, Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, embodied traditional ideas of family and public service. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".

In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War, which lasted until 1945. During the war, many of London's children were evacuated to avoid the frequent aerial bombing. The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth's mother, who declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave."

At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomimes at Christmas in aid of the Queen's Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military garments. In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities. She stated: "We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well."

On Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday, she made the following pledge: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—said she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters. Their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947. The engagement was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born (though a British subject who had served in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links. Marion Crawford wrote, "Some of the King's advisors did not think him good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom."

Ration coupons to buy the material for wedding gown - Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world. Because Britain had not yet completely recovered from the devastation of the war, Elizabeth required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell (Love and lasting 65-year marriage Blue Sapphire wedding anniversary).

Support for the royal family and her personal popularity remain high.

(unquote)

Photo courtesy Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis, Fox Photos / Getty Images, The King's Speech, theroyalfamilyofbritain / Tumblr, Camera Press, royalhistorian.com, John Swannell, and Wikipedia

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