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  #361  
Old 12-07-2008, 09:16 PM
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I have always quite liked the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Duke was very straightforward about his intentions and was quite willing to step aside. In both of their books, they are very clear that they wanted to be together and they wanted to do what 'was best' for the crown, as advised by the government and the church, even if it meant stepping down for him to have the 'woman he loved'. There was no 'I'll have my cake and eat it to because I can'...
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  #362  
Old 12-07-2008, 09:22 PM
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Unfortunately both these books were written with the benefit of hindsight and thus can't be relied upon to show the true feelings of the participants at the time.

This is because they would want to show themselves in a good light, which may not necessarily be the case at all. Unless there are diary entries, or other corroboration from the time, these books have to be regarded rather carefully as they can't be construed as reliable accounts on their own.
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  #363  
Old 12-07-2008, 09:53 PM
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Do you have the book 'Wallis and Edward: Letters 1931-1937'? I find it very frustrating on this board when books 1. exhaustively researched for libel are dismissed as 'not being a statement from the royal in question'. 2. Books such as 'A King's Story' and 'The Heart Has It's Reasons' while certainly a statement from the Royal in question 'cant be relied upon to show the true feelings'. THEY WROTE THE BOOKS PERSONALLY. How dismissive to say, unfortunately both these books were written with the benefit of hindsight. How else should they be written....with the gift of prophesy?
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  #364  
Old 12-07-2008, 10:18 PM
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Wasn't there a quote attributed to the Duke saying that he was going to marry Wallis and make her Queen, Empress of India, and the whole bag of tricks (or words to that effect)? He was forced into a choice of marrying her or staying King, and by then she'd already divorced Ernest Simpson and was pretty much alone apart from Edward. The choice wasn't his, it was an ultimatum presented to him by Baldwin. His efforts to look into a morganatic marriage show that he was hoping to have at least some of his cake and eat it even if he couldn't have the whole cake.
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  #365  
Old 12-07-2008, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Do you have the book 'Wallis and Edward: Letters 1931-1937'? I find it very frustrating on this board when books 1. exhaustively researched for libel are dismissed as 'not being a statement from the royal in question'. 2. Books such as 'A King's Story' and 'The Heart Has It's Reasons' while certainly a statement from the Royal in question 'cant be relied upon to show the true feelings'. THEY WROTE THE BOOKS PERSONALLY. How dismissive to say, unfortunately both these books were written with the benefit of hindsight. How else should they be written....with the gift of prophesy?
Like all autobiographies they aren't of themselves reliable - not just because they were the Duke of Windsor and his wife but all autobiographies. I don't care who wrote the autobiography I say the same thing and Winston Churchill sums it up best 'History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.'

When people write their own story, they do so with the benefit of hindsight and that has to be considered when a person reads the work - that the author would be trying to show themselves in the best light.

I have nothing against the D of W or his Duchess, but I do have a vested interest in people being aware of the pitfalls of relying on the written words of people writing their own life story. It is part of what I do for a living as a History teacher.

Another example is Albert Speer - now if we take his autobiography as reliable then he didn't know about the excesses of Hitler's regime but we have a number of diary entries, speeches and other comments made at the time, not with the benefit of hindsight, that have come to light since Speer's death that make it clear that the man didn't tell the truth in his autobiography.

I am not saying the the Duke and Duchess lied just that without corroboration from other sources they can't be relied on.

If you don't like someone pointing out what is basic knowledge for Historians I am sorry but I will repeat - autobiographies aren't reliable as they are written by the person who will wish to make themselves appear in a better light.

I have read both the books in question and felt sick reading them as they seemed so false to me. They just didn't read right when put against events and other people's versions of events. By all means believe them if you wish but please don't dismiss my comments just because I write from the understanding of how historians deal with books like this.
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  #366  
Old 12-08-2008, 12:23 AM
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Iluvbertie, you are absolutly right ... autobiographies should always be read as an extra - never on a stand alone basis. Only then it is possible to compare, and frankly, I find this highly interesting. In the case of Churchill it was BTW mainly John Charmley who put an end to the legend. In particular he points out when and how WC has tried to cloud the truth.
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  #367  
Old 12-08-2008, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Do you have the book 'Wallis and Edward: Letters 1931-1937'? I find it very frustrating on this board when books 1. exhaustively researched for libel are dismissed as 'not being a statement from the royal in question'. 2. Books such as 'A King's Story' and 'The Heart Has It's Reasons' while certainly a statement from the Royal in question 'cant be relied upon to show the true feelings'. THEY WROTE THE BOOKS PERSONALLY. How dismissive to say, unfortunately both these books were written with the benefit of hindsight. How else should they be written....with the gift of prophesy?
Both these books were written personally with the help of an able ghost writer, the best I can say about these two books is that they were extremely economical with the truth.....and anything compromising was just left out.
The letters 1931 -1937 are so saccharine that I find them hard to stomach. Their baby talk when they were well into their middle age is a bit too much for me. Does the girl love the boy eenum? etc etc. What a lot of............ please fill this space with your own word.
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  #368  
Old 12-08-2008, 04:07 AM
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This is what the Citation of Sources sticky says about autobiographies:

"The most reliable sources are primary sources such as speeches and other official documents, transcripts of TV and radio interviews and other appearances, as well as scholarly books and articles where the author identifies the person who provided the information. Autobiographies combine the advantage of insider knowledge with the disadvantage that the author often has a self-serving agenda; information in these books should be judged in the context of other available information on the subject."
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  #369  
Old 12-08-2008, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Sounds kinda like some of the stuff Princess Diana was into decades later. It seems like quite a lot of royals have been into mystical things like that going back to Elizabeth I and John Dee or possibly even further.
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  #370  
Old 12-08-2008, 02:59 PM
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Encountering a critical or unfamiliar situation can cause stress that cripples one's ability to search for a sensible solution. Under such circumstances, consulting mystics/clairvoyants takes on a role of a psychological safety buffer that reduces anxiety and may/may not contribute to a resolution. Thus, it is not surprising that people from all walks for life may seek of advice of the chosen ones, who claim to have a ability to foretell the future. I think that Edward VIII's situation was stressful enough to seek this safety buffer, which could help to find an applicable solution. Let us say that Edward VIII showed his human side by consulting a mystic...
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  #371  
Old 12-08-2008, 08:25 PM
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Both these books were written personally with the help of an able ghost writer, the best I can say about these two books is that they were extremely economical with the truth.....and anything compromising was just left out.
The letters 1931 -1937 are so saccharine that I find them hard to stomach. Their baby talk when they were well into their middle age is a bit too much for me. Does the girl love the boy eenum? etc etc. What a lot of............ please fill this space with your own word.
I think they "omit" a healthy amount. I read the auto bio. on my lovely Ava and found out she omitted some things that showed up in another bio and also from a 3rd party who corraborated. So yes, I think they are in the best possible light, but need to be compared with other biographies and autobiographies in the same vein.
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  #372  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:34 PM
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My point is, if Biographies are to be treated as untrustworthy because there is 'no statement' from the Royal in question, and Autobiographies are 'cant be relied upon', should I just burn my library now?
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  #373  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:46 PM
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No, you should just apply critical thinking. I didn't say autobiographies can't be relied on, I said they should be judged in the context of other available information on the subject. Pretty much as Russo said.
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  #374  
Old 12-08-2008, 10:51 PM
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My point is, if Biographies are to be treated as untrustworthy because there is 'no statement' from the Royal in question, and Autobiographies are 'cant be relied upon', should I just burn my library now?
No - you need to assess the reliability of each source and get corroboration from a range of source - pro and con.

Another example - there is a soldier in WWI writing the following entry in his diary - 'A very quiet day here today, no fighting, no one in my platoon killed or injured, could here some shelling in the distance but all in all a great day to be in the British army'. (There is at least one diary entry out there like this). However the date is the 1st July, 1916. For the British Army this is the worst day in their history as it was the first day of the Battle of the Somme on which 20,000 British soldiers died and 60,000 were wounded. Relying only on one version of events is not the way to go. This entry was used in an HSC Trial paper given to me a number of years ago where the teacher who set the paper was using his grand-father's diary!! Lucky for him as his father was born after the war and if the grand-father had been elsewhere on that day who knows...

Another example from WWI - seven soldiers have returned to the trenches and are telling the captain what had happened to the Lt. 5 say they saw the Lt get shot and killed, one said he saw him fall over, and the 7th said that he saw the Lt get shot, fall over and get taken away by Turkish soldiers. On the balance of probablity people would say that the 5 were right wouldn't they. So did the Captain who reported that to his superiors who then sent the info home and his parents were told that their son was dead. However, the day before the Red Cross had told them that their son was a POW. Even when the majority see something one way they still mightn't have the full story. (This story was told to be my a lady who has spent most of the last three years researching what happened to the Australian POWs of the Turks during WWI).

Be critical and be like a jury - look at all the evidence both from the participants and observers, from official and non-official documents.

Find out what you can about the author - e.g. we all know that Burrell is pro-Diana whereas Dimbleby is pro-Charles so when we read their work we know what their perspective is. Be the same with other biographies and autobiographies remembering that autobiographies are automatically pro-the person writing them. Put what they say alongside the views of others from the time - do they agree or are they saying different things.

With more modern Royals I refuse to believe a lot of what is said by some 'close source' etc because we don't know who this source is, what their relationship is with said royal, why they are saying it etc.
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  #375  
Old 12-09-2008, 04:27 AM
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I absolutely agree with you IluvBertie, just one little detail Burrell, in my opinion, is more pro Burrell than pro Princess Diana.
In the case of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor they left out anything that could be politically embarassing to them, obviously they didn´t find their behaviour embarassing. When they fled to Portugal via Spain people who travelled with them in one biography praise them to high heaven for being so good and nice but at the same time back in Paris he was considered by his superiors, but of course he wasn´t, to be punished for desertion. He put his wife first before war and duty. Of course some people would praise him for that, and others may have another opinion. I have read every book I can get my hands on about them, they fascinate me, but the more I read the more I dislike them.
Not long ago I was shown the house they stayed in when they were in Cascais. The dining room was just as it was when they were here. The swimming pool is the same one where she discovered she just had to have her eau de nil coloured swimming costume, which she had left by mistake behind in
France, and sent someone to fetch it from her house which was then in occupied France. Her maid was sent to collect belongings too, of course all this was done by asking favours from the German authorities which wasn´t exactly legal. This I believe was not mentioned in her autobiography. Her time in China, in her autobiography, is very lightly mentioned. She had her good points and her really despicable points.
She was a wonderful hostess, she must have been a wonderful guest as most of her life she had long spells in other peoples´ houses as a guest and they seemed to enjoy her company. She introduced club sandwiches to England before her marriage when she was Edward´s mistress but made the royal servants sometimes get up well after they had gone to bed to make them for her guests. Her sense of fashion was unique, she was always impeccable (except for that ghastly wedding dress she wore) a not very good looking woman who quite often looked almost beautiful.
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  #376  
Old 12-09-2008, 11:44 AM
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Her sense of fashion was unique, she was always impeccable (except for that ghastly wedding dress she wore) a not very good looking woman who quite often looked almost beautiful.
I liked the wedding dress. IMHO it was the silly hat that ruined the look. Plus Wallis obviously wasn't a model and the poses and facial expressions she used for her wedding pics did not look good. Very few other women have wedding pictures that are so unflattering and I think one of the reasons people today think of Wallis as having been so ugly is because those pictures were the most widely distributed photographs of her.
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  #377  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:28 PM
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I agree with what you say for the most part, Al-Bina; but I don't think that Edward VIII was just showing his "human side" when he consulted a psychic. He was Supreme Governor of the Church of England and should have been aware of the Church's position on psychics and clairovoyants.

Quote:
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Encountering a critical or unfamiliar situation can cause stress that cripples one's ability to search for a sensible solution. Under such circumstances, consulting mystics/clairvoyants takes on a role of a psychological safety buffer that reduces anxiety and may/may not contribute to a resolution. Thus, it is not surprising that people from all walks for life may seek of advice of the chosen ones, who claim to have a ability to foretell the future. I think that Edward VIII's situation was stressful enough to seek this safety buffer, which could help to find an applicable solution. Let us say that Edward VIII showed his human side by consulting a mystic...
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  #378  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:29 PM
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Her sense of fashion was unique, she was always impeccable (except for that ghastly wedding dress she wore) a not very good looking woman who quite often looked almost beautiful.
Wasn't the wedding dress really pants? I forget.
She was stunning. Not beautiful, but handsome, and oh so awfully clever!
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  #379  
Old 12-09-2008, 08:33 PM
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Yes, Burrell is definitely more pro-Burrell than pro-Diana! That's a very good way of putting it, Menarue.

Speaking of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the author of A Spirit Undaunted (a book about George VI during WWII) wrote in his comments that the more he learned about the Windsors, the more relieved he was that Britain was delivered from "that odious couple." I tend to agree with both him and you in that way. I hadn't heard the story about Wallis's bathing suit before. The selfishness is astonishing.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:37 PM
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This link says "Dress", though it looks like a pantsuit to me!
http://lacomunidad.elpais.com/blogfi...pson_dress.jpg
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