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Duke of Windsor letter reveals Royal Family rift

In a newly revealed candid letter written after the 1936 Abdication Crisis, the Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII, allegedly reveals how the Royal Family warned him to stay away from England.


The letter, which was written in 1939, said the Duke was advised to stay away from England while his brother King George VI established himself as Monarch. The letter reveals how Edward adhered to the warning to prevent enraging Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, both of whom were unsupportive and angry at Edward’s relationship with Wallis Simpson.

The letter also contains Edward’s thoughts on the Royal Family denying Wallis Simpson the title of “Her Royal Highness”. He describes the actions as ‘insulting’.

The correspondence was sold by an anonymous private collector in London and was expected to fetch £8,000 at auction. It actually sold for £15,000 on Wednesday 4th September. Charlie Jacoby, an expert on the Royal Family, said “This letter is a cracker, it is well known that Edward was well advised to stay away from England but to hear it from the man himself is just fascinating”.

King Edward VIII abdicated the throne after the Prime Ministers of the UK and Dominions opposed him marrying Mrs Simpson as at the time she was a twice divorced woman, a woman who politicians argued would never be accepted as Queen. If Edward had married against the advice of his ministers, then a constitutional crisis would have arisen. As a result, Edward decided to abdicate the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson.

The Duke’s letter was sent to Lord Beaverbrook, the then owner of Express Newspapers and a close friend and ally, in response to a Sunday Express article claiming that his and the Duchess’s exile in Paris was self-imposed. In the letter, the Duke insisted that he was staying abroad his own wishes. Although the Duke wished to return to England at some point in the future, he and his wife were actually to stay in exile for the rest of their lives.

photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc

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