English monarch



On June 25th, there was a discussion about an editorial in the Times of India regarding the "Bachelor Prince" of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII. Surprisingly, Baba made some appreciative remarks about him, "He has a good character for a man of his position. He has a past connection with me and will join me."


Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1167

DURING 1936, the King of England, Edward VIII, had abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American suing her husband for divorce. His younger brother, George VI, was being crowned king in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, May 12th, 1937, and the Westerners listened to the coronation ceremony on B.B.C. radio. Baba also listened for some time and remarked, "It's all illusion – bound by time and space." However, at the same time he expressed that he appreciated the king giving up his crown for the sake of love.

They asked if Edward was listening to the broadcast of the coronation and Baba said, "Yes, but he does not feel regret about it."

During the Archbishop of Canterbury's address, Baba commented, "Those in the church all speak of Christ our Lord, but do not follow him."

After the ceremony he explained to the group, "Edward is free now to follow love and to draw toward me. To follow divine love, impersonal or personal, is to come to me."

Remarking on the new King George and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, Baba stated, "At least it is some solace to the people that they both have good hearts."


Lord Meher Volume 6, Page 2180



Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edward VIII

Edward as Prince of Wales, in Ottawa, Ontario Canada, 1919


King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India (more...)
Reign 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936
Predecessor George V
Successor George VI
Prime Ministers
Consort Wallis Warfield (post-abdication)
Full name
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
House House of Windsor
Father George V
Mother Mary of Teck
Born 23 June 1894 (1894-06-23)
White Lodge, Richmond, Surrey, England
Died 28 May 1972 (1972-05-29) (aged 77)
4 Rue du Champ d'Entraînement, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France
Burial 5 June 1972
Frogmore, Berkshire

Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; later The Duke of Windsor; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the British dominions, and Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936.

Before his accession to the throne, Edward held successively the titles of Prince Edward of York, Prince Edward of Cornwall and York, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, and Prince of Wales. As a young man, he served in World War I, undertook several foreign tours on behalf of his father, George V, and was associated with a succession of older, married women.

Only months into his reign, Edward caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept her as queen. Edward knew that the government led by British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have dragged the King into a general election and ruined irreparably his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Rather than give up Mrs. Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate. He was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI. With a reign of 325 days, Edward is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history, and was never crowned. He was the last British monarch to serve his entire reign as the Emperor of India.

After his abdication, he reverted to the style of a son of the Sovereign, The Prince Edward, and was created Duke of Windsor on 8 March 1937. During World War II, he was at first stationed with the British Military Mission to France, but after private accusations that he held pro-Nazi sympathies, was moved to The Bahamas as Governor and Commander-in-Chief. After the war, he was never given another official appointment, and spent the remainder of his life in retirement.




 Early life


Edward VIII was born on 23 June 1894, at White Lodge in Richmond, England.[1] He was the eldest son of The Duke of York (later King George V), and The Duchess of York (formerly Princess Victoria Mary of Teck). His father was the second son of The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and The Princess of Wales (formerly Princess Alexandra of Denmark). His mother was the eldest daughter of The Duke of Teck and The Duchess of Teck (formerly Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge). As a great-grandson of Queen Victoria in the male line, Edward was styled His Highness Prince Edward of York at his birth.

He was baptised Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge on 16 July 1894, by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury.[2] The names were chosen in honour of Edward's late uncle, who was known to his family as "Eddy" or Edward, and his great-grandfather King Christian IX of Denmark. The name Albert was included at the behest of Queen Victoria, and his last four names—George, Andrew, Patrick and David—came from the Patron Saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The Prince was nevertheless, for the rest of his life, known to his family and close friends by his last given name, David.

Edward's parents, The Duke and Duchess of York, were often removed from their children's upbringing, like other upper-class English parents of the day. Edward and his younger siblings were brought up by nannies. One of his early nannies abused Edward by pinching him before he was due to be presented to his parents. His subsequent crying and wailing would lead the Duke and Duchess to send Edward and the nanny away.[3] The nanny was subsequently discharged. His father, though a harsh disciplinarian,[4] was demonstrably affectionate[5] and his mother displayed a frolicksome side with her children that belies her austere public image. She was amused by the children making tadpoles on toast for their French master,[6] and encouraged them to confide in her.[7]




Little David, photographed by his grandmother Queen Alexandra

At first, Edward was tutored at home by Helen Bricka. Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, his parents travelled the British Empire for almost nine months. Young Edward and his siblings stayed in Britain with their grandparents, Queen Alexandra and Edward VII, who showered their grandchildren with affection. On the return of his parents, Edward was placed under the care of two men, Frederick Finch and Henry Hansell, who virtually brought up Edward and his siblings for their remaining nursery years.[8]

Edward was kept under the strict tutorship of Hansell until nearly the age of 13; Hansell had wanted Edward to enter school earlier, but his father disagreed. Edward took the examination to enter Osborne Naval College, and began there in 1907.[9] Following two years at Osborne College, which he did not enjoy, Edward moved on to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. A course of two years followed by entry into the Royal Navy was planned. However, Edward automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay when his father, George V, ascended the throne on 6 May 1910 following the death of Edward VII. Edward was created Prince of Wales a month later on his 16th birthday, on 23 June 1910, and the preparations began in earnest for his future duties as King. He was withdrawn from his naval course before his formal graduation, served as midshipman for three months aboard the battleship Hindustan, then immediately entered Magdalen College, Oxford, for which in the opinion of his biographers, he was underprepared intellectually. He left Oxford after eight terms without any academic credentials.[10]


Prince of Wales


Edward during World War I

Edward was officially invested as Prince of Wales in a special ceremony at Caernarfon Castle on 13 July 1911.[11] For the first time since 1616—and the evidence for that ceremony is thin—the investiture took place in Wales, at the instigation of the Welsh politician David Lloyd George, Constable of the Castle and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal government.[12] Lloyd George invented a rather fanciful ceremony in the style of a Welsh pageant, and coached Edward to speak a few words in Welsh.


 Military career


When the First World War (1914–18) broke out, Edward had reached the minimum age for active service and was keen to participate.[13] He had joined the Grenadier Guards in June 1914, and although Edward was willing to serve on the front lines, Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener refused to allow it, citing the immense harm that would occur if the heir to the throne were captured.[14]

Despite this, Edward witnessed trench warfare firsthand and attempted to visit the front line as often as he could, for which he was awarded the Military Cross in 1916. His role in the war, although limited, led to his great popularity among veterans of the conflict.[15] Edward undertook his first military flight in 1918 and later gained his pilot's licence.[16]


 Royal duties


Throughout the 1920s Edward, as Prince of Wales, represented his father, King George V, at home and abroad on many occasions. He took a particular interest in visiting the poverty stricken areas of the country,[17] and undertook 16 tours to various parts of the Empire between 1919 and 1935, in the process acquiring the Bedingfield ranch, near Pekisko, Canada. In 1924, he donated the Prince of Wales Trophy to the National Hockey League.[18]

His attitudes towards many of the Empire's subjects and various foreign peoples, both during his time as Prince of Wales and later as Duke of Windsor, were little commented upon in their time but have soured his reputation subsequently.[19] He said of Indigenous Australians: "they are the most revolting form of living creatures I've ever seen!! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys."[20]

His rank, travels, good looks, and unmarried status gained him much attention; he soon became the 1920s version of a latter-day movie star. At the height of his popularity, he became the most photographed celebrity of his time and he set men's fashion.[21]




House of Windsor
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg
George V
   Edward VIII
   George VI
   Mary, Princess Royal
   Henry, Duke of Gloucester
   George, Duke of Kent
   Prince John
Edward VIII

Edward's compulsive womanising and other instances of reckless behaviour during the 1920s and 1930s worried Prime Minister Baldwin, King George V, and those close to the prince. Edward's private secretary for eight years during this period, Alan Lascelles, believed that "for some hereditary or physiological reason his normal mental development stopped dead when he reached adolescence".[22] George V was disappointed by Edward's failure to settle down in life and disgusted by his many affairs with married women. The King was reluctant to see Edward inherit the Crown, and was quoted as saying of Edward: "After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in 12 months."[23]

After his younger brother, Albert, married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Edward "constantly and teasingly" referred to his new sister-in-law as "Queen Elizabeth". In 1929, Time Magazine asked if "she did not sometimes wonder how much truth there is in the story that he once said he would renounce his rights upon the death of George V—which would make her nickname come true".[24] Edward grew older and remained unmarried, but his brother and sister-in-law had two children, including Princess Elizabeth. King George V said of his son Albert ("Bertie"), and granddaughter Elizabeth ("Lilibet"): "I pray to God that my eldest son [Edward] will never marry and have children, and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne."[25]

In 1930, the King gave Edward a home, Fort Belvedere, near Sunningdale, England.[26] There, Edward had relationships with a series of married women including half-British, half-American textile heiress Freda Dudley Ward, and Lady Furness (born Thelma Morgan), an American of part-Chilean ancestry, who introduced the Prince to fellow American Wallis Simpson (previously Wallis Spencer; born Bessie Wallis Warfield). Mrs. Simpson had divorced her first husband in 1927 and had subsequently married Ernest Simpson, a half-British, half-American businessman. Mrs. Simpson and the Prince of Wales, it is generally accepted, became lovers while Lady Furness travelled abroad, though Edward adamantly insisted to his father, the King, that he was not intimate with her and that it was not appropriate to describe her as his mistress.[27] Edward's relationship with Mrs. Simpson further weakened his poor relationship with his father. Although the King and Queen met Mrs Simpson at Buckingham Palace in 1935,[28] they later refused to receive her.[29] But Edward had now fallen in love with Wallis and the couple grew ever closer.

Edward's affair with the American divorcée led to such grave concern that the couple were followed by members of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, who examined in secret the nature of their relationship. An undated report detailed a visit by the couple to an antique shop, where the proprietor later noted: "that the lady seemed to have POW [Prince of Wales] completely under her thumb."[30] The prospect of having an American divorcée with a questionable past having such sway over the heir apparent led to anxiety amongst government and establishment figures.




Royal Cypher of Edward VIII

King George V died on 20 January 1936, and Edward ascended the throne as King Edward VIII. The next day, he broke royal protocol by watching the proclamation of his own accession to the throne from a window in the company of the then still-married Mrs. Simpson.[31] Edward VIII became the first monarch of the Commonwealth realms to fly in an aeroplane, when he flew from Sandringham to London for his Accession Council.[32]

Edward caused unease in government circles with actions that were interpreted as interference in political matters. On visiting the depressed coal mining villages in South Wales the King's observation that "something must be done"[32] for the unemployed coal miners was seen as directly critical of the Government, though it has never been clear whether Edward had anything in particular in mind. Government ministers were reluctant to send confidential documents and state papers to Fort Belvedere because it was clear that Edward was paying little attention to them and because of the perceived danger that Mrs. Simpson and other house guests might see them.[33]

Edward's unorthodox approach to his role also extended to the currency which bore his image. He broke with the tradition that on coinage each successive monarch faced in the opposite direction to his or her predecessor. Edward insisted his left side was superior to his right, and that he face left (as his father had done).[34] Only a handful of coins were actually struck before the abdication, and when George VI succeeded he also faced left, to maintain the tradition by suggesting that had any coins been minted featuring Edward's portrait, they would have shown him facing right.[35]

On 16 July 1936 an attempt was made on Edward's life. An Irish malcontent, Jerome Brannigan (otherwise known as George Andrew McMahon), produced a loaded revolver as the King rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace. Police spotted the gun and pounced on him; he was quickly arrested. At Brannigan's trial, he alleged that "a foreign power" had approached him to kill Edward, that he had informed MI5 of the plan, and that he was merely seeing the plan through to help MI5 catch the real culprits. The court rejected the claims and sent him to jail for a year. It is now thought that Brannigan had indeed been in contact with MI5 but the veracity of the remainder of his claims remains open.[36]

In August and September, Edward and Mrs. Simpson cruised the Eastern Mediterranean on the steam yacht Nahlin. By October it was becoming clear that the new King planned to marry Mrs. Simpson, especially when divorce proceedings between Mr. and Mrs. Simpson were brought at Ipswich Crown Court.[37] Preparations for all contingencies were made, including the prospect of the coronation of King Edward and Queen Wallis. Because of the religious implications of any marriage, plans were made to hold a secular coronation ceremony not in the traditional religious location, Westminster Abbey, but in the Banqueting House in Whitehall.[38]




Edward with Mustafa Kemal in Turkey, 4 September 1936

On 16 November 1936, Edward invited Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to Buckingham Palace and expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry. Baldwin informed the King that his subjects would deem the marriage morally unacceptable, largely because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England, and the people would not tolerate Wallis as Queen.[39]

As King, Edward held the role of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the clergy expected him to support the Church's teachings.

Edward proposed an alternative solution of a morganatic marriage, in which Edward would remain King but Wallis would not become Queen. She would enjoy some lesser title instead, and any children they might have would not inherit the throne. This too was rejected by the British Cabinet[40] as well as other Dominion governments,[41] whose views were sought pursuant to the Statute of Westminster 1931, which provided in part that "any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom."[42] The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and South Africa made clear their opposition to the King marrying a divorcée;[43] the Irish premier expressed indifference and detachment, while the Prime Minister of New Zealand, having never even heard of Mrs. Simpson before, vacillated in disbelief.[44] Faced with this opposition, Edward at first responded that there were "not many people in Australia" and their opinion didn't matter.[45]

The King informed Baldwin that he would abdicate if he could not marry Mrs. Simpson. Baldwin then presented Edward with three choices: give up the idea of marriage; marry against his ministers' wishes; or abdicate.[46] It was clear that Edward was not prepared to give up Mrs. Simpson, and he knew that if he married against the advice of his ministers, he would cause the government to resign, prompting a constitutional crisis.[47] He chose to abdicate.[48]

Edward duly signed the instruments[49] of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 December 1936, in the presence of his three surviving brothers, The Duke of York, The Duke of Gloucester and The Duke of Kent (the youngest brother, Prince John, had died in 1919).[50] The next day, the last act of his reign was the royal assent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936. As required by the Statute of Westminster, all the Dominions consented to the King's abdication,[51] though the Irish Free State did not pass the External Relations Act, which included the abdication in its schedule, until 12 December.

On the night of 11 December 1936, Edward, now reverted to the title of Prince Edward, made a broadcast to the nation and the Empire, explaining his decision to abdicate. He famously said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."[52]

After the broadcast, Edward departed the United Kingdom for Austria, though he was unable to join Mrs. Simpson until her divorce became absolute, several months later.[53] His brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as George VI, whose elder daughter, The Princess Elizabeth, became first in the line of succession, as the heiress presumptive.


Duke of Windsor


The Windsors on their wedding day

On 12 December 1936, at his Accession Privy Council, George VI announced he was to make his brother Duke of Windsor, and also re-admit him to the highest degrees of the various British Orders of Knighthood. He wanted this to be the first act of his reign, although the formal documents were not signed until 8 March of the following year. During the interim, Edward was universally known as the Duke of Windsor. The King's decision to create Edward a royal duke ensured that he could neither stand for election to the House of Commons nor speak on political subjects in the House of Lords.[54]

However, letters patent dated 27 May 1937, which re-conferred upon the Duke of Windsor the "title, style, or attribute of Royal Highness", specifically stated that "his wife and descendants, if any, shall not hold said title or attribute". Some British ministers advised that Edward had no need of it being conferred because he had not lost it, and further that Mrs. Simpson would automatically obtain the rank of wife of a prince with the style "Her Royal Highness"; others maintained that he had lost all royal rank and should no longer carry any royal title or style as an abdicated King. On 14 April 1937, Attorney General Sir Donald Somervell submitted to Home Secretary Sir John Simon a memorandum summarising the views of Lord Advocate T. M. Cooper, Parliamentary Counsel Sir Granville Ram and himself, to the effect that:

  1. We incline to the view that on his abdication the Duke of Windsor could not have claimed the right to be described as a Royal Highness. In other words, no reasonable objection could have been taken if the King had decided that his exclusion from the lineal succession excluded him from the right to this title as conferred by the existing Letters Patent.
  2. The question however has to be considered on the basis of the fact that, for reasons which are readily understandable, he with the express approval of His Majesty enjoys this title and has been referred to as a Royal Highness on a formal occasion and in formal documents. In the light of precedent it seems clear that the wife of a Royal Highness enjoys the same title unless some appropriate express step can be and is taken to deprive her of it.
  3. We came to the conclusion that the wife could not claim this right on any legal basis. The right to use this style or title, in our view, is within the prerogative of His Majesty and he has the power to regulate it by Letters Patent generally or in particular circumstances.[55]

The Duke of Windsor married Mrs. Simpson, who had changed her name by deed poll to Wallis Warfield, in a private ceremony on 3 June 1937, at Château de Candé, near Tours, France. When the Church of England refused to sanction the union, a County Durham clergyman, the Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine (Vicar of St Paul's, Darlington), offered to perform the ceremony, and the Duke accepted. The new king, George VI, forbade members of the Royal Family to attend[56]—Edward had particularly wanted his brothers the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent and his second cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten (Earl Mountbatten of Burma after 1947) to be there—and this continued for many years to rankle with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.[57]

The denial of the style "Her Royal Highness" to the Duchess of Windsor caused conflict, as did the financial settlement—the Government declined to include the Duke or the Duchess on the Civil List, and the Duke's allowance was paid personally by the King. But the Duke had compromised his position with the King by concealing the extent of his financial worth when they informally agreed on the amount of the sinecure the King would pay. Edward's wealth had accumulated from the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall paid to him as Prince of Wales and ordinarily at the disposal of an incoming king. The new King and Queen were also forced to pay Edward for Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. These properties were Edward's personal property, inherited from his father, King George V, and thus did not automatically pass to George VI on his accession.[58] Relations between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the Royal Family were strained for decades. Edward became embittered against his mother, writing to her in 1939: "[your last letter][59] destroy[ed] the last vestige of feeling I had left for you ... [and has] made further normal correspondence between us impossible."[60] In the early days of George VI's reign the Duke telephoned daily, importuning for money and urging that the Duchess be granted the style of HRH, until the harassed King ordered that the calls not be put through.[61]

The Duke had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exile in France. However, King George VI (with the support of their mother Queen Mary and his wife Queen Elizabeth) threatened to cut off Edward's allowance if he returned to Britain without an invitation.[58]


 World War II


In October 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited Nazi Germany, against the advice of the British government, and met Adolf Hitler at his Obersalzberg retreat. The visit was much publicised by the German media. During the visit the Duke gave full Nazi salutes.[62] The former Austrian ambassador, Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, who was also a second cousin once removed and friend of George V, believed that Edward favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism, and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany.[63] Edward's experience of "the unending scenes of horror"[64] during World War I led him to support appeasement. Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Nazi Germany and thought that Anglo-German relations could have been improved through Edward if it were not for the abdication. Fellow Nazi Albert Speer quoted Hitler directly: "I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us."[65]


Reviewing a squad of SS with Robert Ley, 1937

The Duke and Duchess settled in France. On the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, they were brought back to Britain by Lord Mountbatten in HMS Kelly, and the Duke, already an honorary Field Marshal, was gazetted a Major-General attached to the British Military Mission in France. In February 1940, the German Minister in The Hague, Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, claimed that the Duke had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium.[66] When Germany invaded the north of France in May 1940, the Windsors fled south, first to Biarritz, then in June to Spain. In July the pair moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where they lived at first in the home of Ricardo de Espírito Santo, a Portuguese banker with both British and German contacts.[67] During the occupation of France, the Duke asked the German forces to place guards at his Paris and Riviera homes: they did so.[68] A "defeatist" interview with the Duke that was widely distributed may have served as the last straw for the British government: Prime Minister Winston Churchill threatened the Duke with a court-martial if he did not return to British soil.[69] In August, a British warship dispatched the pair to the Bahamas, where in the view of Churchill the Duke could do the least damage to the British war effort.

The Duke of Windsor was installed as Governor. He did not enjoy the position, and referred to the islands as "a third-class British colony".[70] The British Foreign Office strenuously objected when the pair planned to tour aboard a yacht belonging to a Swedish magnate, Axel Wenner-Gren, whom American intelligence wrongly believed to be a close friend of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring.[71] However, the Duke was praised for his efforts to combat poverty on the islands, although he was as contemptuous of the Bahamians as he was of most non-white peoples of the Empire. He said of Étienne Dupuch, the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune: "It must be remembered that Dupuch is more than half Negro, and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race, they seem unable to rise to prominence without losing their equilibrium."[19] He was praised, even by Dupuch, for his resolution of civil unrest over low wages in Nassau in 1942, even though he blamed the trouble on communist agitators and draft-dodging Jews.[72] He held the post until the end of World War II in 1945.


The Duke in 1945

Many historians have suggested that Hitler was prepared to reinstate Edward as King in the hope of establishing a fascist Britain.[73] It is widely believed that the Duke (and especially the Duchess) sympathised with fascism before and during World War II, and had to remain in the Bahamas to minimise their opportunities to act on those feelings. In 1940 he said: "In the past 10 years Germany has totally reorganized the order of its society ... Countries which were unwilling to accept such a reorganization of society and its concomitant sacrifices should direct their policies accordingly."[74] Lord Caldecote wrote to Winston Churchill just before the couple were sent to the Bahamas, "[the Duke] is well-known to be pro-Nazi and he may become a centre of intrigue."[75] The latter, but not the former, part of this assessment is corroborated by German operations designed to use the Duke. The Allies became sufficiently disturbed by the German plots that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida in April 1941. Duke Carl Alexander of Württemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) had convinced the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the Duchess had been sleeping with the German ambassador in London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had remained in constant contact with him, and had continued to leak secrets.[76]

Some authors have claimed that Anthony Blunt, an MI5 agent, acting on orders from the British Royal Family, made a successful secret trip to Schloss Friedrichshof in Germany towards the end of the war in order to retrieve sensitive letters between the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazis.[77] What is certain is that George VI sent the Royal Librarian, Owen Morshead, accompanied by Blunt, then working part-time in the Royal library as well as for British intelligence, to Friedrichshof in March 1945 to secure papers relating to the German Empress Victoria, a daughter of Queen Victoria. Part of the castle's archive, including surviving letters between daughter and mother, as well as other valuables were stolen by looters, some of which were only later recovered in Chicago after the war. The papers rescued by Morshead and Blunt, and those returned by the American authorities from Chicago, were deposited in the Royal Archives.[78]

After the war, the Duke admitted in his memoirs that he admired the Germans, but he denied being pro-Nazi. Of Hitler he wrote: "[the] Führer struck me as a somewhat ridiculous figure, with his theatrical posturings and his bombastic pretensions."[79]


Later life


The couple returned to France and spent the remainder of their lives essentially in retirement as the Duke never occupied another official role after his wartime governorship of the Bahamas. The Duke's allowance was supplemented by government favours and illegal currency trading.[32][80][81] The City of Paris provided the Duke with a house at 4 rue du Champ d'Entraînement, on the Neuilly-sur-Seine side of the Bois de Boulogne, for a nominal rent.[82] The French government exempted him from paying income tax,[80][83] and the couple were able to buy goods duty-free through the British embassy and the military commissary.[83] In 1951, the Duke produced a ghost-written memoir, A King's Story, in which he declares his disagreement with liberal politics.[12] The royalties from the book added to their income.[80] Nine years later, he penned a relatively unknown book, A Family Album, chiefly about the fashion and habits of the Royal Family throughout his life, from the time of Queen Victoria through his grandfather and father, and his own tastes.


U.S. President Richard Nixon and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in 1970

The Duke and Duchess effectively took on the role of minor celebrities and were regarded as part of café society for a time in the 1950s and 1960s. They hosted parties and shuttled between Paris and New York; many of those who met the Windsors socially, including Gore Vidal, reported on the vacuity of the Duke's conversation.[84] The couple doted on the pug dogs they kept.[85]

In June 1953, instead of attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London, the Duke and Duchess watched the ceremony on television in Paris. The Duke said that it was contrary to precedent for a Sovereign or former Sovereign to attend any coronation of another. The Duke was paid to write articles on the ceremony for the Sunday Express and Women's Home Companion, as well as a short book, The Crown and the People, 1902–1953.[86]

In 1955, they visited President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House. The couple appeared on Edward R. Murrow's television interview show Person to Person in 1956,[87] and a 50-minute BBC television interview in 1970. That year, they were invited as guests of honour to a dinner at the White House by President Richard Nixon in repayment for their having entertained Nixon in Paris during the mid-1960s when his political fortunes were low.

The Royal Family never fully accepted the Duchess; Queen Mary refused to receive her formally. However, the Duke sometimes met with his mother and brother, King George, and attended George's funeral. Queen Mary maintained her anger with Edward and her indignation over his marriage to Wallis: "To give up all this for that", she said.[88] In 1965, the Duke and Duchess returned to London, England. They were visited by the Queen, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood. A week later, the Princess Royal died, and they attended her memorial service. In 1967, they joined the Royal Family for the centenary of Queen Mary's birth. The last royal ceremony the Duke attended was the funeral of Princess Marina in 1968.[89] He declined an invitation from the Queen to attend the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, replying that Prince Charles would not want his "aged great-uncle" there.[90]

In the 1960s, the Duke's health deteriorated. In December 1964, he was operated on by Michael DeBakey in Houston for an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta, and in February 1965 a detached retina in his left eye was treated by Sir Stewart Duke-Elder. In late 1971 the Duke, who was a smoker from an early age, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent cobalt treatment. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Windsors in 1972 while on a state visit to France; however, only the Duchess appeared with the royal party for a photocall.

On 28 May 1972, the Duke died at his home in Paris, at the age of 77. His body was returned to Britain, lying in state at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The funeral service was held in the chapel on 5 June in the presence of the Queen, the Royal Family, and the Duchess of Windsor, and the coffin was buried in the Royal Burial Ground behind the Royal Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Frogmore. The Duchess stayed at Buckingham Palace during her visit.[91] Until a 1965 agreement with Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke and Duchess had previously planned for a burial in a purchased cemetery plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, where the father of the Duchess was interred.[92]

Frail, and suffering increasingly from senile dementia, the Duchess died 14 years later, and was buried alongside her husband simply as "Wallis, Duchess of Windsor".[93]


 Titles, styles, honours and arms


 Titles and styles


Royal styles of
King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

UK Arms 1837.svg

Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
Royal styles of
The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor

Edward Duke of Windsor Arms.svg

Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1898: His Highness Prince Edward of York
  • 28 May 1898 – 22 January 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of York
  • 22 January 1901 – 9 November 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Cornwall and York
  • 9 November 1901 – 6 May 1910: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Wales
  • 6 May 1910 – 23 June 1910: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall
  • 23 June 1910 – 20 January 1936: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
    • in Scotland: 1910–1936: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Duke of Rothesay
  • 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936: His Majesty The King
    • and, occasionally, outside the United Kingdom, and with regard to India: His Imperial Majesty The King-Emperor
  • 11 December 1936 – 8 March 1937: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward
  • 8 March 1937 – 28 May 1972: His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor
    • Edward began use of the title immediately upon abdication, in accordance with George VI's declaration to his Accession Council that his first act as King would be to grant to his brother the said title. However, several months passed before the concession was formalised by Letters Patent.

His full style as king was His Majesty, Edward the Eighth, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

After his abdication, his full style was His Royal Highness The Prince Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, Duke of Windsor.




British Honours

Edward lost almost all of his British honours upon accession, because he became sovereign of most of them. When he was no longer sovereign, his brother reinstated his pre-accession honours.


Foreign Honours


 Honorary degrees



As Prince of Wales, Edward's arms were the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, differenced with a blank three-point label, with an inescutcheon of the Royal arms of Wales, surmounted by a coronet (identical to those of the current Prince of Wales, Charles, Prince of Wales). As Sovereign, he bore the arms undifferenced, and upon his abdication, he used the arms, again differenced, but this time with the centre point bearing an imperial crown proper.[100]


See also


 Notes and sources

  1. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 1.
  2. ^ His twelve godparents were Queen Victoria, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the King (Prince Adolphus of Teck stood proxy) and Queen of Denmark (The Duchess of Fife stood proxy), the King of Württemberg (The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn stood proxy), the Queen of Greece (Princess Victoria of Wales stood proxy), the Tsarevich of Russia, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Prince Louis of Battenberg stood proxy), the Duke and Duchess of Teck and the Duke of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 7.
  4. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 25–28.
  5. ^ Ziegler, pp. 30–31.
  6. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 38–39.
  7. ^ Ziegler, p. 79.
  8. ^ Parker, John (1988) King of Fools, New York: St. Martin's Press, pp. 12–13, ISBN 0-312-02598-X.
  9. ^ Parker, pp. 13–14.
  10. ^ Parker, pp. 14–16.
  11. ^ Weir, Alison (1996), Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy Revised edition, London: Pimlico, p. 327, ISBN 0-7126-7448-9 .
  12. ^ a b Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 78.
  13. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 106–107 and Ziegler, pp. 48–50.
  14. ^ Roberts, p. 41 and Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 109.
  15. ^ Ziegler, p. 111 and Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 140.
  16. ^ Edward VIII (Jan-Dec 1936), Official website of the British monarchy, http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensoftheUnitedKingdom/TheHouseofWindsor/EdwardVIII.aspx, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  17. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 215.
  18. ^ Prince of Wales Trophy, National Hockey League, http://www.nhl.com/trophies/wales.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  19. ^ a b Ziegler, p. 448.
  20. ^ Godfrey, Rupert (editor) (1998), "11 July 1920", Letters From a Prince: Edward to Mrs. Freda Dudley Ward 1918–1921, Little, Brown & Co, ISBN 0-7515-2590-1 .
  21. ^ Broad, Lewis (1961), The Abdication: Twenty-five Years After. A Re-appraisal, London: Frederick Muller Ltd, pp. 4–5 .
  22. ^ Lascelles, Sir Alan 'Tommy' (20 November 2006), "Prince Charmless: A damning portrait of Edward VIII", Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-417388/Prince-Charmless-A-damning-portrait-Edward-VIII.html, retrieved 29 May 2009 .
  23. ^ Middlemas, Keith; Barnes, John (1969), Baldwin: A Biography, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, p. 976, ISBN 0-297-17859-8 .
  24. ^ "Foreign News: P'incess Is Three". http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,769224,00.html. 
  25. ^ Airlie, Mabell (1962), Thatched with Gold, London: Hutchinson, p. 197 .
  26. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 235.
  27. ^ Ziegler, p. 233.
  28. ^ The Duchess of Windsor, p. 205.
  29. ^ Bradford, p. 142.
  30. ^ Boycott, Owen; Bates, Stephen (30 January 2003), "Car dealer was Wallis Simpson's secret lover", The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,885144,00.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  31. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 265.
  32. ^ a b c Matthew, H. C. G. (September 2004; online edition January 2008), "Edward VIII [later Prince Edward, duke of Windsor (1894–1972)"], Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press), doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31061, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31061, retrieved 7 April 2009  (Subscription required).
  33. ^ Ziegler, pp. 273–274.
  34. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 293–294.
  35. ^ Coinage and bank notes, Official website of the British monarchy, http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/Symbols/Coinageandbanknotes.aspx, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  36. ^ Cook, Andrew (3 January 2003), "The plot thickens", The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,867861,00.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  37. ^ Broad, pp. 56–57.
  38. ^ Antiques Roadshow, BBC One, 14 October 2007. Banqueting House staff discovered plans for the coronation, including a drawing of the decoration of the hall for the coronation, in a box of drawings. The hand-drawn plans are now displayed.
  39. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 330–331.
  40. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 346.
  41. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 354.
  42. ^ Statute of Westminster 1931 c.4, The UK Statute Law Database, http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1081723, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  43. ^ Ziegler, pp. 305–307.
  44. ^ Bradford, p. 187.
  45. ^ Bradford, p. 188.
  46. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, pp. 354–355.
  47. ^ Beaverbrook, Lord; Edited by A. J. P. Taylor (1966), The Abdication of King Edward VIII, London: Hamish Hamilton, p. 57 .
  48. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 387.
  49. ^ There were fifteen separate copies – one for each Dominion, the Irish Free State, India, the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Prime Minister, amongst others.
  50. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 407.
  51. ^ Heard, Andrew (1990), Canadian Independence, Simon Fraser University, Canada, http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/324/Independence.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  52. ^ Edward VIII (PDF), Broadcast after his abdication, 11 December 1936, Official website of the British monarchy, http://www.royal.gov.uk/pdf/edwardviii.pdf, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  53. ^ Ziegler, p. 336.
  54. ^ Clive Wigram's conversation with Sir Claud Schuster, Clerk to the Crown and Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor quoted in Bradford, p. 201.
  55. ^ Attorney General to Home Secretary (14 April 1937) National Archives file HO 144/22945 quoted in Velde, François (6 February 2006) The drafting of the letters patent of 1937. Heraldica, retrieved on 7 April 2009.
  56. ^ Williams, Susan (2003), "The historical significance of the Abdication files", Public Records Office – New Document Releases – Abdication Papers, London (Public Records Office of the United Kingdom), http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2003/january30/significance.htm, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  57. ^ Ziegler, pp. 354–355.
  58. ^ a b Ziegler, pp. 376–378.
  59. ^ She had asked Alec Hardinge to write to the Duke explaining that he could not be invited to his father's memorial.
  60. ^ Ziegler, p. 384.
  61. ^ Ziegler, p. 349.
  62. ^ Donaldson, pp. 331–332.
  63. ^ Papers of Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein (1861–1945) in the State Archives, Vienna, quoted in Rose, Kenneth (1983), King George V, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, p. 391, ISBN 0-297-78245-2 .
  64. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 122.
  65. ^ Speer, Albert (1970), Inside the Third Reich, New York: Macmillan, p. 118 .
  66. ^ Bradford, p. 434.
  67. ^ Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, p. 91.
  68. ^ Roberts, p. 52.
  69. ^ Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, p. 93.
  70. ^ Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, p. 364.
  71. ^ Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, pp. 154–159, 230–233.
  72. ^ Ziegler, pp. 471–472.
  73. ^ Ziegler, p. 392.
  74. ^ Bloch, The Duke of Windsor's War, pp. 79–80.
  75. ^ Ziegler, p. 434.
  76. ^ Evans, Rob; Hencke, David (29 June 2002), "Wallis Simpson, the Nazi minister, the telltale monk and an FBI plot", The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4451107,00.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  77. ^ Higham, Charles (1988), The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life, New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers, pp. 388–389; and Wright, Peter (1987), Spycatcher: The Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer, Toronto: Stoddart Publishers.
  78. ^ Bradford, p. 426.
  79. ^ Duke of Windsor, A King's Story, p. 277.
  80. ^ a b c Roberts, p. 53.
  81. ^ Bradford, p. 442.
  82. ^ Ziegler, pp. 534–535.
  83. ^ a b Bradford, p. 446.
  84. ^ Vidal, Gore (1995), Palimpsest: a memoir, New York: Random House, p. 206, ISBN 0-679-44038-0 .
  85. ^ Farquhar, Michael (2001), A Treasure of Royal Scandals, New York: Penguin Books, p. 48, ISBN 0739420259.
  86. ^ Ziegler, pp. 539–540.
  87. ^ "Peep Show", Time, 8 October 1956, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,824447,00.html, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  88. ^ Bradford, p. 198.
  89. ^ Ziegler, pp. 554–556.
  90. ^ Ziegler, p. 555
  91. ^ Ziegler, pp. 556–557.
  92. ^ Rasmussen, Frederick (29 April 1986), Windsors had a plot at Green Mount, Baltimore: The Baltimore Sun 
  93. ^ Simple funeral rites for Duchess, BBC, 29 April 1986, http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/29/newsid_2500000/2500427.stm, retrieved 7 April 2009 .
  94. ^ Privy Council Office (30 October 2008), Information Resources > Historical Alphabetical List since 1867 of Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada > P, Queen's Printer for Canada, http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/index.asp?lang=eng&page=information&sub=council-conseil&doc=members-membres/hist/P-T-eng.htm#P, retrieved 29 March 2009 
  95. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cokayne, G.E.; Doubleday, H.A.; Howard de Walden, Lord (1940), The Complete Peerage, London: St. Catherine's Press, vol. XIII, pp. 116–117.
  96. ^ London Gazette: no. 32774, p. 8615, 5 December 1922. Retrieved on 2009-06-02.
  97. ^ London Gazette: no. 33640, p. 5428, 2 September 1930. Retrieved on 2009-06-02.
  98. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119, p. 15, 28 December 1934. Retrieved on 7 April 2009.
  99. ^ "University of Alberta Senate > Honorary Degrees > Past Honorary Degree Recipients > W". University of Alberta. http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/senate/honorarydegreeslist.cfm#W. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  100. ^ Flags of the Royal Family, United Kingdom. CRW Flags, Inc., retrieved on 7 April 2009.



Primary sources

  • Edward, Duke of Windsor (1951). A King's Story. London: Cassell and Co.
  • Godfrey, Rupert (editor) (1998). Letters From a Prince: Edward to Mrs Freda Dudley Ward 1918–1921. Little, Brown & Co. ISBN 0-7515-2590-1.
  • Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (1956). The Heart has its Reasons: The Memoirs of the Duchess of Windsor. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Williams, Susan (2003). The historical significance of the Abdication files. Public Records Office – New Document Releases – Abdication Papers, London. Public Records Office of the United Kingdom. Retrieved on 2007-02-13.

 Secondary sources

Further reading

External links


Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 23 June 1894 Died: 28 May 1972
Regnal titles
Preceded by
George V
King of Great Britain, Ireland and
British dominions beyond the seas
Emperor of India

20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936
Succeeded by
George VI
British royalty
Preceded by
George, Prince of Wales
later became King George V
Heir to the Throne
as heir apparent
Succeeded by
Prince Albert, Duke of York
later became King George VI
Preceded by
Prince George, Duke of Cornwall
and York

later became King George V
Prince of Wales
Title next held by
Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Prince George, Duke of Cornwall
and York

later became King George V
Duke of Cornwall
Title next held by
Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Prince George, Duke of Rothesay
later became King George V
Duke of Rothesay
Title next held by
Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Windsor
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Dundas
Governor of the Bahamas
Succeeded by
Sir William Lindsay Murphy
Honorary titles
Title last held by
George, Prince of Wales
Grand Master of the Order of St Michael
and St George

Succeeded by
The Earl of Athlone
New title Grand Master of the Order of the British Empire
Succeeded by
Queen Mary