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Jenny and I joined a theatre full of baby-boomers to take in The King’s Speech, an art movie that is giving the holiday blockbusters a run for their money.

The tension is set when Australian iconoclasm meets the brittle straitjacket of the cultural accoutrement that had built up around the British Crown and ther establishment that kept it well oiled. According to the story as it unfolds, this accoutrement, filtered through early childhood experiences, had a lot to do with the speech defect of Prince Albert, second in line to the throne.

Essentially the narrative is one of transformation as Prince Albert struggles to find his voice, which he cannot do without claiming his own authority. Authenticity, he learns, comes from within, not the structures that are imposed upon him.  Spiritual wisdom across the traditions marks such progress with a change of name. Is it historical necessity (“the requirement of a less Germanic name”) or parable that Prince Albert becomes King George VI at the abdication of his brother, Edward?

As someone who has also had to work on speech defects in order to be a credible public speaker, I found the movie most compelling. The unconventional wisdom of Lionel Logue, the non-credentialed speech therapist, reminded me of various mentors that have helped me along the way.

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