Lionel Logue

A friend was telling me about a story that was told to her by her grandmother. The day of her engagement was also the day that George VI was crowned. There was a large party at the Cafe Royal to celebrate the coronation and her engagement to my friend’s grandfather. A late arrival was Logie (Lionel Logue), as he was known to the group. Her grandmother recalled that he was well liked and known as part of the Australian mafia, who were a group of successful professionals from Australia. My friend’s grandmother went to kiss Logie but he turned his head and presented the other cheek. “Not there”, he said, the Queen has just kissed me there.”

After the film: The King’s Speech, much has been said by speech therapists about what methods Lionel Logue employed to help the Duke of York, later King George VI, with his stammer. He never wrote a book on his methods although he was asked to do so several times. He said “On the matter of Speech Defects, when so much depends on the temperament and individuality, a case can always be produced that can prove you are wrong. That is why I won’t write a book.”

Suzanne Edgar, in Volume 15 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, provides the most detailed account of Logue’s diagnosis and treatment, and the duke’s response.

“The therapist diagnosed poor coordination between larynx and diaphragm, and asked him to spend an hour each day practising rigorous exercises. The duke came to his rooms, stood by an open window and loudly intoned each vowel for fifteen seconds. Logue restored his confidence by relaxing the tension which caused muscle spasms. The duke’s stammer diminished to occasional hesitations. Resonantly and without stuttering, he opened the Australian parliament in Canberra in 1927.

Using tongue twisters, Logue helped the duke rehearse for major speeches and coached him for the formal language of his coronation in 1937. At Westminster Abbey on 12th May, wearing the M.V.O. decoration given to him by King George VI on the previous night, Logue sat in the apse to encourage him during the ceremony. Before the King’s radio broadcast that evening, Logue whispered to him: “Now take it quietly Sir”.

“The ‘slow, measured pace’ which he had afforded the King’s diction proved affecting in His Majesty’s wartime broadcasts and speeches.

Elevated to C.V.O. in 1944, Logue was with the King for the V.E.-Day broadcast on 8 May 1945. Their friendship was ‘the greatest pleasure’ of Logue’s life” (Edgar, 2000).

Please email Caroline Bowen using the following link if you have any stories or information connection with Lionel Logue.

Broadly Speaking

Voice Training & PresentationsI was just talking to an anthropologist who said that in biblical times and places, they had village elders who were experts in dialects and shibboleths. They would know after a couple of sentences whether or not the people or person at the village gate was friend or foe. After all these centuries are Corporates adopting the same practice? Interviews are nerve racking enough without having to worry about being understood when you’re speaking and having to repeat yourself. Relax, it’s all about knowledge and practise – Max Your Voice with F Parkes Associates.

Women and Leadership

Courses for InterpretersI was talking to a female friend last night – an engineer in aeronautics, about the changing face of the female leader in industry. Up until a few years ago many female leaders rose to their positions at the top, fuelled by the energy of the dispossessed. Having to work that much harder than their male peers was the normal way for a woman to get to the top in industry. Government legislation and the success of #female leaders changed that. Now though, with the setbacks in the economies of the west and the quicksand markets, women are once more struggling to maintain their positions on the #Corporate Industry ladder. Indeed many are struggling to get on the ladder at all. Old perceptions of the female in the work place are rising again. It’s timely therefore that Oxford Brookes University is hosting a conference on #Women and Leadership on September 13th and 14th.

The conference is aimed at informing women of leadership opportunities and how they can achieve them. Women in Denmark, Germany and France are much more well informed on work related issues than women in the UK. Perhaps it’s because work related issues are deemed a little too dry and “blue stocking” for the majority of females. It’s a fallacy – I had more gossip with a female client who was a boss with one of the blue chips than with my hairdresser.