Edward VIII ‘was a traitor’ says Andrew Lownie
King Edward VIII reigned for just 326 days before he abdicated in 1936, ceding the throne to his brother George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father. Edward gave up his royal duties so he could marry Wallis Simpson, whose status as a twice-divorced American socialite was bitterly opposed by the British monarchy and Church of England. After the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s exile from Britain, they moved to France and developed Nazi sympathies in the run-up to World War 2, which including a tour of Germany at the invitation of Adolf Hitler.
The couple’s shocking Nazi links and wartime treachery have been exposed in Channel 4’s new documentary, ‘Edward VIII: Britain's Traitor King’.
It features a previously unheard recording from the BBC archives that Edward made in France, in which he called for Britain to surrender to the Nazis before the war started.
In the message, dated May 8, 1939, the disgraced monarch called for Britain to strike a “peaceful settlement” with Nazi Germany, but the BBC decided not to broadcast the chilling recording.
The author A. N. Wilson, who appeared in the film, commented on the Duke’s eerie remarks.
He said: “The BBC were furious because they felt that the impartiality of the BBC would be infringed.
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“They felt that the Nazis were using the Duke of Windsor for their own propaganda, which they were of course.
“Nobody quite knew what was going to happen in May, but certainly by later in 1939, it was fairly obvious what was going to happen.”
England’s former King, who has German ancestry, saw himself as closer to Germany than Britain, even after the war began in September 1939.
He went even further than requesting that the British surrender by called for Germany to “bomb Britain into peace” in 1940, just months before the Blitz.
Edward’s shocking request included him mediating a peace conference that would see the Germans crown him as Sovereign once again.
The former King’s call for the Nazis to attack Britain was intercepted by Dr Ricardo Espírito Santo.
The German agent, who mixed with Edward in Portugal, passed the information to a German minister in Lisbon, who in turn sent the information to Berlin.
Edward’s treachery was uncovered by British historian Dr Andrew Lownie, whose research the Channel 4 film is based on.
Speaking during the programme, he expressed his shock at the revelation that Edward had pleaded for Britain to be bombed.
In the film he analysed a secret cable the German ambassador in Lisbon sent to Berlin in 1940.
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Reading from the document, he said: “I think it is one of the most shocking documents that I found in my research.
“He characterises himself as a firm supporter of a peaceful arrangement with Germany.
“And then this bit. The Duke definitely believes the continued severe bombing would make England ready for peace.
“This is extraordinary – here is the former king of Britain saying if you bomb his family and country, that is the best way to bring the pursuit of peace.
“He is quite prepared to go to those lengths to achieve those aims. It is chilling and sinister and frankly very shocking.”
‘Edward VIII: Britain's Traitor King’ is available on All 4.
‘Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’ was written by Andrew Lownie and published by Blink Publishing in 2021. It is available here. An updated version has just been published.