King George VI's 1939 visit to Washington came three months before Britain and Germany were at war, and the climax of 'The King's Speech' takes place. The visit helped garner American sympathy for its former colonial ruler.
During his state visit to Britain May 24-26, President Obama gave Queen Elizabeth II a leather-bound album of mementos from her parents’ trip to the United States in 1939. The queen seemed to like it, and even stuffy British commentators thought the gesture classy. But little news coverage noted that the 1939 royal tour of America—which occurred 72 years ago this week—was a triumph of public relations and one of the most important diplomatic events in the history of US-British relations. If it were made into a movie, “The King’s Visit” could be just as dramatic and moving as “The King’s Speech.”
It would be the same king in both films, of course – King George VI. The darkening atmosphere would be the same, as the night of World War II was drawing across Europe. But the pivotal character would be Franklin D. Roosevelt instead of speech therapist Lionel Logue. The prime obstacle to be overcome would be, not a stammer, but Americans’ historical memory of the redcoats.