George VI, King of Great Britain, 1895-1952Alternative names
George VI (b. December 14, 1895, Norfolk, England–d. February 6, 1952, Nofolk, England) was King of the United Kingdom from December 11, 1936 until his death.
Known publicly as Albert until his accession, and "Bertie" among his family and close friends, George VI was born in the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria, and was named after his great-grandfather Albert, Prince Consort. As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne. He attended naval college as a teenager, and served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during World War I. In 1920, he was made Duke of York. He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret.
George's elder brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII upon the death of their father in 1936. However, later that year Edward revealed his desire to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin advised Edward that for political and religious reasons he could not marry a divorced woman and remain king. Edward abdicated to marry Simpson, and George ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.
During George's reign, the break-up of the British Empire and its transition into the Commonwealth of Nations accelerated. From 1939, the Empire and Commonwealth was at war with Nazi Germany. War with Italy and Japan followed in 1940 and 1941, respectively. After the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, George remained king of both countries, but relinquished the title of Emperor of India in June 1948. Ireland formally declared itself a republic and left the Commonwealth in 1949, and India became a republic within the Commonwealth the following year. He was beset by health problems in the later years of his reign. He was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth II.
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