George VI

King George VI
   George VI, 1895-1952, king of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the seas, was born in Sandringham, Norfolk. The second son of King George V and Queen Mary (who were then Duke and Duchess of York), he received the names of Albert Frederick Arthur George. There seemed to be little probability at that time that he would ever succeed to the throne, as there were three male heirs whose succeeding to the throne came before his. His great-grand-mother, Victoria, was reigning queen; his grandfather, Alfred Edward (later Edward VII) was still the Prince of Wales, who succeeded five years later on the death of Victoria on Jan. 22, 1901; next in line stood his father (George V), who was destined to reign 25 years, from May 6, 1910 until Jan. 20, 1936. Then followed the popular Prince of Wales, as Edward VIII, who was nearly 18 months older than Albert Frederick Arthur George. Edward abdicated after a brief reign of less than 11 months and left the path clear for his younger brother, then Duke of York, who was duly proclaimed king as George VI.
   The new King was trained for the navy at Osborne and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; midshipman, 1913, and served as a sub-lieutenant in the naval battle of Jutland (1916). In 1917 he was attached to the naval branch of the Royal Air Force and became a pilot, serving on the Western Front. In 1920 he was promoted to wing commander. He entered Cambridge University after the war and studied history, civics, and economics. In 1920 he was created Duke of York, and in 1923 was married to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore. A daugh­ter, Elizabeth, was born to them in 1926, who stood in direct line for the succession as reigning queen. A second daughter, Margaret Rose, was born in 1930. In 1927 the Duke and Duchess visited the new Australian capital, Canberra, where he opened the Parliament House.
   Early in 1936 on the death of his father and the accession of his brother to the throne he became heir presumptive. After Edward VIII abdicated on Dec. 11, 1936, he succeeded as George VI; on May 12, 1937, he and his consort Elizabeth were crowned in Westminster Abbey. George VI served as an effective symbol of unity for the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations because of high respect for his personal qualities. To strengthen British friendship abroad, the king and queen paid official visits to France in 1938 and to the United States and Canada in 1939. In 1947 the royal family visited the Union of South Africa. Illness forced the king to cancel public functions temporarily in 1948. A lung operation in 1951 caused the king's projected 1952 Australian visit to be canceled. He resumed his royal duties, but unexpectedly died in his sleep on Feb. 6, 1952. His daughter Elizabeth succeeded him.