The Queen Mother’s determination to keep her distance from Wallis Simpson is at the heart of a new TV programme. In ‘Queen Mum: the Reluctant Queen’, her attitude towards the Duchess of Windsor is examined with one letter, describing her as a ‘’naughty lady’’, taking centre stage.
The description of Wallis came in a letter penned by Elizabeth to her own mother-in-law, Queen Mary. In it she writes ‘’relations are already a little difficult when naughty ladies are brought in’’, adding ‘’and up to now, we’ve not had the lady at all’’.
In the years running up to the Abdication in December 1936, Wallis Simpson was an increasing presence at the side of Elizabeth’s brother in law, Edward. The couple’s intense relationship became an increasing concern behind palace doors and the new programme looks at how Elizabeth reacted as it became clear that Edward would give up his throne to marry for love.
The show talks to author Jane Ridley who describes the influence Elizabeth had over the Windsors once her husband had become King George VI and she was queen consort. She tells the programme that the former Edward VIII always believed his family would come to his wedding to Wallis, which took place at the Chateau de Cande in 1937, but would end up saying ‘I do’ without them. Jane Ridley says ‘’that was very much the work of..Queen (Elizabeth)..she thought it would be very wrong for the king to extend his approval towards his brother’’.
The programme also hears the words of royal biographer, Philip Ziegler, who sheds some light on conversations he himself had with the Queen Mother. He tells the Channel 5 documentary ‘’I remember saying to her once, why have you been so resolute in keeping the Windsors out of Britain? She said ‘’you can’t have two kings, can you?’’.
The programme, ‘Queen Mum: Reluctant Queen’, is broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK, starting this Saturday, March 9th 2019.