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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The King Avoids Putting His Foot In His Mouth

Sunday 19th April 1936


The King attended the annual National Scout service at St. George's Chapel Windsor where he addressed 1,000 scouts from around the country. He reminded them they they might have come across him before in his capacity as Chief Scout of Wales and  urged them to remember the movement's international vocation in later life when they were working when it might help remind them of Britain's place in the world.

It was all good, uncontentious stuff and a colossal relief to anyone in Westminster and Whitehall who remembered two speeches he had delivered the previous year when he was still Prince of Wales to broadly similar audiences. In the space of three days he had told the British Legion that they were the right people to extend the hand of friendship to Germany and the boys of Berkhamstead School, who were overwhelmingly members of the Officer Training Corps, that it was a good idea that they train with lethal weapons given the kind of times in which they were living. The first speech had caused such upset that the Cabinet had approved the King showing the Prince the minutes of the meeting at which they had discussed the embarassment he had caused. For the time being this seemed to have put an end to his enthusiasm for direct intervention in international politics but it had been a dire warning of what he could do if not tightly reined in.

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