Mackenzie King Gives King George VI the Finger - The Intrepid

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mackenzie King Gives King George VI the Finger

Mackenzie King Doctored Photo King George VI 1939
William Lyon Mackenzie King is often considered to be one Canada’s greatest political minds. King, who trained as a lawyer and worked as a professor before becoming a politician, eventually rose to the office of Prime Minister, where he served for twenty-one non-consecutive years. But like most brilliant individuals, privately, King was off-his-rocker. He frequently held séances in which he communicated with his dead mother, Sir Wilfred Laurier, Leonardo Da Vinci, and later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The latter is almost certainly false though, as privately, FDR didn’t like King.

Although King managed to keep his fascination with the occult secret during his lifetime, many of his decisions were still guided by his ego and eccentricities. Such was the case, when he decided to doctor a photograph, taken in 1939, of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), and himself at Banff National Park in Alberta. In the original photo, the three are enjoying a laugh amid the scenery. Though we doubt George would be amused if he knew that he would later be erased from history.

Mackenzie King Doctored Photo King George VI 1939 OriginalThe original photo of Mackenzie King, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth in Banff, Alberta. (1939)

Mackenzie King Doctored Photo King George VI 1939 Full SizeThe doctored photo of Mackenzie King and Queen Elizabeth. (1939-1940)

By today’s standards, the doctoring job is almost childish. At close inspection, George has clearly been painted over with a tree and some flowers, the shadow where he was standing is still visible, and the brick underneath looks warped. However, it seems that this forgery was good enough to fool the Canadian public, as the doctored photo was used in a campaign poster for the Prime Minister’s reelection bid.

Mackenzie King Doctored Photo King George VI 1939 Close UpThe flowers and tree in this altered photograph are obviously painted on.

Historians aren’t quite sure why King had George removed, but many believe that King wanted to look like he was in charge; as without George, it looks like the Queen is looking up to him.

All photos are from the Library and Archives of Canada.

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