George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He became known as a symbol of British determination to win the Second World War against Germany.
Known as "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, and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He attended naval college as a teenager, and served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during the First World War. In 1920, he was made Duke of York. He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. In the mid-1920s, he had speech therapy for a stammer, which he never fully overcame.
George's elder brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII upon the death of their father in 1936. However, Edward was forced to choose between the crown and marriage to divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. Edward abdicated to marry Simpson, and George ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.
From 1939, the British Empire and Commonwealth – except Ireland – declared war on Nazi Germany. War with Italy and Japan followed in 1940 and 1941, respectively. The king and his family remained in London during the Blitz and his popularity soared as he shared the hardships of the common people. Britain and its allies were victorious in 1945, but the British Empire declined. Ireland had largely broken away, followed by independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. George relinquished the title of Emperor of India in June 1948 and instead adopted the new title of Head of the Commonwealth. He was beset by smoking-related health problems in the later years of his reign. On his death, he was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II.
Adapted from Wikipedia.