Aging King George III of England is exhibiting signs of madness, a problem little understood in 1788. As the monarch alternates between bouts of confusion and near-violent outbursts of temper, his hapless doctors attempt the ineffectual cures of the day. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger attempt to prevent the king's political enemies, led by the Prince of Wales, from usurping the throne.
His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there.
Did You Know?
Fortnum (Adrian Scarborough), one of the King's footmen, leaves his service in order to start "a grocer's in Piccadilly". Alan Bennett
states in his introduction to the play that he based this character on the historical founder of the London store Fortnum and Mason. Charles Fortnum (1738-1815) was indeed in royal service, but he was a member of the Queen's retinue, not the King's, and the firm had already been founded by 1756 (probably by his father William), five years before he entered her household. Charles combined running the family business with his job as a servant until his death. See more
The red dispatch box in which the Prime Minister carries papers for the monarch to sign dates from Victorian times. The first PM to use it was William Gladstone around 1860. See more
You see that the King did not write his own speech, Mr. Pitt.
The King will do as he's told, Mr. Fox.
Then why not be rid of him? If a few ramshackle colonists in America can send him packing, why can't we?
Featured in The King's Speech
Zadok the Priest
Music by George Frideric Handel
(as G. F. Handel) See more