Royal skeletons rattled

Danny Hammill reviews Channel Four’s 'Secret Lives: Edward VIII, the Traitor King'

THE SKELETONS stuffed in the house of Windsor cupboards are just beginning to emerge. One particularly ugly looking skeleton is Edward VIII, the former Duke of Windsor, who abdicated his throne in 1936 so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Recently released documents and papers reveal that Edward was strongly pro-Nazi before and during World War II, worked extensively to promote a peace deal with Nazi Germany and even plotted with the Nazis to foment a ‘revolution’ in wartime Britain that would topple the Churchill government, depose his brother George VI, and allow him to regain the throne with ‘Queen Wallis’.

One of the most shocking revelations, given the sheer amount of propaganda about how the monarchy faced the Blitz ‘just like us’, is that Edward encouraged the heavy bombing of Britain. In the words of Baron Oswald Hoyningen-Huene, the German ambassador to Portugal, who cabled Berlin on July 10 1940: “The Duke definitely believes continued severe bombing would make England ready for peace.” 

No wonder the establishment was desperate to get rid of him, and used his ‘scandalous’ affair with Wallis Simpson as an excuse to dump him.

This made entertaining television, as anyone who saw Channel Four’s Secret Lives: Edward VIII, the Traitor King will tell you. Nevertheless, the programme did constantly juxtapose the ‘traitor’ Edward to Winston Churchill, the ‘anti-fascist’ patriot. Yet all know that Churchill had a soft spot, to put it mildly, for Benito Mussolini and advocated eugenics, amongst other things.

So, our intrepid Channel Four investigators should start work immediately on an even more shocking exposé ...

Danny Hammill