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King’s Speech screenwriter inspired by royal’s stutter battle

Seidler was left with a stutter after a traumatic World War Two evacuation from Britain to America and years later when he heard how the King had overcome his own speech problems with the aid of therapist Lionel Logue, it gave him the confidence to tackle his own impediment.

He says, “I was quite a profound stutterer (but) I heard these wonderful, moving speeches (from the King), and had heard that he had been a terrible stutterer. If he could cure himself, it gave me hope.”

But getting permission to write his screenplay from the royal family was far from easy – King George’s wife, the late Queen Elizabeth, told Seidler the memory of the events now chronicled in the new film, starring Colin Firth, were too painful.

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The screenwriter says, “The royal family does not like talking about the royal stutterer. It was swept under the carpet.”

Elizabeth further told Seidler she wouldn’t OK the screenplay in her lifetime. She died 28 years after the writer had first asked for her permission to pen the script in the mid-1970s.

The film is now among the favourites to land an Oscars nomination and leads the 13th annual British Independent Film Awards with eight nominations.

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