May 12, 1937: The date was originally set for the coronation of Edward VIII – George’s elder brother, who had relinquished the throne six months earlier – and the pomp and circumstance of the crowning of George VI represented a return to normal after the abdication crisis. Public sentiment was warm toward the entire Royal Family, particularly the 11-year-old heir-apparent, Princess Elizabeth – now Queen Elizabeth II. Affection was also pronounced for the obviously shy George. What his subjects didn’t know was how anxious he was: A lifelong stutter made the task of oath-taking a frightening prospect. But all went smoothly amid the flowers and finery, and millions listened to the four-hour ceremony on the radio, direct from Westminster Abbey – the first truly global live news event.
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