For most, if not all, fairy tales are an integral part of the fiction we encountered in our youth. The stories about kings and queens, princes and princesses tell us what we think we know about royalty. In the real world, they’re just like the rest of us. Coincidentally, they were born and/or married in a romantic and difficult life. The royal speech gives the audience an idea of this world that few outsiders have seen.
Forbidden King with imperfections
For generations, primacy has determined who will sit on the throne. Put simply, this means that the first-born (or the closest male relative, if only a female, in the manner of Pride and Prejudice or Downton Abbey) is the heir. He will inherit most of the ancestral estate, family title and/or marital status. Younger sons and daughters get a much smaller piece of cake.
In 1936 George VI (known in his family as Bertie and father of the present Queen Elizabeth II) did not expect to become king. He is the second son who leads a relatively quiet life (well, quiet as a royal jug) with his wife and two young daughters. Then his older brother, King Edward VIII, decided to choose love over duty.
According to some pictures of members of a royal family, the presentation is often a representation of far-reaching perfection. Impurities, defects or scars (physical and emotional) are hidden from the public. But behind the crowns, the jewels, the titles and the beautiful clothes, they are just like us. The film uses Bertie’s stuttering and the fear that goes with it to explore this humanity.
For me, his stuttering has shaped his character. I’ve had speech problems since I was a kid. Although adulthood and treatment have helped to minimize my own obstacles, they will be with me for the rest of my life. Being associated with stuttering is a permanent anxiety and low self-esteem. It is easier to live with this subject if it is not known to the general public. It is ten times harder to face these two-headed leaders when it is your job to represent and lead your family and your country.
Minitrock and Freedom from Prejudice
Speaking of pride and prejudice, what attracted me in this film was not only the name Colin Firth, who played the lead role. The icing on the cake was provided by Jennifer Ele (Elizabeth Bennett) and David Bumber (Mr. Collins). After ten years of watching British television and films, I designed the Eagle’s Eye for the carousel of British actors. The question is, where have I seen this man before? I like showing up too often to count them.
But that encounter of pride and prejudice in 1995 was as special as the series. Fert and Ele had an unmistakable alchemy, like Miss Bennett and Mr Darcy. As an admirer of Elizabeth and heir to her father, Bamber was surprisingly hateful and heartbreaking. As fans, we understand that this is just one of the many characters that an actor will play in the course of his career. But there is something about this adjustment that has kept it in the top ten BPD (British Periodic Dramas) lists for the last 25 years.
I mean, this movie is pure Oscar bait. At the 2011 Oscars the film won four awards, one of which went to Firth. It’s one of those victories that is absolutely deserved. His performance was inspiring, heartbreaking and downright perfect. With the support of Elena Bonham Carter as the future Queen Elizabeth and Jeffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, an unconventional speech therapist, Bertie Firth faces a great challenge. On the threshold of the Second World War, he would be the king his country needed, while overcoming personal problems that had existed for decades. It is this journey that not only entertains the audience, but also inspires them to go beyond what is holding them back.
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