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George VI

George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George), 1895–1952, king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1936–52), second son of George V; successor of his elder brother, Edward VIII. He attended the royal naval colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth and served in World War I. Later he served in the Royal Air Force. He studied at Cambridge for a time after the war, was created duke of York in 1920, and married (1923) Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. They had two daughters: Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret. When Edward VIII abdicated on Dec. 11, 1936, George became king. He and his consort were crowned on May 12, 1937. They made a state visit to France in July, 1938, and an unprecedented royal voyage to Canada and the United States in 1939. During World War II the king worked to keep up British morale by visiting bombed areas, inspecting war plants, and touring theaters of war action. In 1947 the royal family made a state visit and tour of South Africa. A tour of Australia and New Zealand, scheduled for 1949, was postponed indefinitely because of the king's illness at the end of 1948. Like his father, George was held in deep affection by his people. He was succeeded by Elizabeth II.

See biography by S. Bradford (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies


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