About Susan M. Webb
Inspired by the King – and Colin!
Susan M. Webb is a U.S.-based children’s book author, portrait artist, and life-long history buff. In 2011, she watched the movie, “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth as King George VI of Engand. She was instantly captivated by Colin’s touching portrayal of this reluctant king, affectionately known as Bertie.
That movie set Susan on a mission. She started reading biographies about Bertie. Then she researched children’s books about him. But to her utter surprise, there were no such books! It was then that she decided to write a children’s book about this humble and forgotten monarch.
But producing a book proved quite daunting. Eleven years of research, writing, editing, and designing followed. However, in the midst of all this activity, the economy tanked, a pandemic hit, and joblessness soared. How would this book ever see the light of day?
Years followed where the project stalled and floundered. But these low points were followed by bursts of inspiration and activity. Finally, in early 2022, Susan exclaimed (somewhat anxiously), “It’s done!” and pushed “print.” The book was born!
It is her hope that “Bertie: The Best Stuttering King” pays homage to this dedicated public servant, king, father, and husband. It has been a honor to get to know him, if only through the pages of a book and the images on a screen.
And with that, Susan raises her glass (and doffs her fascinator) to the king – and Colin!
Susan resides in Southern California with her curmudeonly calico. She enjoys creating charcoal and graphite portraits, traveling, and reading. Her portraits can be found on Instagram at: portraitartist_5500.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
By pure luck, Susan Webb sailed on a passenger boat in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla in 2012. What a mind-blowing event – or, as Dr. Seuss would say, “Oh, the bugles and bells, banners and bubbly! ” Hundreds of boats filled the Thames from side to side. And the NOISE – cathedral bells chiming throughout the city and thousands upon thousands of cheering onlookers along the riverbanks and bridges!
Yes, the festivities were marked by gnashing wind and sideways-slanting rain at times, but a truly historic day nonetheless and nothing could dampen the spirit of those in attendance!
Susan must have caused the security forces some anxiety when she showed up at Buckingham Palace later that weekend in a – GASP – Glad trash bag (her friend’s idea for a makeshift raincoat) for the iconic balcony wave and RAF flyover. Through a sea of heads, hands, and cameras, she saw Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Charles and Camilla, William and Catherine, Harry, and other members of the royal family. Yes, there were HOURS of standing in crushing crowds for these events, but what glorious memories!
Celebrating the Queen’s Coronation
In 2013, Susan Webb returned to London for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. The highlight was viewing the Queen’s coronation robes and jewels at Buckingham Palace while on a private nighttime tour.
Later that week, she traveled to Windor Castle to view Bertie’s burial site inside St. George’s Chapel. However, upon arrival she was notified that the chapel was closed for a private royal service. Disheartened, she sat on a bench outside the chapel. Moments later, a side door opened, and a docent came outside. She asked Susan if she was there for the family service. Susan replied, “No, I’m here to pay my respects to King George VI” – and was allowed inside!!!
The kind docent took her directly to an alcove where Bertie’s burial marker was placed between the markers for Queen Consort Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Susan said a little prayer of thanks to the king for his service and wished him peace. She will always be grateful to that docent for her kindly assistance.
Do you believe Susan received a letter from Buckingham Palace in 2016 after she sent Queen Elizabeth II a copy of her manuscript? What a thrill to find this letter in her mailbox! The only return address was ERII (Elizabeth Regina II). Can you imagine being so famous you only need two initials as your return address? No need for a name, city, state, zip code, or country. Amazing!
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
In June 2022, another historic event occured – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee! Susan boarded a plane back to England and was once again in the throngs and thrall of a royal jubilee! She had front row (or actually barricade) viewing for the Trooping of the Color event (replete with a little kerfuffle at the start by some protestors!). Princes Charles and William, as well as Princess Royal Anne rode down the Mall in dress uniform on shining steads. Duchesses Camilla and Catherine, Princes George and Louis, and Princess Charlotte waved to the crowds from an open carriage, enjoying the scene. The Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children followed in a separate carriage, equally animated. Next came bands and soldiers and bagpipers. Truly wonderful.
The royals attended the Trooping of the Color event at Horse Guard Parade Grounds, then returned along the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where a sea of people raced down the Mall to view the Queen on the balcony, as well as the RAF flyover (in the formation of the number “70!”). Despite a stage and jumbo screen blocking the actual balcony, it was a truly historic moment for all involved!
Several days later, I returned to the Mall and joined the masses to view the Jubilee Pageant – and what a glorious pageant it was! Bands, bagpipers, buses, acrobats, singers, celebrities, floats, and costumed characters filled the Mall from end to end – for 2.5 hours! The atmosphere was celebratory and electric! And once again we raced down the Mall at the end of the parade to witness the Queen and her immediate family members wave from the balcony! Ed Sheeran sang a stirring rendition of “Perfect” on the stage in front of the Palace to wrap up the activities – and I have to agree – everything was simply perfect!
And the icing on the Jubilee cake? I returned home to find a letter from the Queen waiting for me in my mailbox – this time sent from Windsor Castle! She thanked me for my well wishes, my book, and for sharing my memories of her Diamond Jubilee. Another treasure of a lifetime!