Prince Edward: traitor king or duped duke?

Everyone loves a royal romance and a royal wedding? Not when it was Edward, Prince of Wales and Mrs Simpson.

Everyone loves a royal romance and a royal wedding?

Not when it was Edward, Prince of Wales and Mrs Simpson.

17 Carnations by Andrew Morton is subtitled The Windsors, the Nazis and the Cover-up and focuses on the association the then Prince of Wales had with prominent Nazis in the 1930’s. The title 17 Carnations refers to the flowers the German Ambassador to England, von Ribbentrop, supposedly sent to Mrs Simpson every day – a reminder of a brief love affair.

Book Cover 17 CarnationsThe cover shows a photo of the one time the Duke and Duchess of Windsor met Hitler. No one is smiling. The Duchess looks into the camera cautiously; the Duke looks into the middle distance with a smug half-smile. Hitler is aware he has pulled off a public relations coup, but gives nothing away.

The back cover asks the question: Traitor King or Duped Duke? In other words, was the Prince of Wales deliberately traitorous? Many German leaders felt that there would not have been a war had Edward been crowned king, as he would have been installed as a puppet king.

The book is not so much about what caused the abdication, but the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s relationship with Germany. Andrew Morton does portray the Prince as an indulgent and selfish playboy with a string of lovers who were protected from the press by the customs of the day. The Prince also displayed signs of depression. A number of
British leaders were convinced Wallis Simpson was a German spy. At that time, it was still illegal for an heir to the throne to marry a commoner, only another member of a European royal family was appropriate.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to suspect the Prince of Wales of collusion at worst, and naivety at best. However, for those of us who did not live through the time it is easy to underestimate the mood of appeasement, and the horrors of war proponents were wishing to avoid.

The royal family, George V, Queen Mary, Princess Mary and the Princes known in the family as David, Albert and George are portrayed as dysfunctional. When the Prince of Wales chose his own happiness over duty, the family never forgave him. He was in virtual exile and stripped of much of his income. Invited, none of the family would attend his wedding.

There was great fear in the government that Edward would try to reclaim the throne. He had been tremendously popular with the people. It was believed that this would be master minded by the Nazis, and indeed, after the war a file was found buried deep in a German forest with just this planning in place. It’s a fascinating story of intrigue.

Andrew Morton has written quite a number of unauthorized biographies and is noted for “Her True Story in her Own
Words”, Diana’s story. He has also written a book about William and Catherine.

Frankly, the book needed tighter editing. I found myself re-reading sentences as the subject of the sentence seemed to have wandered away several clauses later.

If you like British history this book is a thought provoking read just before our time. I think it explains much of the standards the current royal family serves by today.

17 Carnations by Andrew Morton is available from Dymocks in paperback and eBook formats.

Dymocks Click here

    • Robyn McCarthy  

      Well I think it’s every 100 years they release files of so-called facts to the public. Unfortunately I won’t be around to witness it, but would love to see the one about how they murdered Diana. Just too perfect the way they got her out of the way.Fergie didn’t matter she wasn’t the Mother of the future King!!

  1. Interesting but not fact I suspect. Just that picture of Hitler makes my skin crawl.

  2. Over the centuries many good people have been photographed with not so good people, does not have to mean anything sinister was going on….

  3. History relates that he was not overly bright. By abdicating he made way for a better man – and of course our present Queen.

  4. The Duke (or Duck) is / was a dupe and a dope, and a dunce, and on so many fronts

  5. He was too stupid to know he was being used the duchess lead him around on a dog she was hoping to be Queen.

  6. The Duke of Windsor was a slave to his devotion to Wallis…she thought it was very in to be seen with celebrities particularly people like Hitler who was thought to be very innovative by many people in those times…as a result of this gullabillity by both Edward and Wallis was exploited by this clever devious man.

  7. I have read a little on this and I think at that time Prince Edward was was supportive of Hitler. Hitler even tried to marry him off to a German Princess. The British Government suspected Wallis Simpson of being German spy..will be buying that book thanks

  8. Most of the royal family were related to germans.they had to change their name to windsor

    • Phillip is too, he’s from the House of Schleswig-Holstein etc. He changed his name to Mountbatten (his maternal grand-parents name) just prior to marrying Elizabeth. Part of his education was in Germany. It was the royals who instigated WW1, many of Victoria’s daughters were married to Germans. That family have a lot to answer to ! It was Winston Churchhill who passed through parliament that he and Elizabeths family would be known as Windsor and not Mountbatten, although I think they are now known as Mountbatton – Windor.

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