Friday, 30 December 2016

Tweedland offers below different perspectives to this “never ending story “

Edward VIII - The Plot to Topple a King

17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History by Andrew Morton / Edward VIII the traitor king - complete documentary

17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History
by Andrew Morton

“For fans of the Netflix series The Crown, a meticulously researched historical tour de force about the secret ties among Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, the Duke of Windsor, and Adolf Hitler before, during, and after World War II--now in paperback.

Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife, Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed "the traitor king" and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion.

For the first time, Morton reveals the full story behind the cover-up of those damning letters and diagrams: the daring heist ordered by King George VI, the smooth duplicity of a Soviet spy as well as the bitter rows and recriminations among the British and American diplomats, politicians, and academics. Drawing on FBI documents, exclusive pictures, and material from the German, Russian, and British royal archives, as well as the personal correspondence of Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 CARNATIONS is a dazzling historical drama, full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations, written by a master of the genre.”

Unmasked, Edward the Nazi King of England: Princess Diana's biographer reveals the Duke of Windsor's collusion with Hitler… and a plot to regain his throne

Unique microfilm revealed the innermost workings of the Nazi regime
Found incriminating correspondence relating to former King of England
New book by Diana biographer reveals the Duke of Windsor was willing to deal with Hitler to win back his throne
Called Hitler a 'great man' and openly criticised Churchill the 'warmonger'
Was convinced conflict could've been avoided if he stayed on the throne
The Nazi leader would put the Duke back on the Throne as a puppet king
However, details of the secret deal were ordered destroyed after the war
Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and American President Eisenhower among those who attempted to cover up damning dossier

By Andrew Morton For The Mail On Sunday
PUBLISHED: 22:07 GMT, 28 February 2015 | UPDATED: 19:50 GMT, 1 March 2015

It was the most unlikely place to find a treasure trove: tucked inside a battered metal canister covered in a tatty plastic raincoat and hidden in a remote German estate, where it had been hastily buried in the dying days of the Nazi regime.
The men who discovered it in the weeks following the end of the war were dubbed ‘documents men’, Allied soldiers charged with finding the secrets of Hitler’s Third Reich. Inside was unique microfilm that revealed the innermost workings of the Nazi regime. Back in London, the haul was triumphantly called pirates’ gold.
But within days, they realised with horror that the thousands of files detailing every part of the Nazi regime’s inner workings contained incriminating correspondence relating to the former King of England, Edward VIII, his wife – the divorced American Wallis Simpson, whom he married in 1937 – and their links to dictator Adolf Hitler.

Honoured guests: Edward and Wallis depart Hitler’s mountain retreat in October 1937, after meeting the Fuhrer

The book claims that the Duke, center, was angered at being forced to abdicate the throne in 1936 and was willing to work with Adolf Hitler, right, to regain it

This was dynamite that could explode beneath the Monarchy.
For the next 12 years, war leader Winston Churchill, post-war Prime Minister Clement Attlee, American President Eisenhower and others in the political elite attempted to destroy or cover up the damning Windsor dossier.
Even King George VI, at loggerheads with his elder brother, the Duke of Windsor, since his abdication in 1936, was ‘greatly agitated’.
Now my three years of research have uncovered the extent of Edward’s Nazi sympathies and the monumental efforts lasting more than a decade by the Establishment on both sides to trace, conceal and destroy vital documents that they feared could bring down the House of Windsor.
The jaw-dropping contents of the file concerned the wartime activities of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, particularly their brief stay in Spain and Portugal after the fall of France in 1940. The secret papers painted an astonishing portrait of a man who was disaffected with his position, disloyal to his family and unpatriotic towards his country.
The file revealed that such was his disaffection that Churchill, his friend and supporter, had threatened him with court martial unless he obeyed military orders.
During this Iberian sojourn, many of Edward’s unguarded utterances were secretly recorded by German diplomats and pro-Fascist Spanish aristocrats who sent the material in minute detail to Berlin, where Hitler and his right-hand man, foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, pored over the Royal runes.
The transcripts reveal that Edward, who felt he had been ostracised and humiliated in the wake of his abdication in 1936, was outspoken in his criticism of Churchill and the war and was convinced that, if he had stayed on the throne, conflict could have been avoided.

He was angered at being forced to abdicate the throne in 1936 because he wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, left, and was willing to work with Hitler, right

The Duke of Windsor chats to Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels at a party in Berlin in 1937

Only the continued heavy bombing of British cities, he believed, would bring the United Kingdom to the negotiating table. Taken at face value, the Duke was speaking high treason, giving succour to the enemy when Britain faced its darkest hour of the war. If the German files were to be believed, here was a man who had no faith in his country’s leaders or his own family. He was also a man who fully approved of Hitler and his spurious plans for peace.
Worryingly, they chimed with Washington’s intelligence. American ambassadors to Spain and Portugal who met the couple at this time were so alarmed that they sent messages to Washington reporting that the couple were ‘indiscreet and outspoken against the British government’. Historian John Costello later described the Duke’s sentiments as ‘tantamount to treason’.
Such was the dangerous importance of these unguarded private utterances that it gave the Nazi high command complete faith in a sinister plot to entice the Duke and Duchess to stay in Spain, where he would wait for the Germans to invade and conquer his homeland. Then the man who spent his honeymoon in Austria before the war and visited Germany in October 1937 as Hitler’s honoured guest would return to Britain as the Fuhrer’s puppet king.
The Nazis even had a code name for the plot – Operation Willi – which was the extraordinary climax to a bizarre entanglement between the Duke, the Duchess and Hitler which began shortly after he was elected German Chancellor in 1933.
Not only did Hitler try to marry Edward, then Prince of Wales, to a young German princess, but he then flooded London with a slew of Nazi supporting aristocrats with orders to find out what their Royal cousins were thinking. The stammering Duke of York, Edward’s brother and later King George VI, was blunt about this blue-blooded Nazi courtship. ‘My own family relations in Germany have been used to spy and get particulars from other members of my family,’ he later observed. Edward and Wallis welcomed them with open arms.

The couple, pictured, married at a private ceremony on June 3, 1937 in France and honeymooned in Germany

Edward, right, celebrates his marriage to Wallis Simpson in France in June 1937 with a cup of tea
The Duke of Windsor marries Wallis Simpson in 1937

As serious doubts began to be raised at home about Edward’s fitness to be King, he was viewed inside the Third Reich as a friend and ally of the Nazi regime.
Wallis Simpson came under special scrutiny from both sides. Even Hitler was intrigued by her relationship with the pompous but charming Von Ribbentrop, who had singled her out for special attention when he was Nazi ambassador in London in the 1930s.
It was said Von Ribbentrop sent Wallis bouquets of flowers, ordered from society florist Constance Spry, to her home. The Prince of Wales’s cousin, the well-informed Duke of Württemberg stoked the rumour mill, stating that the bouquets of 17 carnations (some say they were roses) represented the number of occasions Wallis and Von Ribbentrop had slept together.
Hitler is a great man... Churchill's a warmonger
Such was the concern about the proximity of Wallis and her then husband Ernest to the future King that at the height of her clandestine affair with Edward in 1935, Scotland Yard detectives were ordered to watch the couple and delve into their private life.
It emerged that not only was Ernest hoping for a high honour when the new King took the throne, but his wife was two-timing him and Edward with a third man, Ford car salesman Guy Trundle.
It was also discovered that a neighbour in Wallis’s apartment block, Bryanston Court in Central London, was Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe – a woman who had been monitored by the security services since 1928. They considered her a political intriguer – possibly a Nazi spy, but certainly a woman with direct access to Hitler himself. It was not long before worried Establishment figures wondered if Princess Stephanie and Wallis were working hand-in-glove, and Bryanston Court was a nest of espionage and plotting.

Military leaders had serious concerns about the Duke of Windsor, right, and his wife Wallis Simpson, left

MRS Simpson had already been described by Palace courtiers as a witch, a vampire and a high-class blackmailer. Soon she was being spoken of as a Nazi spy. Within weeks of Edward ascending the throne in January 1936, there was considerable concern that the Government red boxes – which to this day are ferried to the Palace containing intelligence reports, policy briefings and important documents needing Royal approval or signature – were being treated in a cavalier manner, their contents accessible to prying eyes.
The pre-war Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, learned that the French and Swiss governments knew that the King was discussing everything with Mrs Simpson. As she was believed to be ‘in the pocket of Ribbentrop’, this was a matter of grave concern.
American ambassador Robert Worth Bingham reported to President Roosevelt: ‘Many people here suspect that Mrs Simpson is in German pay. I think this is unlikely.’
All the while Hitler was observing developments from afar, sitting in his private cinema watching newsreels of the new young King, Edward VIII, and his American mistress. At least it made a change from his usual diet of Disney cartoons.
The King’s possible reaction was on Hitler’s mind when he occupied the Rhineland in March 1936 – effectively tearing up the Treaty of Versailles. His calculation that Edward would give him tacit support proved correct. That April the King sent Hitler a telegram wishing him ‘happiness and welfare’ for his 47th birthday.
For all his scrutiny of the youthful and glamorous new King, Hitler badly misjudged his quarry. He felt Edward was a man of the world, a man of power and ambition. And Von Ribbentrop had grossly overestimated Edward’s influence over British politics, believing he was capable of dictating foreign policy.

Despite concerns, the Duke of Windsor made trips to the War Office, pictured, during the conflict

So the Fuhrer was astonished when, in December 1936, Edward gave up his empire for Wallis, the twice-divorced American. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels caustically observed: ‘He has made a complete fool of himself… it was lacking in dignity and taste.’ Hitler believed Edward had been ousted by Churchill, who had manoeuvred him into a dubious marriage.
But even after the abdication, the Nazis still kept faith, inviting him to visit the Fatherland in October 1937.
During the 12-day visit, Germany was bedecked with alternating Union Flags and swastikas, and Wallis accepted curtsies from high and low-born alike. She was even referred to as ‘Her Royal Highness’, a title King George VI had pointedly denied her.
The Nazi leadership was impressed, seeing in the Duke one of their own. Goebbels described him as a ‘tender seedling of reason’. Nonetheless the couple’s phones were tapped throughout their visit. Controversially, the former King gave a Nazi salute when he met Hitler and other leaders. He later confirmed he did salute Hitler during their private 50-minute conversation at his mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden, but insisted ‘it was a soldier’s salute’. After taking tea, they bade each other a fond farewell, never to meet again. As they drove away Hitler remarked to his interpreter: ‘The Duchess would have made a good queen.’
This was emphatically not the view of Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother. Once war was declared in September 1939 and Wallis and Edward paid a short visit to London before being packed off to France, she could barely contain her loathing. She wrote to Queen Mary – mother of her husband George and Edward: ‘I trust she will soon return to France and STAY THERE. I am sure she hates this dear country and therefore she should not be here in wartime.’
Such was the routine suspicion and hostility felt towards the couple that when Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, showed the Duke around the Secret Room – where the exact position of the Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine fleets were plotted – the Earl of Crawford, a government Minister, warned: ‘He will blab and babble out state secrets without realising the danger.’
Edward’s behaviour did not inspire confidence. Though he schemed briefly to lead an international peace movement – which many believed would only add succour to the Nazi cause – he expended more effort playing golf and agitating to have his French chef released from Army duty. And there remains considerable circumstantial evidence that loose-lipped table talk by the Duke while he was in Paris made its way back to Berlin and influenced Hitler’s military strategy.

The Duke, pictured here making his abdication speech, believed Britain could be bombed to submission

Wallis’s friend, playwright Clare Boothe Luce, recalled an evening in May 1940 when the Windsors were playing cards in their Paris home. Luce was listening to BBC radio news describing a Luftwaffe fighter attack on coastal towns. When she remarked how sorry she felt for the casualties, the Duchess looked up briefly from her cards and replied: ‘After what they did to me I can’t say I feel sorry for them – a whole nation against one lone woman.’
The self-absorption of Edward and Wallis meant it was entirely in character that, when the Germans advanced south through France in 1940, he demanded that a Royal Navy ship pick them up from Nice.
The former King was bluntly told to drive to Spain, ostensibly a neutral country, and take his chances.
Their four-car convoy included a hired van just for the Royal luggage. They were however motoring into a trap, one partially of their own making. Within days of their arrival in Madrid, German diplomats were working with their Spanish allies to ensure the former King remained in Spain. The couple were offered a small fortune and a palace in Ronda in southern Spain to sit out the war.
Edward was so tempted by the offer that he telegraphed Churchill and asked if there was any need for a prompt return to London. Churchill ordered that he be moved to neighbouring Portugal.
According to German diplomats, the Duke was seen as ‘the only Englishman with whom Hitler would negotiate any peace terms, the logical director of England’s destiny after the war’. Like Vidkun Quisling, the Nazi appointee to rule Norway, and Marshal Petain in occupied France, the Duke of Windsor was the perfect puppet.
Operation Willi was treated with deadly seriousness by Hitler and Von Ribbentrop, the Fuhrer ordering his top spymaster Walter Schellenberg to travel to Lisbon to entice or if necessary kidnap the Windsors. Their every move, gesture and sentiment was pored over, with German diplomats looking for signs of encouragement.
The Duke twice secretly contacted the Nazis via a Spanish diplomat, asking first if they would protect his two rented houses in Paris and Cannes and their contents. The captured microfilm revealed the potentially explosive negotiations – the Germans agreed to his request. Even the ambassador brother of Spanish dictator Franco was shocked by Edward’s behaviour. ‘A prince does not ask favours of his country’s enemies. To request the handing over of things he could replace or dispense with is not correct.’
Moreover, the couple’s defeatist attitude in private conversations greatly concerned the British ambassador. ‘The Duke believed that Great Britain faced a catastrophic military defeat which could only be avoided through a peace settlement with Germany,’ observed historian Michael Bloch.
The Duke even stunned the American journalist Fulton Oestler by saying in an interview during the war, when he had been appointed Governor of the Bahamas: ‘It would be a tragic thing for the world if Hitler was overthrown, Hitler is the right and logical leader of the German people. Hitler is a very great man.’
Little wonder that a draft letter written on Churchill’s behalf in 1940 informing the prime ministers of the Dominions about the decision to appoint the Duke Governor of the Bahamas focused on his ‘pro-Nazi inclinations’ and the fact that he may become a centre of intrigue.
Edward’s disloyalty knew no boundaries. The Duke considered his younger brother George ‘utterly stupid’, the Queen an intriguer and Churchill a warmonger. At least that was how the Germans described it. Such was the collapse in relations between Edward and the British Government when he was in Portugal that the Duke believed he would be arrested if he went to the British Embassy in Lisbon. Little wonder that the Windsor File was so potentially incendiary.
When he was shown the dossier after the war, Churchill immediately insisted that it be destroyed lest it damage the standing of the Monarchy. So did the King, the Prime Minister and Allied Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower.
However several copies had been made, some lodged with the Americans. American academics, drafted in to the wartime State Department, warned that they would be breaking the law if they destroyed the Windsor file.
Their views prevailed. But it took another 12 years, after years of British delaying tactics, for the file to be published.
The Duke of Windsor, who was worried about the publication, largely escaped scot-free, the media briefed to see him as an unwitting and innocent victim of misguided Nazi intrigues.
Today, with the help of new documents and letters never previously seen, we can see this dark corner of British history in a more honest light – how seriously the Windsors’ Nazi sympathies were taken at the time and the deep alarm the postwar discovery of the Nazi files caused at the highest levels.
The wrangling between the British and their American allies about the Windsor File was not without cost. It created a sour climate of suspicion and distrust that endured, with the Americans perplexed that the British would expend so much diplomatic and political capital on a man without public position who was effectively exiled from his homeland.
It was seen in Westminster as a small price to be paid to maintain the illusion of Monarchy as the national crucible of honour, duty and loyalty.
17 Carnations by Andrew Morton is published by Michael O’Mara, priced £20.00.

The Duke Of Windsor: The Nation's Tribute - 1972 / In defence of Wallis Simpson Philip Ziegler reviews The People's King by Susan Williams

In defence of Wallis Simpson
Philip Ziegler reviews The People's King by Susan Williams
12:01AM BST 18 Aug 2003

Susan Williams's somewhat venturesome subtitle suggests that she has discovered some hitherto undiscovered truth about the abdication.
Whatever this may be, it is certainly not based on new facts. There is no material in her book that was not already available - to this biographer at least - except for the Special Branch reports. These are of interest in that they show the police considered it their duty to monitor the activities of the Prince of Wales and his mistress, but otherwise are no more than modestly entertaining. The most pungent charge they contain is that Mrs Simpson, while married to Ernest Simpson and in hectic pursuit of the prince, was simultaneously conducting an affair with a raffish motor-car salesman, Guy Trundle, on whom she lavished expensive gifts and cash.
Williams very reasonably doubts whether Wallis Simpson could have found time to fit Trundle into her life. She might also have pointed out that giving, rather than receiving, expensive presents was not Mrs Simpson's style, but references to the Duchess of Windsor's meanness would not have fitted comfortably into Williams's master vision.
This book is an exercise in rehabilitation. As such it is overdue. The Duke of Windsor has been spectacularly traduced in recent years; the culmination being a programme called Edward: the Traitor King, without even the courtesy of a question mark. Williams reminds one of Edward's extraordinary charm, his ability to talk with people of every kind, his wit, his genuine concern for the underprivileged. But she lays it on a bit thick. To refer to the "democratic leanings" of a man who believed in strong and authoritarian government is wholly to misinterpret Edward's political opinions; the real dismay that lay behind his comment on the horrors of unemployment in South Wales - "Something must be done" - needs to be set against his conspicuous failure to do anything about it when preoccupations about his love life absorbed his energies.
The author's determination to present the Windsors in a favourable light leads to occasional unfairness to other people. Cosmo Gordon Lang is perhaps fair game, but Williams does less than justice to Stanley Baldwin's affection for Edward and anxiety to keep him on the throne. When Mrs Simpson took on the role of hostess at Balmoral, and stepped forward to greet the Yorks, Williams describes her behaviour as being a "gesture of friendship" and reprimands the future Queen Mother for snubbing her sister-in-law-to-be. Others might feel that only a woman of extraordinary insensitivity would not have thought it better to keep discreetly in the background at such a moment.
Williams's most energetically exploited source is the mountain of letters written by members of the public to Edward VIII, as well as letters to Churchill, Baldwin and other dignitaries, contemporary diaries and other manifestations of vox populi. Williams's contention is that Baldwin "misjudged the feelings of the British public"; that there was more support for the King and readiness to accept Mrs Simpson than was acknowledged by the Establishment; and that the working classes and the liberal elements of the bourgeoisie believed that Edward VIII should follow his heart and marry the woman he loved.
There is quite a lot in this; she assembles a dossier to suggest that, if there had been a plebiscite in 1936, the result might not have been as conclusively against the King as ministers assumed. But again she weakens her case by its tendentious presentation. Voices expressing the other point of view are from time to time audible. "Dear Ted. I think you are a bugger. Bill" was one succinct example, but the King's supporters get the lion's share.
It is interesting to speculate whether, if Edward VIII had stuck to his guns, Baldwin had resigned, and Churchill had led the Cavaliers into an election, the King's party might have won the day.
Probably not, but Williams's book suggests that it might have been a close-run thing. Her thesis is not totally convincing, but it is well worth presenting for all that.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The People's King: The True Story of the Abdication by Susan Williams

The People's King follows the six intense weeks leading up to the abdication of Edward VIII, considered by many to be among the most compelling love stories of the last century. Just six months before their wedding, the only people who had heard of Wallis Simpson were those people who belonged to the tiny social circle surrounding the royal family. Press coverage and newsreels were strictly censored. Through contemporary letters and diaries, many never before published, Susan Williams demonstrates the huge popularity of the King and the events that led to his downfall.

The vilification of Wallis Simpson
King Edward VIII’s abdication on 11 December 1936 was an event that shocked the nation. Susan Williams investigates how Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom Edward gave up the throne, was savaged by society.

This article was first published in the December 2006 issue of BBC History Magazine

In the summer of 1936 Lady Diana Cooper remarked that “Wallis is wearing very very badly. Her commonness and Becky Sharpishness irritate”. As far as the English upper classes were concerned, Wallis Simpson was a cunning social climber, like Becky Sharp in William Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair. They simply could not understand what King Edward VIII saw in her – a woman considered too lower-class to qualify for any kind of royal attention, as well as being a divorcee and an American.

But Edward adored her. He had met her in 1931, when he was Prince of Wales, and she was married to her second husband, Ernest Simpson. It was not long before they were in love. “My own beloved Wallis”, he wrote in 1935, “I love you more & more & more & more… I haven’t seen you once today & I can’t take it. I love you”.

Edward’s friend Winston Churchill believed that Wallis was good for him. “Although branded with the stigma of a guilty love,” he said, “no companionship could have appeared more natural, more free from impropriety or grossness”. Well-read, with a lively sense of humour, Wallis had a warm and sincere heart. She was devoted to her mother and her aunt and she did not conceal – even in circles where paid work was thought to be vulgar – the fact that her aunt worked for a living. Her servants liked her as well. “All the maids,” said a kitchen maid, “spoke well of Mrs Simpson”.

The Prince of Wales with Churchill in 1919. Churchill thought that Wallis, who Edward first met in 1931, five years before he became king, gave him "more confidence in himself". (Getty Images)

By January 1936, when Edward became king, he had decided to marry Wallis. It was said in court circles that Wallis was scheming to be queen. But this was not true: rather, she wondered if it might be better to “be content with the simple way” – where she would be his mistress, rather than his wife. But Edward swept aside her misgivings and persuaded her to start proceedings for divorce. In November 1936, when she had obtained her decree nisi, he announced his marriage plan to the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin. As sovereign, he was free to marry anyone he liked, except a Roman Catholic, under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. But Baldwin said it was impossible: public opinion would not approve of a divorced woman becoming queen. Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere came up with a solution – a morganatic marriage, by which Wallis would become Edward’s wife, but not his queen. It became known as the “Cornwall plan”, because Churchill suggested that Wallis could be styled the Duchess of Cornwall.

Until the start of December 1936, only the tiny world of Society, with a capital “S”, knew about Edward’s love for Wallis, because it had been kept out of the news. But on 2 December 1936, the story broke. The nation was stunned: the streets were packed and newspapers sold as fast as they were printed. “Papers full of harpy & the King”, wrote Mrs Baldwin in her diary.

The Establishment, led by Baldwin, the Church of England, the Tory press and the royal court, had expected the nation to oppose Edward’s plan for marriage. But to their horror, most people wanted to keep him as their king on any terms. He was immensely popular: like Princess Diana many years later, he had a star quality that was irresistible. But more than anything, he was appreciated for his concern for ordinary people, with whom he had served at the front in the years of war, and for his many visits to the poor. Many people also liked the idea that Wallis, like them, was not rich and privileged. “It is character that Counts here, & in the Great Beyond, not a Tytle” [sic], wrote a woman from South Wales to the king.

The country was divided, just as it was split in 1997 after the death of Diana. On the one side, there was the Establishment. On the other, there was the mass of ordinary people, as well as middle-class liberals and intellectuals, like George Bernard Shaw. “The People Want Their King” insisted a Daily Mail headline. Diners rose in restaurants to propose a toast to Edward and in the cinema, the National Anthem was heard with enthusiastic clapping and shouts of “We want the King”. The newsreels acknowledged there was a crisis, but presented it as a love story, not a scandal. In the Commons, MPs cheered when Churchill stood up to demand that no pressure be put on the king. Many people suspected that Baldwin wanted to get rid of Edward – that Wallis was “a godsend”, because she provided the perfect excuse to bounce him off the throne.

But over the weekend of 4–6 December, there was a proliferation of rumours through the nation, planting seeds of doubt. There was widespread speculation that Churchill was going to form a “King’s Party” and bring down the government. It was also rumoured that, in the words of Sir Horace Wilson, Baldwin’s advisor, Wallis was “selfish, self-seeking, hard, calculating, ambitious, scheming, dangerous”. Most damaging for Edward, a story was spread that Wallis was a friend of von Ribbentrop, the German ambassador, and was selling the nation’s secrets. These sorts of things, observed the publisher Francis Meynell, “were bound to be said but other incidents of which I heard made one view her with much suspicion on this point”.

A sympathetic portrait of Wallis Simpson in 'The Bystander', April 1937: she wrote in an October 1936 letter to Edward “I feel like an animal in a trap”, which is rather how she appears here. (Credit Illustrated London News)

But Wallis had met Ribbentrop only twice; the first occasion was a large luncheon, which was also attended by Churchill. Neither she nor Edward were part of any social circle frequented by Hitler’s ambassador. He was a favourite guest of Lord and Lady Londonderry and of the social hostess, Mrs Ronnie Greville, who admired Hitler and fascism. But Mrs Greville’s royal friends were Albert, the Duke of York, and his wife Elizabeth (the future George VI and Queen Elizabeth) – not Wallis and Edward.

On 3 December, the day after the story broke, Wallis had fled to the south of France to stay with friends. She was a resourceful woman: she had survived an abusive first marriage and had travelled extensively through Europe and Asia. But she had sensed a “mounting menace in the very atmosphere” and felt close to a nervous breakdown. Once away from England, she became aware that Edward, who had by now been told by Baldwin that a morganatic marriage was impossible, had decided to abdicate. She tried to stop him. On 7 December, she issued a statement to the press – that she was willing to renounce the king. Baldwin was unnerved: “Only time I was frightened. I thought [the king] might change his mind”. He quickly sent a telegram to the Dominion prime ministers, stating that he had “every reason for doubting bona fides of Mrs Simpson’s statement”.

Edward stood firm in his decision to go. On 10 December, knowing Baldwin was going to make an announcement to the House of Commons, Edward sent him a note, asking him to tell the House of Mrs Simpson’s efforts to prevent him from giving up the throne. Horace Wilson pinned a note of his own to the one Edward had sent: “I asked the PM whether he had any intention of mentioning Mrs Simpson (If he had, [I] was quite willing to draft appropriate passages!). The PM said he would make no reference”.

On 11 December, Edward gave his own speech to the nation, which Churchill had helped him to write. It had become impossible for him, he said, “to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love”. Wallis listened in France, lying on a sofa with her eyes closed. “Darling,” she wrote to him afterwards, “I want to see you touch you I want to run my own house I want to be married and to you”.

Edward VIII asked Baldwin to tell the House of Commons that Wallis tried to dissuade him from abdicating. The prime minister’s advisor noted (pictured below) that Baldwin had no intention of doing so. (Credit The National Archives)

(Credit The National Archives)

They were finally married on 3 June 1937, in France. But the new king, George VI, forbade any of Edward’s brothers or his sister from attending the wedding. Then he sent word that the title of HRH – Her Royal Highness – would not be extended to Wallis. She would be simply Duchess of Windsor. It was a wounding blow to Edward – and it meant that in the end, his marriage to Wallis was morganatic. “I hope you will never regret this sacrifice,” Wallis wrote to Edward, “and that your brother will prove to the world that we still have a position and that you will be given some jobs to do”.

But this was not to be. The couple made repeated requests for useful employment, but were turned down. It was feared in court circles that, as Horace Wilson told Neville Chamberlain in December 1936, Mrs Simpson intended “not only to come back here but… to set up a ‘Court’ of her own and – there can be little doubt – do her best to make things uncomfortable for the new occupant of the Throne. It must not be assumed that she has abandoned hope of becoming Queen of England”.

“I think you know,” wrote George VI in December 1938 to Chamberlain, now prime minister, “that neither the Queen [Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother] nor Queen Mary have any desire to meet the Duchess of Windsor”. Churchill observed sadly of the Duchess of Windsor, “No-one has been more victimised by gossip and scandal”.

The ugly rumours lingered on, even beyond Wallis’s death in 1986. In a sense, they became worse, because the Establishment’s perception of Wallis in 1936 prevailed, eclipsing the sympathetic view of ordinary people at the time. It is maintained that a China Dossier exists, listing sexual tricks learnt by Wallis in Shanghai, which she had used to ensnare the king – but nothing has been found in any archive. The allegation that she was a Nazi agent is still current, even though there is no reliable evidence in either the British or the German national archives.

In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles, a divorcee, on the very morganatic basis denied to Edward: Camilla became Duchess of Cornwall and was styled HRH. If this solution could be achieved for Charles and Camilla, then why had it not been possible for Edward and Wallis? “I am profoundly grieved at what has happened,” wrote Churchill to Lloyd George on Christmas Day 1936. “I believe the Abdication to have been altogether premature and probably quite unnecessary.”

Susan Williams is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, and author of The People's King: The True Story of the Abdication (Penguin Books, 2003).

Did the people want Wallis?
Andrew Roberts reviews The People's King by Susan Williams
12:01AM BST 24 Aug 2003

Back in January this year the Public Record Office released hundreds of files relating to the Abdication Crisis of 1936, and the historical advisor to this important event was the University of London historian Susan Williams. Having been there, I can attest to her diligence and scholarship on that occasion, and this book is based on the work she has done on that vast labyrinth of documentation.
The book's title - a quote from a letter to the King from a member of the public - was presumably chosen for its conscious reference to Diana, Princess of Wales, and indeed the similarities between Edward VIII and "the People's princess" are striking. Both were seen as unstuffy representatives of a new Zeitgeist, standing up for society's underdogs against a snobbish and hidebound Establishment.
Edward VIII's remark that "Something must be done" for the unemployed, made on a visit to South Wales in November 1936, was a precursor to the Princess of Wales's work for the dispossessed and marginalised. Yet there was always something disgraceful about the King - who had already made up his mind to abdicate when he made that radical and open-ended commitment - writing such a vast blank cheque that he secretly knew he was never going to have to be around to cash.
Just as after Diana's death huge numbers of people wrote to express their sympathy and support, so Edward VIII was deluged during the Abdication Crisis, and Susan Williams has trawled her way through thousands of the letters to extrapolate common themes. She suggests that ordinary people in Britain and the Empire were quite ready for Wallis Simpson to be Queen. Huge numbers of people, she argues, simply wanted the King to be happy.
The major media story back in January was the discovery that Special Branch believed that a car salesman called Guy Trundle was Mrs Simpson's secret lover. But Susan Williams does not accept that he necessarily was: "She found it difficult enough, as she told her aunt, to manage her marriage and the relationship with Edward, and was also caught up in a whirlwind of activities and social occasions which she found exhausting." Sex is something that people often seem to be able to make time for, however. I think the best argument against the relationship having taken place is that Mrs Simpson had an altogether greater catch in mind and wouldn't have wanted to take unnecessary risks.
It is a shame that the author did not use any of the information that was unearthed by our newspapers when Trundle's name became public earlier this year, including the testimony of his surviving friends and members of his family. They told us much about his background that would have strengthened her case.
Although Susan Williams's political feel for the Thirties is generally good, it occasionally utterly deserts her, as when she states that "Even without any backing from Germany and Italy, the King of Britain (sic) could have sought absolute rule, as a kind of benevolent despot." Does the author seriously imagine that the Household Division would have surrounded Parliament on Edward VIII's orders, with the Coldstream Guards clearing the Commons chamber of MPs?
Much of the "true story of the abdication" has already been told, principally in Michael Bloch's various works on the period, but it is good to have the newly released Cabinet minutes of the Crisis between hard covers, and much else besides. That this book is written from a point of view very sympathetic to the couple is no bad thing either, although the author did not change my view that the Empire was far better off three years later with George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace than it would have been with King Edward and Queen Wallis.
One long-standing myth - that the Duke of Windsor was a quisling-in-waiting and friend of the Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop - is dealt a firm and welcome blow. As for the duchess, who was recently described in the Guardian as a lover of Ribbentrop's, she only met him twice, both times in large groups and once when Winston Churchill was present (and uncharacteristically silent.)
It is intriguing to think that, since the British state took 67 years to release the secret papers on the 1936 Abdication, some time in January 2064 journalists and historians might be crowding into the Public Record Office to read Special Branch and other reports on the events surrounding the Princess of Wales's death. I hope that when it happens there will be a historical advisor of the skill and sympathy of Susan Williams.
Andrew Roberts's 'Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership' is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Tonight Second Episode /The Witness for the Prosecution: Trailer - BBC One

Agatha Christie's The Witness for the Prosecution review – a world where any evil is possible
Kim Cattrall is tender and quietly desperate by turns in this expertly cast, perfectly crafted murder mystery.

Lucy Mangan
Tuesday 27 December 2016 07.10 GMT

It’s 1923. He’s a poor young man, she’s a wealthy widow in a Holland Park mansion. There’s a jealous housekeeper and a weighty candlestick in the drawing room. It’s Agatha Christie on Boxing Day.

I don’t think I’ve had a happier hour all Christmas than last night’s opening episode of The Witness for the Prosecution (BBC1). Perfectly crafted, expertly cast and beautifully scripted by Sarah Phelps, who gave us her brilliant adaptation of And Then There Were None last year, it was simply all you could want from your Boxing Day treat.

Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall (to give her her full official title) is the wealthy widow, Emily French, who buys and discards young lovers under the watchful, appalled and fascinated eyes of her housekeeper Janet (Monica Dolan). It sounds like a retread of her Samantha role in SATC, but in fact she made French tender and quietly desperate by turns in a performance far more akin to her subtle, heartbreaking turn as Rudyard Kipling’s wife in My Boy Jack a few years ago. And may I say that her English accent survived the line: “After that debacle with plates and glasses, what will you do?” – which is quite the cruellest collection of words ever put into the mouth of anyone charged with reproducing postwar British vowels without being born to the purple – with an aplomb that I think deserves a special Bafta. See to it, please, could you?

The story, at least so far, is relatively simple. French is found bludgeoned to death in her home shortly after Leonard Vole (Billy Howle), her latest lover, whom she has made sole beneficiary of her will, is – according to Janet – seen leaving the house. Vole’s girlfriend Romaine Heilger (Andrea Riseborough, genuinely enigmatic, and genuinely shocking in her pivotal scene) says she can alibi him but when she finds out the extent of his infidelity, withdraws her testimony and is immediately, gleefully gathered to the bosom of the Crown to become a witness for the prosecution.

His lawyer, John Mayhew (Toby Jones, as delicate and nuanced as ever) remains convinced of Vole’s innocence. But is Janet or Romaine lying? Or both? Or, double-bluffingly, neither? Maybe Vole – who, in Phelps’ and Howle’s version, seems less of a chancer or con artist than a naive young man as hopelessly out of control of his destiny in French’s world as he was in the trenches of France where we first meet him – finally rebelled against life as a lapdog and killed her. All will be revealed, but it is a measure of the production’s quality that it almost doesn’t matter. The evocation of this shell-shocked, grief-stricken period of history is really the thing – in the hostility of her fellow chorus girls to the Austrian Romaine, to Howle’s reduction to “being priced like a piece of meat” instead of coming home to the hero’s welcome his savaged generation were promised, to Mayhew’s ruined lungs and his broken wife (Hayley Carmichael, mesmerising with barely a word spoken) sitting in their late son’s empty bedroom, there is an all-pervading sense of people moving reluctantly into and about in a world where any evil is now possible. No certainties any more, and no comfort anywhere.

I doubt there has ever been more brought by a cast, crew and writer to Agatha Christie. It is the most gorgeous gift to the viewer and this one at least looks forward with delighted anticipation and gratitude to unwrapping its second half next week.

Character descriptions

John Mayhew
Romaine Heilger
Leonard Vole
Janet McIntyre
Emily French
Alice Mayhew
Sir Charles Carter KC
Date: 12.12.2016 Last updated: 12.12.2016 at 14.54
Category: BBC One; Drama; Commissioning

John Mayhew
Played by Toby Jones

Burdened by poverty and guilt, John Mayhew lives a grey and passionless existence. Leonard’s case changes everything for this exhausted solicitor; his personal connection to the young man fires Mayhew with an unexpected determination to fight for him, to stop at nothing to prove Leonard's innocence…

Romaine Heilger
Played by Andrea Riseborough

A child of the First World War, Romaine Heilger emerges from the depths of the European bloodbath an ingenious survivor and afraid of nothing. At heart a loner, this Austrian singer’s enigmatic allure commands attention wherever she roams; Romaine is destined to enter the limelight sooner or later…

Leonard Vole
Played by Billy Howle

Haunted by his time at the front, Leonard Vole has been spat out of the war restless, disillusioned and incapable of settling on a job. A friendless innocent in a corrupt world, the odds stacked against him, Leonard is accused of a brutal murder and only one person can save him from the noose…

Janet McIntyre
Played by Monica Dolan

Devoted to the point of possessive, Emily French’s loyal housekeeper has an uncanny ability to pre-empt her mistress’s practical as well as emotional needs, suggesting a bond that surpasses a platonic master-servant relationship. However, Janet’s carefully controlled universe is challenged with the arrival of Leonard Vole…

Emily French
Played by Kim Cattrall

The staggeringly wealthy widow Emily French is beautiful, glamorous and bored. Used to getting exactly what she wants, she glides through the London highlife, indulging in champagne, raucous nightclubs and meaningless affairs with her favourite pastime: younger men.

Alice Mayhew
Played by Hayley Carmichael

Stifled by years of repressed emotion, Alice has as much verve and vigor as the grey meals she makes Mayhew for dinner. Haunted by the memory of her son who died at war, her few, precious moments of happiness are spent in his bedroom, left perfectly intact since the moment he left.

Sir Charles Carter KC
Played by David Haig

Whilst he enjoys a hearty lunch, this wealthy barrister salivates even more over the prospect of arguing sensational crime cases. He considers Leonard’s case to be a lost cause, until he finds out just how wealthy Leonard will be if he’s proved innocent.

The Witness for the Prosecution cast share their thoughts on Agatha Chri...

Toby Jones talks about his role in Agatha Christie's The Witness for the...

Kim Cattrall on being part of Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Pros...

The Gentleman's Farm: Elegant Country House Living

The Gentleman's Farm: Elegant Country House Living
Written by Laurie Ossman and Debra A. McClane, Photographed by Walter Smalling

This sumptuous volume features gracious country homes that blend the very best of vernacular tradition, classical architecture, and high-style elegance. For four centuries, the ideal of the gentleman’s farm has inspired Virginians to create extraordinary homes on landscapes of unparalleled beauty. Often places of retreat, these houses display the virtues of the very best of American historic and classical architecture, incorporating harmonious proportion, elegant interiors, and thoughtful design in traditional styles. Each one in its way a model of taste and beauty, the houses of The Gentleman’s Farm are an expression of an American ideal of domestic happiness, the very picture of home, which has served to influence the style of residential building across the country. The houses featured, including a centuries-old home for a president as well as recently built residences, present a stylish, traditional aesthetic, hallmarks of which include warm, wood-paneled libraries, plaster walls hung with paintings of horse riding scenes, classical motifs, lovingly wrought architectural detail, screened porches, large windows that frame inspiring vistas of the country landscape—all those things that say home to the country and suburban gentleman and gentlewoman”

Laurie Ossman is director of museum affairs at the Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, Rhode Island, author of Great Houses of the South, and coauthor of Carrère & Hastings: The Masterworks.

Debra A. McClane is an architectural historian and preservationist and the author of Botetourt County, Virginia, Revisited.

Walter Smalling is a widely published architectural photographer whose books include Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735–1835.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Lisbon Connection encore / Diniz & Cruz

During my last visit in Lisbon, the city where I was born, I took the opportunity to visit Diniz & Cruz a top Factory and Creation Platform, which combines European Standards with Portuguese “gentillesse” and “savoir faire”.
They have important international  customers and they also create and produce for each season, their own collections very well balanced between tradition of craftmanship , technological development , great quality of materials and good taste with a dashing touch.
I was very well received with uncomparable Portuguese hospitality.
I had in the back of my mind the prototype / three piece green tweed suit, used in the making of the promotion film “The Lisbon Connection” …
After a very useful and  pleasant day chatting and visiting the important production line and seeing lots of beautiful men's cloths, I left.
Then, when i was already standing at the bus stop, I was really suprised with the unique, warm and “gentile “ Portuguese touch . They had found the unique suit and a car appeared to take me back to my desired piece.
To send them and you all a “Christmas card” with the best wishes for the New Year I asked Michael Floor to take some photographs of me wearing it, at Tommy Page Vintage Menswear, Amsterdam

Feliz Natal e Bom Ano Novo !

JEEVES / António Sérgio Rosa de Carvalho

Apresentação Diniz & Cruz

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Mini- Aristocrat / Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf. / VIDEO: 1969 Wolseley Hornet - Waimak Classic Cars - New Zealand

The Wolseley Hornet built at Longbridge was a revival of a previous name from the 1930’s Wolseley Hornet. This was applied to this special version of the Mini, in a similar manner to the Riley Elf, featuring a longer tail and enlarged boot, but with the appropriate Wolseley grille and better-equipped interior.
Initially the Wolseley Hornet had rubber-cone suspension along with the standard 848cc engine as with the mini, but with improved interior and more sound-deadening material than the standard Mini.
In 1963 the Mk II appeared with a larger 998cc engine increasing the power to 38 bhp, top speed to 77 mph and 0-60 in 24.1 seconds. Fuel consumption improved slightly to 35 mpg. Shortly after the Mk II launched Hydrolastic suspension was introduced in 1964.
The Mk III appeared in 1966, a notable change being the sliding windows upgraded to wind-up windows, and face level ventilation added to the fascia.
1969 saw the end of the long-tail derivative of the Mini for both the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf.