|The King's Stamps|
Due to the controversy surrounding the abdication of Edward VIII, popular opinion of the throne was
at its lowest point since the latter half of Victoria's reign. The abdication, however, was soon
overshadowed by continental developments, as Europe inched closer to yet another World War. After
several years of pursuing appeasement policies with Germany, Great Britain and France) declared war
on Germany on September 3, 1939. George, following in his father's footsteps, visited troops,
munitions factories, supply docks and bomb-damaged areas to support the war effort. As the Nazi's
bombed London, the royal family remained at Buckingham Palace; George went so far as to practice
firing his revolver, vowing that he would defend Buckingham to the death. Fortunately, such defense
was never necessary. The actions of the King and Queen during the war years greatly added to the
prestige of the monarchy.
George predicted the hardships following the end of the war as early as 1941. From 1945-50, Great
Britain underwent marked transitions. The Bank of England, as well as most facets of industry,
transportation, energy production and health care, were brought to some degree of public ownership.
The birth pangs of the Welfare State and the change from Empire to multiracial Commonwealth troubled
the high-strung king. The political turmoil and economic hardships of the post-war years left the
king physically and emotionally drained by the time of his death.
In the context of royal history, George VI was one of only five monarchs who succeeded the throne
in the lifetime of his predecessor; Henry IV, Edward IV, Richard III, and William III were the other
four. George, upon his ascension, wrote to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin concerning the state of
the monarchy: "I am new to the job but I hope that time will be allowed to me to make amends for
what has happened"; His brother Edward continued to advise George on matters of the day, but such
advice was a hindrance, as it was contradictory to policies pursued by George's ministers. The slim,
quiet man with tired eyes (as described by Logue) had a troubled reign, but he did much to leave the
monarchy in better condition than he found it.