The Case of the Man Who Lost a Lung But Won a Prize

Albert Lowenfels, MD

Disclosures

March 09, 2011

Summary

Albert Frederick Arthur George, known as "Bertie," the youngest son of King George V and Queen Mary, never expected to become King of England because his older brother, Edward, was the heir-apparent. However, Edward abdicated soon after becoming King of England. "Bertie," his younger brother, being next in line, inherited the throne, ruling as George VI during the critical years of World War II. Unprepared and initially lacking the self confidence required to be a successful monarch, the new King had an additional handicap -- stuttering, which was aggravated by the tension associated with public speaking. With the help of a dedicated speech therapist, the new King overcame his speech problem to become a greatly respected and much loved monarch.

Born at the end of the 19th century, the King belonged to the last generation growing up without knowing that smoking leads to cancer. Most of the Royal Family smoked, and many died of smoking-related diseases. King George VI died from the commonest smoking-related tumor: cancer of the lung. He joins the many millions of people to die from this lethal, largely preventable disease.

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