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3 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections

An Australian Cures Defect

in King's Speech

By Cable from MARY ST. CLAIRE. Our  

Special Correspondent in London.

Behind the King's decade-long struggle to overcome the defect in his voice-a defect apparent only in his public speeches-is a short, greying, unassuming Australian specialist, Lionel Logue, formerly of Adelaide.

A MONTH prior to His Majesty's

Australian tour in 1927, the King, for the first time, drove to Harley Street, climbed two flights of stairs, and placed himself in the hands of Dr. Logue, who, following American experience after his graduation, is making a big name for himself as a voice expert in

London.

After obtaining other medical advice Logue insisted that the impediment in the King's speech was physical, not psychologi- cal, and the fact that His Majesty had a   duodenal operation supported that theory. The nervousness, he believed, had little to do with the matter, so he set out to cure the trouble in a physical way.

The King proved a considerate patient, eager to carry out instructions. He was friendly and informal throughout, and in- stead of summoning Logue to him, always went to Harley Street.

Friendly Calls

HE invariably prefaced the consultation

with an intimate chat, and gradually the visits became almost in the nature of friendly calls.

The King was given elocutionary exer- cises to practise at home, after which he returned to Logue for correction and fur- ther instruction.

Logue studied His Majesty's intonation, delivery, accentuation, and breathing, and supervised his speeches and rehearsed them with him.

The habit of halting between words soon began to break down. The King worked

hard.

At first the words of his speeches were specially chosen to make them easy for him to handle-simple words in simple

sentences.

Then it was found that he did best by throwing words into groups of roughly four syllables, speaking quietly and easily and pausing for a steady, deep breath between each group.

Coronation Broadcast

WHEN His Majesty broadcasts at the Coronation, listen for that delivery. He   will speak somewhat this way:

"Ladies and gentlemen ... I am very pleased ... to be here," and so on.

For a year or two His Majesty struggled hard with the four syllable grouping sys- tem, until it became a habit, and he now allows his words to fall in the easiest and most fluent phrases without forced effort.

It is no longer necessary for him to choose specially worded messages, though he continues to rehearse his speeches which Logue still overlooks.

Strangely enough, the difficulties he ex- periences in speech-making do not occur in his conversation, which is easy and

natural.

Whether at home or in Logue's friendly room in Harley Street, the King practised this method. At first it required a con- scious effort to regulate his breathing. This had the effect of destroying the spon- taneity and naturalness of his speeches, especially when broadcasting, but this was

gradually overcome.

It should be pointed out, however, that neither of the Royal Princesses has a voice defect, though careful attention is paid

       

to their speech. From time to time they have welcomed the opportunity of accompanying their father to Logue's consult- ing rooms; in fact, Princess Margaret Rose was there on his last visit. Logue is a great

favorite of hers.

Presently there will not be any necessity for the King's audiences to become "sympa- thetically nervous," since there will not be any occasion for

it.  

This aside, it is a certainty  

that prior to the next big broadcast the Royal limousine will travel from Buckingham Palace to Harley Street, and the King will jump out and climb the stairs to run over his lines for the last time with the Australian-Second Floor, No. 146-whom he honors with his

friendship.

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