Tagged (None yet)

Add Tags

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

3 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections

Chance Meeting

Led To Cure

Of King's Stutter

From Our Staff Correspondent

LONDON, Feb. 10.-But for a man from Perth, Australia, it might never have been possible for the late King to accept the responsibilities of the Crown, says John Gordon, the Editor of the "Sunday Express."

From his earliest boy- hood the King suffered from an acute speech de- fect which made even conversation so intoler- able a burden as to be almost impossible.

When he was a cadet in the first term at Dartmouth, a tutor, not realising the serious- ness of the defect, asked him in class, "What's half of a half?" ,

The word "quarter" was beyond the utterance of the nervous boy.

Sarcastic comments by the tutor on his inability to solve so simple a sum and the titters of the boys around him left a permanent mark upon him.

Nothing could be done to remedy the defect until 1924, when a Perth man, Mr. Lionel Logue, took his family for a holiday in London.

Mr. Logue had achieved remarkable results in curing speech defects among Perth children by a system of diaphragm breathing, and, in 1926, began to practise in Harley Street.

At that time he did not have a single patient, but an Aus- tralian he met in London chanced to run into a Royal equerry who confided that he had to go to the United States to find a speech expert to treat the then Duke of York.

"It's hopeless," the equerry said.

"Nine experts have already seen him and every possible treatment has been tried."

The Australian mentioned Mr. Logue, and the next day the equerry saw him at his Harley Street office.

Two days later, on October 19, 1926 the Duke went to the office-the first patient

ever to enter.

Mr. Logue and the Duke talked for an hour and a half. The conversation was difficult, but at the end Mr. Logue said: "I can cure you."

Seven months later, the Duke, standing alone, made with very little hesitation a speech opening Australia's   Parliament at Canberra.

For an hour every day dur- ing much of those seven

months, the Duke and Mr. Logue literally sweated in closely concentrated work.

As soon as the Duke returned from Canberra work began again.

At public functions Mr. Logue would stand or sit some distance away from him, but near enough for the Duke to draw confidence.

The Duchess would sit by her husband, her eyes never leaving him, and her hand stretching out at difficult times to touch his.

Then came the day when fate lifted the Duke to the Throne.

By then speechmaking had lost most of its terrors,   although words had still to be carefully selected to make it easier for him.

But the Coronation and Ac- cession ceremonies are fixed by tradition, and no altera- tion of words is possible.

Day after day the King and Mr. Logue carried on the task

of breaking down the difficult

into simplicity.

When the King had made the Accession declaration over which many people with nor- mal speech have faltered, he looked towards Mr. Logue, sit- ting some distance away, and clearly said with his eyes: "I

have done it."

"WEAR THIS"

At the Coronation Mr. Logue sat in the Royal box close above the King, wear- ing for the first time the de- coration of the Victorian Or- der, which the King had handed him casually at the end of their rehearsal at the Palace the previous night.

"Wear this to-morrow," the King had said.

He did not falter in his Coronation speech, and it was the proudest triumph of his

life.

In recent years the King broadcast alone. That was full proof that he had com- pleted his cure.

To the end he and Mr. Logue remained on terms of deep friendship.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

Zoom

plus
thumb
minus
left
thumb
right
up
thumb
down