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Posted at 12:30 AM ET, 02/28/2011

How accurate was 'The King's Speech'?

By Autumn Brewington

British actor Colin Firth won an Academy Award for his portrayal of King George VI in "The King's Speech." (AP)

"The King's Speech" cleaned up at the Oscars, garnering statuettes for best film, best directing, best original screenplay and lead actor.

Amid Colin Firth's terrific performance as Bertie, the duke of York -- he picked up Britain's Oscar equivalent, a BAFTA, earlier this month and the movie also won best picture then -- there were hints that the film was not true to life: the many officials littering the palace after the speech at the film's end had not been there; the present-day queen and her younger sister were referred to as Elizabeth and Margaret, not the family names, Lilibet and Margaret Rose, which might have been less clear to viewers.

A good place to sort out fact from film fiction is William Shawcross's "The Queen Mother," the official biography of Queen Elizabeth, as the duchess of York was crowned when her husband, Bertie, succeeded his older brother, David. The letters exchanged between the duke and duchess and other members of the royal family, including the duchess and her father-in-law and brother-in-law, give a sense of what the couple experienced before David decided to give up the throne for Wallis Simpson in 1936.

For those who don't have time for Shawcross's 943 pages (not including notes), The Post's Steve Luxenberg had an article on this "brilliant filmmaking, less-than-brilliant history." The Post had another report this weekend on inaccuracy in Oscar films. And the Guardian had a short interview last month with a historian who advised on the film.

(More Oscar news from The Post:

CELEBRITOLOGY: Full coverage from the red carpet
PHOTO GALLERY: Fashion at the Academy Awards
FULL OSCAR COVERAGE: For stories, photos, chats and more)

By Autumn Brewington  | February 28, 2011; 12:30 AM ET
Categories:  Monarchy  | Tags:  Autumn Brewington  
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