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  #1741  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:06 AM
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I can't see that David would ever be content to keep his mouth shut if he had permanent access to a political office so I agree with you, I think they were right to have concerns. As ever with this discussion, I think of what Princess Margaret said when someone asked her about the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986, "It wasn't her we didn't like, it was him".
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  #1742  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:10 AM
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I'm not sure if he wuodl have done much. I thnk he was too fitful, to have say gone to the trouble of standing for parliament etc. But I can understand that the RF feared that he might, purely to embarrass them. Which suggests that they didn't have a good opinion of him by then, and I don't know if it was all due to the Abdication. I think that his character did deteriorate, and when he got inot a relationship with Wallis who was pretty selfish and had lilttle idea of Britsih RF ways to restrain her, he got more selfish.
Its true he was bored with their life abroad but I think that he kind of realised that he wasn't really welcome in England and perhaps never would be again...
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  #1743  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:23 AM
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I don't think that Wallis was selfish per se. Most accounts from those who met her describe her as warm and generous. The Royal Family's relationship with Wallis can't just be seen through the very biased eyes of the Queen Mother. From the early days of her relationship with the King right through to her widowhood, Wallis enjoyed friendly relationships with other members of the Royal Family including the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and even the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal.

Wallis is a pretty integral character in understanding why the Royal Family changed as it did in the 1950s. The Duke of Gloucester for example gave the Queen Mother a pretty stern ticking off when she tried to rebuke him for visiting the Duke and Duchess when he was in Paris. Well...why shouldn't he? I think the Queen Mother often assumed it was "her" family and not the Royal Family and she couldn't understand why people like Princess Marina or even Princess Alice (Athlone) didn't refuse to meet Wallis or even to socialise with her post-abdication when she'd obviously "killed the King".

The fact is, the Queen Mother was a little delusional. Stress may have contributed to George VI's illness yes but I'm sure smoking 120 cigarettes a day didn't exactly help matters along. Wallis was brash and outspoken, she wasn't deferential and she did enjoy being the centre of attention. But so did the Queen Mother. She expected other members of the Royal Family to simply do as she said on family matters and whilst the Queen was happy to indulge her mother to keep the peace, even the Queen couldn't tell her uncle that he was banned from ever visiting his brother for as long as the Duke of Windsor lived. Neither did I think she ever really felt the need to. In allowing the Queen Mother to call the shots when he was King, George VI actually set her up to fail because once she was just a Queen Dowager she had absolutely no influence in terms of position and could only rely on family loyalty. Which most extended members of the Windsor clan never felt they owed her anyway.

Historical figures are never heroes or villains. They're human beings with all the flaws and foibles, positives and negatives that we all have. Wallis may have irritated the servants and forgotten to curtsey but that doesn't make her selfish or wicked as the Queen Mother wanted us all to believe. And I think that as time went on, even the Queen Mother got over all that herself. Once the Duke was dead, she sent flowers and Christmas cards to Wallis when she never had before and she no longer complained when members of the family visited Wallis in Paris before her illness took hold.

If Princess Marina was happy to be in Wallis' company, I think that's a fairly decent gauge of the fact that the Royal Family never made any attempt to restrain Wallis because she didn't need restraining. "We Four" may have made certain attempts to keep her at arms length and took out some pretty sensible insurance against her running off with husband #4 with an HRH in tow but realistically, this idea of Wallis being a homewrecker or a wicked woman is rooted in a bitter family feud that was totally avoidable. The Queen Mother needed someone to demonise for the loss of her husband and her position. She chose Wallis. In reality, the only person she should have blamed was David.
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  #1744  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:33 AM
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I think that Edward VIII was made a royal duke primarily because he was the son of a King. As I mentioned in a previous post, he was introduced as His Royal Highness Prince Edward when he made his abdication speech. To me this shows that whatever disappointment and ill will that was felt by TPTB, Edward was allowed to maintain his royal status after he abdicated. IMO it is not a big leap to deem that a son and brother of a monarch would be granted a royal dukedom.
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  #1745  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:36 AM
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One thing that stands out for me to this day is that when it came to King Edward VIII's abdication of the throne and its aftermath, I believe the best thing the powers that be could have done is what they did regarding titles, exile out of the UK and pretty much ostracization by members of the family, it put deep emphasis on the seriousness of the situation.

Perhaps David thought that with abdicating, he'd just turn the "duty" stuff over to his brother and be able to marry Wallis and continue to live as he always had with the rights and privileges of a prince of the UK. This attitude, in and of itself, tells me that the seriousness and the impact of his abdication didn't register with him in full measure. The very fact that for years afterwards he continued to insist his wife be addressed as "Your Royal Highness" and afforded the respect due to a HRH, tells me that he was a man that wanted the rights and privileges and the perks of being royal without the responsibilities. Things didn't go exactly as he wished them to go and he suffered the consequences and bemoaned them forever after. The man wanted his cake and eat it too.

It was this example of a man taking his duties and responsibilities so lightly that boosted and instilled an even more solid sense of duty and service and responsibility in those that followed in David's footsteps. Especially with WWII hovering on the horizon at the time. That is the silver lining in an otherwise very black cloud on British history.
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  #1746  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
The man wanted his cake and eat it too.
This is so spot on Osipi. David really was selfish in a way that Wallis was not. It's telling that even when he petitioned the government for jobs after the Second World War, it was only ever a role that was based in entertaining or hosting parties. He was a vain man of reasonable intelligence but little substance. And your quote equally relates so well to what he did as King. He wanted to make changes but the effort was too much and so he never followed through, preferring just to show off instead. He wanted to interfere in politics but he didn't want to put in the leg work when the government welcomed his suggestions and gave him proposals for gradual reform. He was ultimately unsuited for life as a member of the Royal Family and he paid the price for his selfishness. We know that he had regrets later in life which he blamed others for. But David blaming the Queen Mother for making his life unbearable post abdication is just as ridiculous as the Queen Mother blaming Wallis for the death of George VI.
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  #1747  
Old 12-09-2017, 09:43 AM
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I think there was a very real concern this instability would permanently damage the monarchy, perhaps even bring it down. They wanted David and Wallis well away from them (and they were forever in exile from England except for a few visits as I recall).

Yes I do see David as a man who wanted to have his cake and eat it too. Bit unrealistic I think.

LaRae
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  #1748  
Old 12-09-2017, 12:33 PM
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Airbourne did you mean David was ignorant as to the consequences?


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  #1749  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Queen Claude View Post
I think that there were strong feelings and suspicions about Wallis that led to her not being given HRH styling when she married Edward, I get that but I think that as years passed Wallis proved that she was not going to besmirch her royal position in the ways originally thought, and therefore IMO (and I am not an admirer of the Windsors), the rationale for not giving her HRH styling moved from understandable to petty, vindictive and/or scapegoating.
Exactly so. I agree. The populace fell into line behind this spin.

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
It's important to note that the government of the day was at odds with the Palace on this issue. The government had no issue with Wallis being styled 'HRH' as they simply saw it as a courtesy title but they were well aware that the King was being pushed to deny Wallis the style by his wife and by his mother. For that reason, they asked Lord Wigram and the Attorney General Sir Donald Somervell to see if there could be any possibility of a legal challenge in the courts if Wallis was denied her style, rank and title which she would usually enjoy as the wife of a Prince of the United Kingdom and/or a Royal Duke.
Gaudete, thank you for your entire post (though I've excerpted but a part). It is how I have always understood it.

The animus towards Wallis (on the face of it) is perplexing to me. The reason given for the Queen (at the time) having animus was because it impacted her husband's life span, but of course that is not logical, because in 1936/37 there was no way to know how long the new King would live, yet still there was animus, so the animus has had to originate from some other cause.

I know of one cause floated that gets serious, vehement push-back to the point of ridicule. It's a curious tale.

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The Royal Standard wasn't draped over Wallis' coffin. There was only a wreath from the Queen.
Even to the bitter end.
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  #1750  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:15 PM
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Elizabeth might not have been able to tell the length of her husband's life, but she did know he was a nervy, highly strung man, a stutterer, who had also suffered from stomach ulcers in World War One. He was never particularly robust.

She knew Bertie was a worrier and conscientious. This was not someone who would bear the burdens of kingship lightly. Elizabeth is reported to have replied to a remark about Edward looking younger since the Abdication with the remark 'Yes, look who has the dark lines under his eyes now!'
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  #1751  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Elizabeth might not have been able to tell the length of her husband's life, but she did know he was a nervy, highly strung man, a stutterer, who had also suffered from stomach ulcers in World War One. He was never particularly robust.

She knew Bertie was a worrier and conscientious. This was not someone who would bear the burdens of kingship lightly. Elizabeth is reported to have replied to a remark about Edward looking younger since the Abdication with the remark 'Yes, look who has the lines under his eyes now!'
I agree with your assessment. I think George VI was a much better King for Britain than Edward VIII, so the country and world benefited from the abdication. But there is no question being King, especially during the war, took its toll on Bertie.
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  #1752  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:30 PM
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Women were/are often accused of exploiting men for selfish purposes (power, wealth, status). Perhaps to Queen Elizabeth, Wallis was the easy scapegoat. It was more acceptable to blame the outsider, a woman, seen by a few as a vamp, a social nobody--than to blame either the Duke or the King (the Duke for abdicating, the King for smoking his way into an early grave).

I do wonder (speculate?), however, if forcing the abdication was as much related to the government's distrust of Edward VIII as it was related to his proposed marriage. If there was distrust in 1936, it was certainly demonstrated to be well-founded in the later part of the 30's and during the war.
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  #1753  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
I can't see that David would ever be content to keep his mouth shut if he had permanent access to a political office so I agree with you, I think they were right to have concerns. As ever with this discussion, I think of what Princess Margaret said when someone asked her about the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986, "It wasn't her we didn't like, it was him".
Loving your posts, Gaudete! Great historical context, as in below.

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
I don't think that Wallis was selfish per se. Most accounts from those who met her describe her as warm and generous. The Royal Family's relationship with Wallis can't just be seen through the very biased eyes of the Queen Mother. From the early days of her relationship with the King right through to her widowhood, Wallis enjoyed friendly relationships with other members of the Royal Family including the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and even the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal.

Wallis is a pretty integral character in understanding why the Royal Family changed as it did in the 1950s. The Duke of Gloucester for example gave the Queen Mother a pretty stern ticking off when she tried to rebuke him for visiting the Duke and Duchess when he was in Paris. Well...why shouldn't he? I think the Queen Mother often assumed it was "her" family and not the Royal Family and she couldn't understand why people like Princess Marina or even Princess Alice (Athlone) didn't refuse to meet Wallis or even to socialise with her post-abdication when she'd obviously "killed the King".
When assessing an historical figure one has to look at how those around the person responded to them, and in Wallis' case she definitely was sufficiently interesting to warrant (repeated) visits. Even Charles! That says something in my book.

Some have rationalized an animus because she was 'ugly'. What to say? Large jaw and large mole.....mannish......yet another confirmation of the 'good looking' bias. (A now deceased princess who was 'pretty' remains iconic imbued with ersatz sainthood, yet this princess' personal relationships were routinely shredded to pieces by same, and she actively attacked the BRF, yet she is adored: bias regarding looks imo).

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
The fact is, the Queen Mother was a little delusional.
Interesting idea. I am more inclined to lend credence to the idea floated that she had something of a crush on David. Even David spoke of it. Her motives were complex.

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
Wallis was brash and outspoken, she wasn't deferential and she did enjoy being the centre of attention. But so did the Queen Mother. She expected other members of the Royal Family to simply do as she said on family matters
Interesting comparison. Perhaps they were too much alike! Ha!

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
Historical figures are never heroes or villains. They're human beings with all the flaws and foibles, positives and negatives that we all have. Wallis may have irritated the servants and forgotten to curtsey but that doesn't make her selfish or wicked as the Queen Mother wanted us all to believe.
Thank you for so saying!

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
And I think that as time went on, even the Queen Mother got over all that herself. Once the Duke was dead, she sent flowers and Christmas cards to Wallis when she never had before and she no longer complained when members of the family visited Wallis in Paris before her illness took hold.
People do move on but what I have noticed is the public do not, or the public story/myth/legend remains static.

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Originally Posted by Gaudete View Post
If Princess Marina was happy to be in Wallis' company, I think that's a fairly decent gauge of the fact that the Royal Family never made any attempt to restrain Wallis because she didn't need restraining. "We Four" may have made certain attempts to keep her at arms length and took out some pretty sensible insurance against her running off with husband #4 with an HRH in tow but realistically, this idea of Wallis being a homewrecker or a wicked woman is rooted in a bitter family feud that was totally avoidable. The Queen Mother needed someone to demonise for the loss of her husband and her position. She chose Wallis. In reality, the only person she should have blamed was David.
Beautifully summed up! Thank you!
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  #1754  
Old 12-09-2017, 03:15 PM
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Lady Nimue/Gaudete loving your posts. I too believe Queen Mother had something of a crush...and whatever her reasons, played It to the hilt.
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  #1755  
Old 12-09-2017, 04:55 PM
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Technically, the Duke had the right to sit in the House of Lords as a peer of the realm but AFAIK no member of the Royal Family had exercised the right to actually attend and contribute to sittings since Edward VII as Prince of Wales. And even then that only happened occasionally.
They did, down until Edward, all formally take their seats. They didn't speak of course.

Lord Snowdon remained an active member of the Lords, as a life peer, after the 1999 reforms but he was the exception and had already divorced Margaret by then.
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  #1756  
Old 12-09-2017, 04:56 PM
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I thought I remembered some kind of ceremony whereby they attended once but I knew they didnít contribute to debates. One canít really see how it would have worked, even 20 years ago.
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  #1757  
Old 12-09-2017, 06:40 PM
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It never ceases to annoy me when people try the "rehabilitate" a historical figure. They invariably allow the social mores of current society to "assess and judge" a situation.

Just observe those who seem determined to find the reason the QM loathed Wallis. Yes, she blamed them for the added stress on her husband and even though we all know now that smoking causes cancer, they most certainly did not then. In fact, soldiers rations included cigarettes!

However, we do know that many people smoked to ease stress and Bertie's stress levels escalated with his brother's dereliction of duty. He was pushed into a life he was totally unprepared for, filled with public duties and speeches, a lifestyle he had avoided as much as he "properly" could instead of enjoying a family lifestyle with his "we four".

The abdication changed everything and the QM mourned the loss of that loving and secure life, with every move her husband made scrutinised because there were those who thought he was mentally unfit, as were all people who stammered. There were even those in the government and civil service who explored the possibility of declaring Bertie unfit and crowning his younger brother.

Bertie was not the only one whose life was badly affected. Prince Henry, Duke of Glouster was a career military man and his career hit the ultimate speed bump. He could not leave the country when the king did and needed to be protected to ensure that should something happen to the King before Princess Elizabeth turned eighteen, he would be able to stand as Regent until she reached her majority.

Prince George also had to clean up is act as his lifestyle would have shocked the people of the UK, with lovers of both sexes and cocaine addiction. He too had to raise his profile once the war was certain because nobody could know who would live and die and one of the three brothers had to survive for the monarchy.

To say that Bertie's younger brothers were unimpressed by the way their bother's dereliction of duty affected their lives is an understatement. The entire house of Windsor was in turmoil and if the sentiment was "but for Wallis", it was only to be expected. King George V's two youngest sons led a pretty happy life which also came to a screeching halt with the Abdication.

The King was the king and his Queen came to represent the house of Windsor's anger and disgust at David's betrayal, because that is what it was, a betrayal of everything they stood for.

No, I don't think the QM's teenage crush on the POW lasted past her social debut. He was the dashing hero of the age and WWI and the crush of half the teenage girls in the country. Meeting him as a grown woman and hearing about his debauchery probably didn't endear him to a well brought up aristocrat. Wallis pillorying her, her family and lifestyle would not have endeared her to either Elizabeth or Queen Mary, actions that would come back to haunt her.
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  #1758  
Old 12-09-2017, 06:53 PM
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Duke and Duchess of Windsor (1894-1972) and (1895-1986)

Whilst Davidís brothers were undoubtedly disappointed and shaken by his decision to abdicate, nobody could pretend that they carried on the vendetta in the way the Queen Mother did. The Duke of Gloucester visited him often in Paris, Marina had no issues with writing to Wallis occasionally and the Princess Royal seemed to be able to let bygones be bygones. The Queen Motherís loss was not unique or special and plenty of heads of state had a very stressful war (far more so than Bertieís) and came through the other side.

George VIís problems were no doubt related to a weak constitution and the stress of unique times. But 120 cigarettes a day is hardly a light intake and anyone who has that sort of habit is bound for an early grave. Very sad yes and Iím sure the QM was devastated. But we canít deny that she also mourned her position just as much as her husband and Wallis wasnít the only victim of her insecurities.

The government got over it. The people got over it. Many within the Royal Family got over it. For the Queen Mother, it became a lifelong obsession. That doesnít make Wallis a saint, neither does it make the QM a demon. It simply means that the old tripe thatís been trotted out for decades about this poor sweet old widow who did so much for Britain and selflessly carried on like a royal martyr despite some wicked American tart killing her husband should be probably re-examined.

I agree with you in that I donít think the QM ever seriously thought much romantically about David but Wallis certainly intimidated her. Almost every other woman intimidated her. She didnít like Marina, she was frosty towards Alice, she practically struck Princess Mary off every guest list. The only people she seemed to like were those who never answered back and let her have her own way. Which wasnít in Wallisí character.

Wallis had her flaws but so did the Queen Mother. And Iím sorry but I canít buy into that 1950s sentimental nonsense that the abdication killed George VI and it was all Wallisí fault. She told David to stay, she left the country and tried to cut all ties, why should she take the blame for his persistence?

Ultimately she lost far more than anyone else. We do see things differently today. Weíre more accepting and tolerant. And nobody can rewrite history of course. But we can absolutely see past the Baldwin propaganda of a chocolate box lid. The Queen Mother was no angel. She wasnít the only victim in the situation as much as she liked to pretend she was. And her 40 year campaign against the Duchess of Windsor was quite sad to be honest. Almost as sad as her constant digs against Marina or Alice, certainly as bitter as her treatment of her youngest daughter and without doubt just as damaging as her interfering in the marriage of her grandchildren.
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  #1759  
Old 12-09-2017, 06:58 PM
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I should also add that it was David who put the Duke of Kent into rehabilitation and paid huge sums to recover incriminating letters the Duke had sent to his many lovers. David was many things but he was extremely good to George Kent and Marina remained ever grateful for that.
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  #1760  
Old 12-09-2017, 06:59 PM
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I'm sorry, I thought we were discussing Wallis not doing a hatchet job on Queen Elizabeth the QM. Please take up your cause in the correct thread where we can continue to debate the person that was the QM to your heart's content.
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