The Ministry of Supply studied the effects of royal visits and found that, in most cases, production figures dropped on the day of the visit but the weekly production figures invariably rose. The King and Queen took a real interest in the work that people were doing, and this raised morale and gave factory workers a renewed enthusiasm for their work.
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At 6pm on 3 September 1939, King George VI spoke to the peoples of Britain and the Empire. In his famous radio broadcast, he talked of the difficult times ahead and urged his people to stand firm.
The King held the ranks of Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the RAF. He and Queen Elizabeth inspected troops and visited work places, and on these occasions the King always appeared in uniform.
During the Blitz, the King and Queen visited bombed areas to see the damage caused by enemy air raids. On these visits, the Queen took a keen interest in what was being done to help people who had lost their homes. After Buckingham Palace was bombed on 13 September 1940, she said she felt she could 'look the East End in the face'.
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war years at Windsor Castle and, like many other British children, were often apart from their parents. In October 1940, 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth broadcast a message to evacuees on the radio programme Children's Hour, urging them to have courage.
At the age of 19, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. Her younger sister Princess Margaret was a Girl Guide and later joined the Sea Rangers.
At 6pm on VE day, 8 May 1945, the King again broadcast to the nation. During the afternoon and evening, the King and Royal Family made eight appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the crowds gathered below.
King George VI with Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery at his headquarters in Holland, 13 October 1944. Throughout the war, the King maintained close links with all three branches of the armed forces. He met service personnel stationed in Britain and he also visited the battle fronts in North Africa, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland. Where possible, he tried to meet servicemen and women from the Empire and Commonwealth.
In September 1940, King George VI instituted the George Cross to reward those who showed valour and bravery on the home front. The award was the civilian equivalent to the Victoria Cross - Britain's highest military decoration. This particular medal was awarded to Lieutenant Davies in September 1940 for his part in helping to remove an unexploded bomb which fell near St Pauls Cathedral. Lieutenant Davies was only the second person to receive the award.
decorations and awards
Civilian Duty respirator belonging to Queen Mary, mother of King George VI. The Royal Family, like everyone else in Britain, were fitted with gas masks. Every member of the Royal Family was also subject to clothes and food rationing, and the Queen frequently checked that the palace kitchens did not exceed their rations. The King made sure that the baths in Buckingham Palace were marked with a 5-inch line to conserve hot water and fuel.
Princess Elizabeth, as a Second Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), standing in front of an ambulance. Princess Elizabeth joined the ATS in 1945 at the age of 19. Her father, King George VI, had decided that as his heir, the princess should not undertake national service. However, Elizabeth was unhappy with this decision and persuaded her father to change his mind. After joining the ATS, she trained as a driver and mechanic with the rank of Second Subaltern. Five months later she was promoted to Junior Commander, which was the equivalent of Captain.
The Duke of Kent was King George VI's youngest brother. At the start of the war he served with Naval Intelligence, but later transferred to the RAF. The Duke was killed on 25 August 1942 when the flying boat in which he was travelling to Iceland crashed in Scotland. He was buried with full military honours at Windsor.
The Duke of Gloucester inspecting troops of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Camberley, 12 December 1940. After Edward VIII's abdication in 1936, the Duke was appointed Regent - Designate for Princess Elizabeth, who became first in line to the throne after her father King George VI. Despite having retired from the Army in 1937, the Duke of Gloucester rejoined on the outbreak of war and, in 1940, became second-in-command of the 20th Armoured Brigade.
The Queen and Princess Elizabeth talk to a camouflaged sniper during a visit to Airborne Forces, 19 May 1944. Princess Elizabeth carried out her first public engagement in 1943 aged 16. She took on increasing numbers of official duties in her role as heir to the throne and accompanied the King and Queen on many of their tours around the UK. In May 1944, during the preparations for the Normandy landings, she went with her parents to meet airborne troops who would play a key role in the operation.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret joined by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London on VE Day, 1945. On VE day, 8 May 1945, the Royal Family appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the crowds that had gathered below to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. The two Princesses later joined the crowds outside the palace. On 15 August 1945 - VJ day - the King and Queen were driven down the Mall in an open carriage and made six appearances on Buckingham Palace's balcony.
This is one of a series of posters produced by the BBC for distribution outside the UK. Its message is that the BBC has a vital role in uniting English-speaking people in different parts of the world – especially those in occupied countries. It mentions in particular the radio broadcasts by King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The poster also shows Princess Elizabeth making her Children's Hour broadcast on the BBC in October 1940.