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On this day:

George VI dies

After a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland succumbs to cancer. The second son of King George V, he became king in 1936 after his elder brother, King Edward VIII, voluntarily abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. During World War II, George worked to keep up British morale by visiting bombed areas and touring war zones. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were also lauded for remaining in bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace during the war and shunning the safety of the countryside, and George made a series of important morale-boosting radio broadcasts, for which he overcame a speech impediment. The king's health deteriorated in 1949, but he continued to perform state duties until his death in 1952. He was succeeded by his first-born daughter, who was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.