Saturday, October 1, 2011

Prince John and Bil

Whenever I watch a movie, my ears always perk up when I hear a story or link to a disabled person.

Tonight, finally, I got around to viewing the move "The Kings Speech".  This award winning movie talked about the speech impediment of Prince Albert, the future King George VI who was the King of Great Britain during World War II.   He was the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II.

What I did not know about George VI (besides the fact that George was not his first name) is a little known historical fact that he had a severely disabled youngest brother, John, who died in 1919 at the age of 13.  John was mentioned briefly in the film.  As the fifth and youngest son of King George V, he would have been 5th in line to the throne.

John did not have autism.  He had severe epilepsy, and died as the result of a seizure.

As was the custom of that day, John was kept out of the public eye, least an epileptic seizure bring shame to the Royal family.

Not too many years ago, that also would have been Bil's fate, even if he had been a member of the British Royal family.   Especially sobering is the fact that many people with autism have problems with seizures (although Bil does not.).  But Bil has never been hidden away.

Times have certainly changed.

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