King George VI of England

George VI visiting FDR on American tour press photo three months before Britain declared war against Germany

Sizable 16.375” x 11.75” black and white semi-glossy press photographic print of world leaders George VI (1895-1952) and 32nd U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), with typed Associated Press byline caption superimposed along bottom edge. Photographer George Skadding captured a moment between the two world leaders while they stood on the threshold of a Hyde Park, New York Episcopal Church on June 11, 1939. The handsome British monarch looks intently at the aging American president, who is turning his head back with mouth partly open and in mid-speech. Both leaders wear similar striped black ties. A fellow churchgoer in a white hat can be seen exiting the arched doorway of the church behind them. In very good condition, with expected loss to edges and corners and overall wrinkles and superficial marks. A 5” long repaired tear runs from the bottom photo edge up the left lapel of FDR’s jacket, and a 4.25” scuff mark runs from the top photo edge down to George VI’s forehead. The back has been brushed with glue suggesting it was once mounted on another support. A minor tear to the left photo edge stops just short of the monarch’s head.

The caption reads in full:

“Hyde Park, N.Y., June 11 – Said the President to the King – Historically symbolic is this remarkable picture of a serious-faced King George as he listened to the words of President Roosevelt – symbolic of a new modern-day accord between the two great English-speaking nations of the world which brought for the first time to the United States a reigning British monarch and his queen. The King and the President paused for this conversation as they left the St. James Episcopal Church here today. The picture is by Associated Press Staff Photographer George Skadding. (AP Wire Photo) (whb11832Skadding) 1939 (See wire story)”

George VI’s acceptance of FDR’s invitation to the United States was doubly significant, as it was the first time a reigning British monarch had done so, and war in Europe looked inevitable. In the first few days of their June 7-12, 1939 tour, the royals toured Washington, DC, Mount Vernon, and Arlington Cemetery before proceeding to FDR’s home in Hyde Park, New York on June 11th. Life and Time magazine photographer George Skadding, famous for his candid shots of 1940s and 1950s American life (waitresses, barbers, roller derby players, etc.), snapped this shot of the two men leaving church services. Significantly, FDR is photographed standing and not seated in his wheelchair.

The Anglo-American visit had a definite political agenda: to reaffirm an already close relationship between England and the United States before the onset of world-wide war. Both FDR and George VI desired this alliance. Britain would declare war on Germany after that country’s invasion of Poland less than three months later. The United States would provide materiel, but not contribute troops to the war effort, until after December 1941.

A candid photo of two world leaders taken on the brink of war!

Item: 62539

Price: $750.00
King George VI of EnglandKing George VI of EnglandKing George VI of England
King George VI of England
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