Oscar-tipped The King’s Speech and its links to Hertfordshire

THE King’s Speech is hotly tipped to triumph at the Oscars, which take place tonight (Sunday).

And two stately homes in Hertfordshire will be hoping the film and leading man Colin Firth, add to their haul of BAFTA and Golden Globe gongs already received.

For scenes from the movie were filmed at both Knebworth House and Hatfield House.

The film stars Firth as King George VI or Bertie, a monarch who was plagued by a nervous stammer and was helped out by unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush.

Scenes were shot at both Knebworth and Hatfield over seven weeks at the turn of last year.

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Knebworth’s grand hall was used for a party scene, the drawing room for Queen Mary listening to Bertie’s final speech at Windsor Castle and the basement and halls for several confrontations between Bertie and Lionel.

The house also doubled as a hotel for some members of the cast, who were snowed in during filming.

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“We had a lot of the crew here, and we were helping their minibus up with tractors because of the snow,” said managing director Martha Lytton Cobbold.

“It’s always very busy when these film crews are here, and we were conscious of the tight schedule.

“It was pretty full on, but very exciting. The weather was bitter though and did make it difficult.

“I’ve seen the film and it looks brilliant. It’s always surprising how different it looks.”

Jamie Lengyel, location manager for Momentum Pictures, said: “Knebworth is privately-owned, film friendly and flexible to a film’s ever-changing demands and schedule.

“For Balmoral, we dressed the house, which gave us elements of the baronial castle within good range of our London base.”

The Hatfield House estate, meanwhile, provided a private airstrip for scenes when the Prince of Wales’ (played by Guy Pearce) plane lands and Bertie drives him to Sandringham.

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