If you think it would be fun to be royalty, it might be worth considering the case of the Duke of York who came to the throne on December 11th, 1936 (after his brother decided to abdicate to remain together with the twice-divorced Wallace Simpson). As George VI he reigned during the war years, and fathered Britain’s current monarch Queen Elizabeth II.  He is therefore the great-grandfather of the soon-to-be-married Prince William.

The story of King George VI has been wonderfully portrayed in the recent film “The King’s Speech”, which received four Academy Awards here in 2011. The young George had a terrible stammer, and, required by public duty to make speeches all over the realm, he suffered terribly from the embarrassment and frustration that ensued – as did his audiences. The film is about how he sought the services of a speech therapist called Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), and the charm of the film is in how Logue refused to compromise his integrity as a therapist and insisted on treating the king as an equal.

Though George refused at first to divulge early family history to Lionel, the facts came out bit by bit. He was in fact naturally left-handed, but was forced to start using his right hand, apparently something that is often at the root of stammering. Furthermore, being knock-kneed, he had to wear iron braces on his legs during the day and during the night… you can’t have the future Duke of York walking funny, can you? His nanny, who favored the elder brother (Edward VIII, who abdicated), used to pinch George to make him cry just before the daily “presentation” to the King and Queen, so that they had no desire to see him.

The whole family considered it their duty to ridicule George’s early stammer, thinking that this may have the desired effect of making him stop. There was also another son, John, to whom George was attached, who was unfortunately epileptic and kept out of sight and mind until he died an early death in 1911.

All in all there is sufficient material here to ensure that both you and I would develop a stammer under similar circumstances. It is educational, therefore, to take a look at his horoscope, to see if it hints at the communication difficulties:

Chart for King George VI December 14th, 1895 3.05 UT Sandringham (AS 27.09 LI) From birth certificate.

This is a nice horoscope for a king, with Jupiter in Leo conjoining the MC, and trine Mars in Sagittarius… much more so than Edward VIII, who had a weak 10th house, and with Moon in Pisces trine Sun in Cancer was quite a softie. (Note 1) But the Ascendant ruler Venus is in exile in Scorpio, and the Moon is in fall in the same sign… that cruel nanny perhaps? In fact the Moon conjoining Uranus in Scorpio clearly shows a traumatic upbringing and a dangerously low self-worth.

The speech problems are almost certainly indicated by the combust Mercury in Sagittarius opposing Pluto and Neptune in the 8th house. Mars, though far from Mercury is also drawn in to the opposition to Pluto, and the combination Mars/Mercury/Pluto is typical for traumas connected with communication. These oppositions from the 2nd to the 8th house indicate the many years George spent in speech therapy. As Duke of York, and later king, nobody communicated normally with him. When he got over his initial shock at his treatment as an equal by the irreverent Logue, he grew to form an amazing bond with the man, eventually conferring on him the honor of Commander of the Royal Victorian order. Throughout the long years of the Second World War, Lionel Logue coached the king, standing directly in front of him and coaxing him through the monumental task of stringing sentences together and enunciating words. He became a popular king who inspired the British during the war years.

1. Edward VIII was born on 23rd June 1894 in Richmond and had 1 degree Aquarius rising. His Moon square Pluto/Neptune in the 4th house, indicates the years spent in exile after abdication.

Adrian Ross Duncan