Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

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Edward VIII
King of the United Kingdom and her dominions
beyond the Seas; King of Ireland; Emperor of India
Image:Edward-viii-sm.jpg
Photographic Portrait
Reign 20 January 1936 - 11 December 1936
Predecessor George V
Successor George VI
Spouse Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (married after Edward's abdication)
Full name
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor
Titles
HRH The Duke of Windsor
HM The King
HRH The Prince of Wales
HRH The Duke of Cornwall
HRH Prince Edward of Wales
HRH Prince Edward of Cornwall
HRH Prince Edward of York
HH Prince Edward of York
Royal House House of Windsor
Royal anthem God Save the King
Father George V
Mother Mary of Teck
Born 4 April 1894
White Lodge, Richmond
Baptised 16 July 1894
White Lodge, Richmond
Died 28 May 1972
Paris, France
Burial 5 June 1972
Frogmore Estate, Berkshire
Occupation Military

Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor; later The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor; 23 June 189428 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King of Ireland, and Emperor of India from the death of his father, George V (1910–36), on 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936. He was the second British monarch of the House of Windsor, his father having changed the name of the Royal house from the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917.

Prior to his accession to the throne, Edward VIII held the titles of Prince Edward of York, Prince Edward of York and Cornwall, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, and Prince of Wales (all with the style Royal Highness). 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 (1939–45) he was the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Bahamas.

Edward VIII is the only British monarch to have voluntarily relinquished the throne. He signed the instrument of abdication on 10 December 1936. The British Parliament passed His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 the next day and, on its receiving Royal Assent from Edward VIII, he legally ceased to be King in all but one of his realms. His abdication as King of Ireland occurred one day later. After Lady Jane Grey and Edward V, he is the third shortest-reigning monarch in British history, and like them, he too was never crowned.

Contents

[edit] Early life

Image:Edward VIII boy.jpg
Edward of Wales Little David, photographed by his grandmother Queen Alexandra

Edward VIII was born on 23 June 1894 at White Lodge, Richmond, Surrey.

He was the eldest son of The Duke of York (later King George V), who was the second son of The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII, who ruled 1901–10) and The Princess of Wales (formerly Princess Alexandra of Denmark). Edward VIII's mother, The Duchess of York (formerly Princess Victoria Mary of Teck), was the eldest daughter of The Duke of Teck and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. As a great grandson of Queen Victoria in the male line, Edward VIII was styled His Highness Prince Edward of York at his birth. He was baptised in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge on 16 July 1894 by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury and his twelve godparents were Queen Victoria (1837–1901), the Prince and Princess of Wales, the King and Queen of Denmark, the King of Württemberg, the Queen of Greece, the Tsarevitch of Russia, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Duke and Duchess of Teck and the Duke of Cambridge.

Edward VIII was named after his deceased uncle, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, who had always been known as Eddy. 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.

His paternal grandfather, future King Edward VII, was still the Prince of Wales at the time of his birth. His father's elder brother, The Duke of Clarence and Avondale, was engaged to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck when he died, reportedly of pneumonia, on 14 January 1892. After a decent interval the Duke's younger brother married Princess Victoria Mary.

Edward VIII's parents, The Duke and Duchess of York, were often removed from their children's upbringing, in common with other upper class English parents of the day. Edward VIII and his younger brother Albert received considerable abuse at the hands of the royal nanny. The nanny would pinch and scratch Edward 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. On the other hand, the King, though a harsh disciplinarian, was demonstrably affectionate and Queen Mary displayed a frolicksome side when dealing with her children that belies her austere public image, having been greatly amused by the children making tadpole sandwiches for their French master (Ziegler:7, 9; Bradford:22), and encouraged them to confide matters in her which it would have provoked the King to know (Ziegler:79).

Four younger siblings of Edward VIII and Albert: Mary (1897–1965), Henry (1900–74), George (1902–42) and John (1905–19).

[edit] Prince of Wales

British Royalty
House of Windsor
Image:Royal Standard of England.svg
George V
   Edward VIII
   George VI
   Mary, Princess Royal
   Henry, Duke of Gloucester
   George, Duke of Kent
   Prince John
Edward VIII

He automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland when his father, George V, ascended the throne on 6 May 1910. The new King created him Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 2 June 1910 and officially invested him as such in a special ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in 1911. For the first time since the Middle Ages this investiture took place in Wales; it occurred at the instigation of the Welsh politician David Lloyd George, who at that time held the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal government.

[edit] Military career

Image:Edward V111 circa1915.jpg
Edward during World War I

When the First World War (1914–18) broke out Edward had reached the minimum age for active service and expressed keenness to participate. He was allowed to join the army, serving with the Grenadier Guards, and although Edward was willing to serve on the front lines, the British government refused to allow it, citing the immense harm that the capture of the heir to the throne would cause.

Despite this, Edward witnessed trench warfare at firsthand and attempted to visit the front line as often as he could, leading to his award of the Military Cross in 1916. His role in the war, although limited, led to his great popularity among veterans of the conflict. As of 1911 he was also a Midshipman in the Royal Navy, making Lieutenant in 1913. He eventually became Admiral of the Fleet in the Navy, Field Marshal in the Army, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the Air Force.

[edit] Royal duties

Image:PrinceOfWalesCanoeing.jpg
HRH The Prince of Wales canoeing in Canada, 1919

Throughout the 1920s the 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. After the Great Depression he visited many deprived areas of the UK and signed up 200,000 people to his back-to-work scheme. Abroad, the Prince of Wales toured the Empire, undertaking 13 tours between 1919 and 1935, and in the process acquiring a ranch in Alberta.

His unedifying and often deeply racist comments on the Empire's subjects and various foreign peoples both during his career as Prince of Wales and later as Duke of Windsor, particularly in Africa and India but also in Canada, the West Indies, Mexico and Australia (see "Quotations," below) were little commented upon at the time but biographers severely taxed his reputation with them in later years.

He soon became the 1920s version of a latter-day movie star, widely adored and emulated.[citation needed] An enduring, albeit trivial, legacy is the fashion item of the Windsor knot, named for him after his fondness for large-knotted ties. (The Prince of Wales's profound effect on his public — possibly easy to dismiss as trivial and transient frivolity many years later, particularly many years after the fiasco of the abdication crisis and the long years of idleness that followed — is given extensive literary treatment in Robertson Davies's Deptford Trilogy.)

[edit] Romances

In 1928, King George V gave Edward a home, Fort Belvedere, near Sunningdale in Berkshire. There Edward conducted relationships with a series of married women including Anglo-American textile heiress Freda Dudley Ward, American film actress Mildred Harris and Lady Furness (born Thelma Morgan) an American woman of part-Chilean ancestry, who introduced the Prince to fellow American Wallis Simpson. Simpson had divorced her first husband in 1927 and subsequently married Ernest Simpson, an Anglo-American businessman. Mrs. Simpson and the Prince of Wales became lovers while his mistress Lady Furness travelled abroad.

Edward's relationship with Wallis Simpson further weakened his poor relationship with his father, King George V. The King and Queen refused to receive Mrs Simpson at court, and his brother, Prince Albert, urged Edward to seek a more suitable wife. Edward, however, 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 MI5, to examine in secret the nature of their relationship. A MI5 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." The prospect of having an American divorcée with a questionable past having such sway over the Heir Apparent caused some anxiety to government and establishment figures at the time.

[edit] Reign

Monarchical Styles of
King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Image:Edward's crown PD cleaned.png
Reference style: His Majesty
Spoken style: Your Majesty
Alternative style: Sir

King George V died on 20 January 1936, and Edward ascended to 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 of St. James's Palace, in the company of the still-married Mrs. Simpson. It was also at this time that Edward VIII became the first British monarch to fly in an aeroplane, when he flew from Sandringham to London for his Accession Council.

Image:Edwardsig.png
Signature of King Edward VIII
The 'R' and 'I' after his name indicate 'king' and 'emperor' in Latin ('Rex' and 'Imperator').

It was now becoming clear that the new King wished to marry Mrs Simpson, especially when divorce proceedings between Mr and Mrs Simpson were brought at Ipswich Crown Court. Powerful figures in the British government deemed the King's marriage to Mrs Simpson unacceptable, largely because he had become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England which prohibited remarriage after divorce. Edward's alternative proposed solution of a morganatic marriage was rejected by the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin and the Dominion governments.

Edward caused unease in government circles with actions that were interpreted as interference in political matters. His visit to the depressed coal mining villages in South Wales saw the King observe that "something must be done" for the unemployed and deprived coal miners — though that was the extent of the interest he expressed in the issue and he did not follow up. On the other hand, government ministers were also 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 might see them. The Prime Minister also sent detectives from Scotland Yard to follow both the King and Mrs. Simpson and report on their whereabouts.

Image:EdwardVIIIcoin.jpg.jpg
Left-facing currency portrait of Edward VIII

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

On 16 July 1936, an attempt was made on the King's life. Jerome Brannigan produced a loaded revolver as the King rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace. Police spotted the gun and pounced on him, and he was quickly arrested. At Brannigan's trial, he alleged that "a foreign power" had paid him £150 to kill Edward, a claim the court rejected. It is now known that MI5 had been shadowing Brannigan for some time and that Brannigan alleged that he was informing MI5 of a plot against Edward throughout his actions [1].

[edit] Abdication

On 16 November 1936 Edward met with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin at Fort Belvedere and expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry. The Prime Minister responded by presenting the King with three choices: he could give up the idea of marriage; marry Mrs Simpson against his ministers' wishes; or abdicate. It was clear that Edward was not prepared to give up Mrs Simpson. By marrying against the advice of his ministers, it was likely that he would cause the government to resign, prompting a constitutional crisis. The Prime Ministers of the British dominions had also made clear their opposition to the King marrying a divorcée; only the Irish Free State was not opposed to the idea of the marriage. Faced with this opposition, Edward chose to abdicate.

Edward duly signed an instrument of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 December 1936 in the presence of his three brothers, The Duke of York, The Duke of Gloucester and The Duke of Kent. The next day, he performed his last act as King when he gave royal assent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 which applied to the United Kingdom and all the dominions except the Irish Free State. The Free State passed the equivalent External Relations Act, which included the abdication in its schedule, the next day.

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."

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. His brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York succeeded to the throne as King George VI, with his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth first in the line of succession, as the heir presumptive.

[edit] Duke of Windsor

Image:Nazi Windsors.jpg
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor with Adolf Hitler

George VI announced he was to create his brother Duke of Windsor, and also re-admit him to the highest degree of the various British Orders of Knighthood, on 12 December 1936 at his Accession Privy Council because 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, however, Edward was universally known as the Duke of Windsor. 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 HRH; others maintained that he had lost all royal rank and should no longer carry any royal title or style as an abdicated King. However, George VI insisted that Edward should specifically be re-conferred with the rank of prince so that its terms could be within his control and on the grounds that if Edward were to be a commoner there could be no objection to his standing for Parliament. The King's decision to create Edward a royal duke ipso facto put him in the House of Lords and further ensured that he could not stand for election to the House of Commons, or speak about political subjects in the House of Lords.

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 Chateau de Candé, Monts, 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 happily accepted his services. The new king, George VI, absolutely forbade members of the British royal family to attend — Edward had particularly wanted Princes Henry and George (the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent) and Lord Louis Mountbatten to be on hand — and this continued for many years to rankle with the now ducal couple, notwithstanding the obvious awkwardnesses involved should royalty have been on hand because of the King's role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

The denial of the style "HRH" 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; the Duke, however, had compromised his position with the King by concealing the extent of his financial worth (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) at the time they informally entered into an agreement as to the amount of the sinecure the King would pay. This led to strained relations between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the royal family for decades: 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. 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 his mother Queen Mary and his wife Queen Elizabeth) threatened to cut off his allowance if he returned to Britain without an invitation. 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 on his death, and thus did not automatically pass to George VI on abdication.

[edit] World War II

In 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited Germany as personal guests of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, a visit much publicised by the German media. The couple then settled in France. When the Germans 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, where they lived at first in the home of a banker with close German Embassy contacts. 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 considered to be a close friend of Nazi leader Hermann Göring. A "defeatist" interview with the Duke that received wide distribution may have served as the last straw for the British government: in August a British warship dispatched the pair to the Bahamas. The Duke of Windsor was installed as Governor, and became the first British monarch to ever hold a civilian political office. He enjoyed the position and was praised for his efforts to combat poverty on the island nation. He held the post until the end of World War II in 1945. (See also Operation Willi.)

The Duchess of Windsor recorded in her autobiography The Heart Has Its Reasons that the Duke remarked, when telling her that Britain had declared war on Germany, that he feared that this would now mean the triumph of communism. This authoritative and sympathetic source appears to confirm that he was opposed to the war and favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism. Many historians have suggested that Hitler was prepared to reinstate Edward and Wallis as King and Queen of Britain, if he conquered the country, and is apparently to have said to Wallis, "you would make a good Queen."

Some historians have suggested 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. These assessments of his career were corroborated by some wartime information released in 1996, and on further secret files released by the UK government in 2003. The files had remained closed for decades, as Whitehall judged that they would cause the Queen Mother substantial distress if released during her lifetime. U.S. naval intelligence revealed a confidential report of a conference of German foreign officials in October 1941, that judged the Duke "no enemy to Germany" and the only English representative with whom Hitler would negotiate any peace terms, "the logical director of England's destiny after the war". President Roosevelt had ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida, in April 1941. The former Duke of Wurttemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) convinced the FBI 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. This evidence supports a theory held by many of the top officers in the British Army, as well as more than a few members of the civilian population, that Edward had passed details of the movements of the British Expeditionary Force in France, leading to the disaster at the Battle of Dunkirk.

[edit] Later life

After the war, the couple returned once again to France in Neuilly near Paris, where they spent much of the remainder of their lives essentially in retirement, as the Duke never occupied another professional role after his wartime governorship of the Bahamas. Effectively taking on the role of minor celebrities, the couple were for a time in the 1950s and 1960s regarded as part of café society and numerous of those who met the Windsors socially reported on the vacuity of the Duke's conversation (see "Quotations," below). They hosted parties and shuttled between Paris and New York; in 1951 the Duke produced a ghost-written memoir, A King's Story. Nine years later, he also penned a relatively unknown book, Windsor Revisited, 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. The couple appeared on Edward R. Murrow's television interview show "Person to Person," visited President Eisenhower at the White House in 1955 and in 1970 appeared in a 50-minute BBC television interview; that year they were invited as guests of honour to a dinner at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon in repayment for their having entertained Nixon in Paris during the mid-1960s when his political fortunes were low.

The Royal Family never accepted the Duchess and would not receive her formally, although the Duke sometimes met his mother and his brother the King after his abdication. Queen Mary in particular maintained her anger with Edward and her indignation as to Wallis ("To give up all this for that," she said) and Queen Elizabeth, Edward’s sister-in-law, remained dubious about Wallis for her role in bringing Elizabeth's husband to the throne, regarding Wallis's inappropriate and arrogant assumption of the role of consort to the king while still married to Ernest Simpson and for her well-known scorn for both King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1965, the Duke and Duchess returned to London. They were visited by the Queen, Princess Marina and also the Princess Royal. They later attended a memorial service for the Princess Royal, who died in the week following their visit. In 1967 they joined the Royal Family for the centenary of Queen Mary's birth. The last occasion they were in the UK together was the funeral of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent in 1968.

The Duke died of throat cancer on 28 May 1972 in Paris, and his body was returned to Britain for burial at Frogmore Estate, near Windsor Castle. The increasingly senile and frail Duchess travelled to England to attend his funeral, staying at Buckingham Palace during her visit. The Duchess, on her death a decade and a half later, was buried alongside her husband in Frogmore simply as "Wallis, Duchess of Windsor".

When the Duke and Duchess's correspondence was published after the Duchess's death the book failed to sell, with interest largely confined to the magnitude of the Duke's uxoriousness and his curious term of endearment for her: "Eanum Pig."

[edit] Titles and styles

[edit] Titles

  • 1894-1898: His Highness Prince Edward of York
  • 1898-1901: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of York
  • 1901: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Cornwall
  • 1901-1910: His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Wales
  • 1910 His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall
  • 1910-1936: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Duke of Rothesay (Scotland)
  • 1910-1936: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
  • 1936: His Majesty The King (outside of the United Kingdom, and on account of India, the Sovereign was sometimes referred to by the style His Imperial Majesty the King-Emperor).
  • 1936-1937: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward
  • 1937-1972: His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor (in use from 1936)

[edit] Styles

From his father's ascension to the throne on 6 May 1910 until his own accession on 20 January 1936, Prince Edward held the style "His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland." His full style as king was "Edward VIII, 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"

[edit] Legacy

[edit] In media

  • The calypso song "Edward VIII" by the Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Caresser was the most popular calypso record in 1937.[2]
  • In the 1963 cartoon Million Hare, Bugs Bunny remarks that he has the same tailor as the Duke of Windsor.
  • Portrayed by Richard Chamberlain in the 1972 made for TV movie The Woman I Love - Focuses on the love between Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
  • Portrayed by Edward Fox in the 1978 miniseries Edward and Mrs. Simpson - focus is again on the love story.
  • Guy Walters. The Leader. Headline Book Publishing Ltd. 2003. - A fictional alternative history of World War II: Edward VIII does not abdicate but reigns as king with Wallis Simpson as queen. They rule a fascist England after World War II and are allied with Hitler, but are opposed by the hero of the book, Captain James Armstrong.
  • In The Deptford Trilogy by Canadian author Robertson Davies, Boy Staunton is a great admirer of Edward VIII, having met him in person once and styled himself after him. His discontent upon reaching the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario mirrors Edward's decision to choose love over his title and position.
  • In singer-songwriter Al Stewart's song "Life Between the Wars" there is a reference to Edward: "The King is leaving Buckingham Palace/It's far too cold; he'd rather have Wallis"

[edit] Fashion

[edit] Quotations

  • "[The Indian princes’] ceremonies are so irritating and ridiculous" (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 116)
  • On seeing the great archaeological finds at Taxila, in Punjab, "This place ought never to have been dug up." (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 140)
  • Of Étienne Dupach, the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune: "It must be remembered that Dupach 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." (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 448)
  • To John Kenneth Galbraith, who had been appointed American ambassador to India, "I hear you are going to In-jea. A most interesting country. I had a very good time there in my early youth. You must do the pig-sticking in Rajasthan. And you will find the people most agreeable in their own way. They have been most uncommonly decent to my niece." (Galbraith, Ambassador’s Journal, 36)
  • To Gore Vidal (who described the Duke as having "always had something of...riveting stupidity to say on any subject"), "British Empire. First trip to India. Glorious. Never would have believed it would all be gone in my lifetime. Not possible, I’d’ve thought. I am the last king-emperor, you know. My brother was, for a time, but had to give it up. I didn’t" (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)
  • In conversation with Mona Bismarck and Gore Vidal, "Mona said, 'Did you see Gore's new play The Best Man when you were in New York?' 'Of course not.'...'Don't like plays, only shows.' He meant musical comedies." (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)
  • Discussing coronation ceremonies with Vidal, "I quickly moved on to...the moment when two masons appear and ask the newly crowned king for instructions as to his tomb. 'Masons? Masons! Yes. You one? I'm one. But I've forgotten all the odds and ends. Dull, really." (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)

[edit] Around the World with the Prince of Wales

all quotations from Godfrey, Letters

  • Italy: "...they are indeed a repulsive nation these dagoes, both the men and the women & I'm just longing to quit them for good & all !!!" (18 September 1918)
  • Cologne, Germany: "Claud & I had a stroll in the centre of town afterwards & had great fun making the Hun men civilians get off the pavement [sidewalk to Americans] for us .... It does one worlds of good to know how humiliating it must be for the Huns" (9 January 1919)
  • Quebec City, Canada: "A rotten priest-ridden community who are the completest passengers & who won't do their bit in anything & of course not during the war !!" (23 Aug 1919)
  • Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canadian Indians: "I've told you what a foul decadent lazy crowd they are & what I think of them !! But this camp is pitched right inside an Indian reserve ... & we have hundreds of the mouldy local tribe camped around us" (6 October 1919)
  • Barbados: "A proper bum island this Barbados....It's a unique sort of scenery, very ugly, & I didn't take much to the coloured population, who are revolting." (26-27 March 1920)
  • Panama: "...a deadly spot the end of the world almost....There are 20,000 British coloured people working on the canal...; they are mostly from Jamaica & smell too revolting for words....the Panamanians are a very queer people, all dagoes of course, though very pompous and dirty" (31 March - 1 April 1920)
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: (At a luau) "...a unique native stunt though the Hawaiian food we were made to eat was too revolting for words....One got rather tired of the native songs & longed for some of our tunes" (14 April 1920)
  • Outside Adelaide, Australia: "...they showed us some of the native aborigines at a wayside station in the great plain yesterday afternoon though 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 I've ever seen" (11 July 1920)
  • Acapulco, Mexico: "...queer, dirty little dago town....The people are too revolting for words, super dagoes & some of them are quite black as a result of Spaniards inter-breeding with the Indians; & of course they only speak Spanish" (9 September 1920)

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  • Bloch, Edward (ed.). Wallis and Edward: Letters 1931-1937 (Summit Books, 1986). ISBN 0-671-61209-3
  • Godfrey, Rupert (ed.), Letters From a Prince: Edward to Mrs. Freda Dudley Ward 1918-1921. (Little, Brown & Co. 1998). ISBN 0-7515-2590-1
  • Ziegler, Philip, King Edward VIII: The official biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991). ISBN 0-394-57730-2
  • Ziegler, Philip, Mountbatten: the official biography (Collins, 1985)
  • Bradford, Sarah, The Reluctant King: The life and reign of George VI 1895-1952 (London: St Martins, 1989)
  • The Duke's autobiography A King's Story appeared in 1951; the Duchess's The Heart has its Reasons, in 1956.
  • Susan Williams, "The historical significance of the Abdication files," Public Records Office - New Document Releases - Abdication Papers, London: Public Records Office of the United Kingdom, 2003.
Preceded by:
George V
King of the United Kingdom and British dominions beyond the seas
1936
Succeeded by:
George VI
Emperor of India
1936
Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Windsor
1937–1972
Succeeded by:
Title Extinct
Preceded by:
vacancy
Grand Master of the Order of St Michael and St George
1917–1936
Succeeded by:
The Earl of Athlone
Preceded by:
new office
Grand Master of the Order of the British Empire
1917–1936
Succeeded by:
Queen Mary