Before he ascended the throne, H.R.H. The Duke of York, Prince Albert dreaded public speaking because he suffered from a severe stammer. His closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925 proved an ordeal for speaker and listeners alike. The experience left the Duke resolved to find a way to manage his stammer, so he engaged Logue in 1926.
Diagnosing poor co-ordination between the Duke’s larynx and thoracic diaphragm, Logue prescribed a daily hour of vocal exercises. Logue’s treatment gave the Duke the confidence to relax and avoid tension-induced muscle spasms. As a result, he suffered only the occasional hesitancy in speech. By 1927, he was speaking confidently and managed his address at the opening of the Old Parliament House in Canberra without stammering.
Logue worked with the Duke through the 1930s and 40s. He used tongue-twisters to help his patient rehearse for major speeches, his coronation, and his radio broadcasts to the British Empire throughout the Second World War. The two men remained friends until the King’s death.
King George VI died on 6 February 1952. On 26 February 1952, Logue wrote to the late king’s consort, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, stating that since 1926 the king:
“ …honoured me, by allowing me to help him with his speech, and no man ever worked as hard as he did, and achieved such a grand result. During all those years you were a tower of strength to him and he has often told me how much he has owed to you, and the excellent result could never have been achieved if it had not been for your help. I have never forgotten your gracious help to me after my own beloved girl [ie. Logue’s wife, Myrtle] passed on.”
The Queen Mother replied two days later:
“ …I think that I know perhaps better than anyone just how much you helped the King, not only with his speech, but through that his whole life and outlook on life. I shall always be deeply grateful to you for all you did for him. He was such a splendid person and I don’t believe that he ever thought of himself at all. I did so hope that he might have been allowed a few years of comparative peace after the many anguished years he has had to battle through so bravely. But it was not to be.