King George VI - As the Duke of York

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Albert Frederick Arthur George - later known as the Duke of York - was born on the 14th of December, 1895.  His grandmother, Queen Victoria, was still Britain's monarch on the child's birth day. 

The date was usually a sad one for the Queen.  She had lost her husband, Prince Albert, on December 14th, 1861.  On the same date, in 1878, she lost her daughter Alice.  Most people worried how the Queen would react to the birth of a grandson on her annual day of mourning.   

Surprising everyone, the seventy-six-year-old Queen was happy about her grandson's birth.  She wrote the following words in her journal

This terrible anniversary returned for the 34th time ... telegrams from Georgie [the baby's father and Victoria's son] and Sir J Williams, saying that dear May [the baby's mother] had been safely delivered of a son at 3 this morning, Georgie's first feeling was regret that this dear child should be born on such a sad day.  I have a feeling it may be a blessing for the dear little Boy, and may be looked upon as a gift from God!

She was even more pleased when the baby was named after her beloved husband:

I am all impatience to see the new one, born on such a sad day, but rather the more dear to me, especially as he will be called by that dear name which is the byeword for all that is great and good.

Before his life was over, the young Prince would be called by other - unexpected - names: 

  • He never planned to be King. 
  • He never believed he would be King. 
  • Only when his older brother, David, decided to marry a twice-divorced American did a different future fall upon Bertie's shoulders. 

Instead of remaining the Duke of York, Bertie would become George VI, the King of Britain

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image of Prince Albert, as Duke of York.  Vintage photo, online courtesy UK National Archives.

Passage from the diary of Queen Victoria, quoted by William Shawcross in The Queen Mother: The Official Biography.


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"King George VI - As the Duke of York" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 19, 2020.
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