Leader comment: Gaining confidence from the first ‘King’s Speech’

Colin Firth in the film The King's Speech (Picture: Snap Still/REX/Shutterstock)
Colin Firth in the film The King's Speech (Picture: Snap Still/REX/Shutterstock)
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Public speaking can be a daunting prospect for even the most articulate. Few can be totally without nerves when a room falls silent and the crowd awaits your every word. For anyone with a speech impediment, it must be doubly difficult.

The film The King’s Speech tells of how King George VI was able to overcome a severe stammer to address the nation at the start of the Second World War.

But researchers looking through The Scotsman’s files have discovered a forgotten account of a much earlier speech that the then Prince Albert gave in 1934 at the Royal Scottish Geographic Society.

The society’s secretary wrote that those who heard him speak “could form some idea of the tremendous effort called for, facing the microphone, to overcome his tragic difficulty in speech”, expressing the hope that the experience had helped the future king gain confidence.

One can only hope King George’s experience also helps those who lack confidence for whatever reason when called to make a speech.

After all, what matters is the content of the words, not how they are delivered.