Lionel Logue

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Lionel George Logue, CVO (26 February 1880 – 12 April 1953) was an Australian speech therapist and actor who is now best remembered for successfully treating the stammer of the Duke of York (Later King George VI). Lionel Logue was largely a self-taught man, although he had a reasonable education (Prince Alfred College, though he did not finish, and the Elder Conservatorium, for music) and a respectable background in elocution and acting.

As portrayed in the film The King’s Speech(2010), Logue and the king became firm friends, and Logue was honoured first with an MVO and later a CVO, an order which specifically recognises service to the monarch.

Interestingly, the important relationship between Logue and the king was noted at the time:

Behind the King's decade-long struggle to overcome the defect in his voice-a defect apparent only in his public speeches-is a short, greying, unassuming Australian specialist, Lionel Logue, formerly of Adelaide.

…it is a certainty that prior to the next big broadcast the Royal limousine will travel from Buckingham Palace to Harley Street, and the King will jump out and climb the stairs to run over his lines for the last time with the Australian-Second Floor, No. 146-whom he honors with his friendship. [1]

But Logue’s invaluable contribution had been all but forgotten until Mark Logue, a grandson, found some of Lionel Logue’s papers. [2]


Lionel Logue was born in Adelaide, South Australia, to an affluent and well-established family. He was one of four sons. Logue’s grandfather, Edward Logue, an Irish immigrant, established the Brewery. Logue’s father, George Edward Logue, held clerical and then administrative positions with the company. George Logue was also a serious amateur actor who founded the Adelaide Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society, which no doubt influenced his son, since he, too, studied elocution and began acting. He later became quite well known in Perth circles and received excellent notices praising his fine voice. A 1902 review in The Advertiser read, ‘Mr Logue looks young, but he possesses a clear, powerful voice and a graceful stage presence. He evidenced in his selections considerable dramatic talent - scarcely mature at present, however - and an artistic appreciation of characters he impersonated and of stories he was telling.'[3]

Logue he studied under and eventually worked for Edward Reeves at the University of Adelaide. Reeves set about to rid Logue of his Australia accent, and it has been suggested that the divergence of spoken British and Australian English at the turn of the 20th Century also helped to foster Logue’s interest in the mechanics of speech.

Family and professional life

Logue marred Myrtle Gruenert and they eventually had three sons. Logue taught at several good schools and continued to act and give recitals. It is not clear why he chose speech therapy as a profession (an impending biography may shed some light on this) but Logue did state in his journal that it was a conscious decision and one that was supported by his wife, Myrtle, who suggested that Logue should glean all the information on the subject he could by travelling to the US and the UK. They did go to the USA, but World War I intervened before they could travel to England.

Logue could not fight in World War I due to his own health issues, but he organised concerts and dramatic performances to support the Red Cross. Following the war, Logue began treating the speech impediments of shell-shocked soldiers. There seems little doubt that Logue developed the techniques that would serve him so well during this period, although, as noted above, he also studied, and he probably continued to hone his skills throughout his practice. The Logues moved to the UK in 1924, ostensibly for a holiday, and Logue set up a speech therapy practice in Harley Street, a prestigious London street still known for its large proportion of medical practitioners today.

Although it was Lionel Logue’s stated intention to return to Australia someday, he never made it back, not even for a vacation, although he kept in touch with relatives and even helped to support his sister, who had fallen on hard times following an acrimonious divorce. Evidently, word-of-mouth and just being good at what he did led to Logue’s success, and it was this success that brought him to the attention of the Duke of York. The film has led to a resurgence of interest both in Lionel Logue and in speech therapy techniques. The headmaster of Prince Alfred College has been quoted as saying that plans are underway to honour Logue [4]


  1. Mary St. Claire, An Australian Cures Defects in King’s Speech. The Australian Women's Weekly, Saturday January 2, 1937. Retrieved at the website of the National Library of Australia, 12-12-11
  2. Documentary short on the DVD of The King’s Speech, 2010
  3. Sanchez, Genevieve (Winter 2011). "DiaLogue with the King". Lumen (45341). Retrieved on 19 October 2013.
  4. Uncovered: Lionel Logue's life in SA, op cit