George VI Coins
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 1936 until 1952. He was the final Emperor of India and the first Head of Commonwealth. His rule was dominated by the Second World War and the following political challenges that followed. Gold had been withdrawn from circulated coins since the World War I but in 1937 a Gold Proof Sovereign was minted.
Born in 1895 George VI spent much of his early life not expecting to inherit the throne. When his father George V died, his brother, Edward VIII ascended to the throne as expected. Within a year however Edward abdicated in order to marry divorced, American socialite Wallis Simpson. George, a quiet, reserved man with a stammer, was forced to inherit what he himself called a ‘rocking throne.’
Soon after his coronation the outbreak of World War II brought about new political challenges. George’s dedication to his people and military forces earned him the respect and dedication of the British people.
Following the end of WWII, the break-up of the British Empire accelerated. Ireland and India both declared independence in the years after 1945. The stress of the war, aggravated by a heavy smoking habit, resulted in poor health for the final years of the King’s life. He developed lung cancer and had his left lung removed in 1951. George died at Sandringham Palace in 1952 and was succeeded by his daughter, and current British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.