The Prince’s Speech
Apologies to anyone who has heard enough about the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, but almost twenty years earlier one of Prince Albert’s first official duties was the opening of Coventry Council House.
The Council House had already been in use for some time but the ornate oak Chamber within was completed only a few days before the Royal visit on 11th June 1920.
Looking at newspaper articles about the opening ceremony there is little mention of Prince’s Albert’s speech impediment as portrayed in The King’s Speech. The Prince was described as being nervous but having “evidently learned the value of speaking clearly and distinctly” (Midland Daily Telegraph 12th June 1920).
It was also reported that the Prince enjoyed his visit to Coventry. His route into the city was lined by cheering schoolchildren and he was presented with a souvenir key to the gates of the Council House. Much was also made of him owning a Coventry manufactured car, most probably a Daimler.
Prince Albert made a later visit to Coventry to open the Technical College in 1935. He went on to reluctantly take the throne on 11th December 1936 and become King George VI following the abdication of his elder brother King Edward VIII.
As King he made a morale boosting visit to Coventry following the November Blitz in 1940.