Today In History – May 12

On May 12, 1937, King George VI held his coronation at Westminster Abbey.

King George VI was born on December 14, 1895, in Sandringham, Norfolk, England. He was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was initially not the heir to the throne, as his elder brother, Edward VIII, was the Prince of Wales and expected to inherit the crown. However, Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 caused a constitutional crisis, ultimately leading to George VI’s ascension to the throne.

Edward VIII’s abdication resulted from his desire to marry the American socialite Wallis Simpson, who had already been divorced twice. At that time, the Church of England did not allow divorced people to marry in the church. Edward VIII’s love for Simpson and refusal to give up his relationship with her, despite the opposition of the British government and the Church of England, forced him to abdicate the throne on December 11, 1936, just eleven months after his ascension to the throne.

As Edward VIII did not have any children, his younger brother, George VI, became the King of England. George VI’s coronation took place on May 12, 1937, at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries worldwide, including members of the British royal family, representatives of the Commonwealth, and heads of state. George VI’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, was also crowned, becoming the first ever queen consort to attend her husband’s coronation.

Several challenges, including the Second World War and the gradual decline of the British Empire, marked the reign of King George VI. He was known for his quiet and reserved nature, but his steady leadership during the war years earned him the respect and admiration of his people.

King George VI died in his sleep on February 6, 1952, at Sandringham House. His eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, who was visiting Kenya at the time, became the Queen of England upon his death.

Despite the circumstances surrounding his ascension, King George VI proved to be a capable and respected ruler. His legacy is one of courage and leadership during a time of great uncertainty and turmoil.

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