George VI, King of the United Kingdom

Biographical information

Full nameAlbert Frederick Arthur George•of Windsor
Used nameGeorge VI, King•of the United Kingdom
Born14 December 1895 in Sandringham, England (GBR)
Died6 February 1952 in Sandringham, England (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Albert, Duke of York and later King George VI opened the 1948 London Olympics. His daughter Queen Elizabeth II carried out the same duty when the Games next came to London in 2012 and Albert’s grandfather Edward VII also opened the Games when they were first held in London in 1908.

When his father (George V) died in 1936 the heir to the throne was Albert’s eldest brother Edward but, as he made it known that he intended marrying the divorced American, Mrs. Wallis Simpson, such a notion was opposed by the British and Commonwealth Governments. Edward was forced to abdicate before he was crowned King and so Albert became Monarch as King George VI. He reigned for just over 15 years. After many years of heavy smoking he succumbed to lung cancer and died in 1952 at the age of 56.

On a sporting front, George VI enjoyed playing tennis and, as the Duke of York, had the honour of playing in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon in 1926 with partner Louis Greig, but they lost their first-round match in three straight sets to the more experienced Roper Barrett and Arthur Wentworth Gore. Greig and the Duke of York had previously won the RAF doubles title in 1920. His Wimbledon appearance would be the last time the Duke played tennis in public. He was also a fine golfer, and in 1930 became captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) at St Andrews, and when he “drove into office”, he was the first R&A captain to drive using a steel-shafted club.

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1948 Summer Olympics Officially opened the Games GBR George VI, King of the United Kingdom

Olympic family relations