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British Royals

The duke who was told to miss Coronation

Seventy years ago, memories of a spectacular day that had changed Britain were still fresh as the country looked back on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, an event that was one of the great events of the 20th century.

However, in the months leading up to the ceremony, courtiers and politicians were working behind the scenes, trying to manage how to deal with one particular guest who was expected to be in attendance.

The Duke of Windsor, formerly known as King Edward VIII before his abdication in 1936, was told by Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill that he should not attend the Coronation.

Official documents in the National Archives show that Sir Winston urged the Duke to tell the press that an ex-monarch would not be allowed to attend a Coronation.

Sir Norman Brook, Cabinet Secretary, wrote in his official minutes that Churchill: “Advised him not to come to coronation.”

“He will say to press that it would not be consistent with usage for coronation to be attended by any or former ruler.”

The Duke heeded the Prime Minister’s advice and did not attend the Coronation.