Dowager Tsarina Maria Fyodorovna of Russia piggyriding prince Edward of Great Britain, later duke of Windsor. 1898
Courtesy of the RCT.
Kittyinva: 1921 photo of the young Prince of Wales at the Herman-Wilde fight.
This painting by William Howard Robinson and entitled A Welsh Victory at the National Sporting Club depicts the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, congratulating Welsh boxer Jimmy Wilde who had just outpointed American Joe Lynch over 15 rounds.
This was the first time royalty had entered the prize ring and it legitimised the sport which had been illegal since the days of bare knuckle fights.
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant about some of my favorite haters.
If you’ve ever hung around royal forums, history forums, blogs run by middle-aged men, or any site that has a comments section, you’ve probably heard the allegation that the Duke of Windsor committed “treason” during World War II, that he “betrayed the Allies”, and that “if you or I did what he did we would’ve been shot at dawn!”
And yes, I have even seen this delightful allegation crop up on Tumblr from time to time.
Now, some people respond to these allegations by simply saying “he didn’t do that” or “you’re drunk.” I like to ask questions!
First question: What did David do?
Many of these Youtube scholars will simply respond by repeating the allegation in all caps, usually throwing in some kind of proposed punishment.
"TREASON!!! HE BETRAYED THE ALLIES AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN DECAPITATED WITH A VERY DULL CHAINSAW!!!"
So, second question: What specifically did he do that you think counts as treason?
To this, if the person even responds (and often they won’t), I’ll get a wide variety of responses.
Here are a few of them:
"He went to Nazi Germany!"
Yes, he did do that. Before that war. A lot of people are confused on that point, but some even realize it was before the war and still think it counts as treason. Okay, so theory time. Say we go to war with North Korea tomorrow. Does that mean we get to kill Dennis Rodman? What about all of those various idiots who just wandered over the border for no good reason? Do we tie them all up and shoot them at dawn? Of course not. It’s not a crime for a private individual to travel to a country their own country is not at war with. Hell, even if the countries are at war it’s not treason. I mean, there’s probably some kind of law broken in that scenario, but I don’t think the punishment is death.
"Well, Wallis committed treason…..”
Okay, first of all anything Wallis might’ve done is not David’s responsibility. How would you like it if the government decided to hold you accountable for some bullshit your significant other got up to? Second of all, I repeat my questions but this time about Wallis. What specifically did Wallis do that you think counts as treason? Note: sometime’s their response to this question is hilariously stupid. Such as: “She had sex with a lot of Nazis!” and “She had sex with Hitler!” and “She was really a man in drag!”
"He conspired with the Nazis to steal back the throne!"
This one’s actually loosely based on something the Nazis actually briefly considered, without David’s knowledge or assistance. It kind of falls apart when you realize that in the same documents suggesting David be put back on the throne when/if the Nazis conquered Britain also suggest that he and Wallis be kidnapped to force them to cooperate. Also, legit question here, why do you think he wanted the throne back?
"He supported Hitler during the war!" or, even more stupidly…. "He joined the Nazi party!"
Some people legitimately think David publicly supported the Nazis (and not Britain) during World War II. I don’t even really know what to say to these people. Sometimes even their fellow treason ranters will swoop in and correct them, saying David was a secret Nazi, not a public one, and really that’s so much worse.
Some people will even back down, if only slightly:
"Well, maybe it wasn’t technically treason, but he still was disloyal/hurt the Allies/had sex with Hitler.”
Then the argument usually morphs into a more rational one about whether or not David had Nazi sympathies or was an appeaser and what that means about his involvement in the war, or his broader legacy.
But those don’t account for 90% of the responses, which are all of a similar vein:
"He gave information to the Nazis."
Or Wallis did, according to some of them, but same difference. These people are completely inconsistent about where and when this apparently took place. A large number of them claim it happened when David was Governor of Bermuda. At no point should you tell them he was Governor of the Bahamas, not Bermuda. Their insistence he was Governor of Bermuda can serve as an alarm of sorts, telling the world of their stupidity before they say anything else.
No one bothers to explain how this would’ve happened either. Did David write Hitler a letter? Did he call him up on the phone? Was there a telegraph? Or were there Nazi spies David and Wallis were in touch with that they shared the information with in person? Really none of this even matters because there are so many other gaps in these stories.
Only one of the many people I’ve seen make this argument actually had a specific scenario for how the treason allegedly played out. He heard about it on a show he saw on A&E. He didn’t say which show, so I’ll just assume it was Duck Dynasty. Anyways, the story goes that David and Wallis were at a dinner party and an American spy told them classified information, which David (or was it Wallis?) then immediately passed along to a Nazi who was also at that same dinner party. In a weird way, this story is actually vaguely plausible. I mean, David and Wallis went to a lot of dinner parties, and they were both kinda lazy so a story that involves them committing treason without actually having to go out of their way to do much is quite fitting. Of course literally everything else about the story is ridiculous. What kind of spy tells classified information to someone, anyone, at a party where an enemy official is present? Furthermore, if this scenario actually happened as reported (and obviously it didn’t) why would this be treason or any other kind of crime on the part of David or Wallis? No sane, rational person is going to think something that some random person told them at a party is classified and most people would not think twice about passing it along to someone else at the same party. That’s called gossip, not treason.
But even if someone did have a plausible scenario in mind, and could tell me the whens, wheres, whos, and hows of the treasonous act, there’s one question they always struggle to answer:
What was the information?
Now, you might get a vague response involving allied invasion plans, or some sort of plot to kill Hitler or other Nazis. But whatever the supposed information is, it has to have certain qualities in order to make this allegation at all plausible. I don’t even mean true or proven, just worthy of any sort of consideration. If you want to accuse David of committing treason by giving information to the Nazis, the supposed information he gave has to be….
1. Something that was true. This seems like sort of an obvious thing to mention, but during a war spreading misinformation to your enemy is often encouraged.
2. Something that David (or Wallis to go down that road again…) knew. From a logical perspective, a lot of these theories fall apart on the simple grounds that David wouldn’t have known a lot of inside information about war plans during the time he was in the Bahamas. You can’t accuse someone of giving information to the enemy that they wouldn’t know.
3. Something that wasn’t widely known. If half the British Army and two-thirds of the Navy knew about something and the Nazis ended up finding out about it, it would be ridiculous to single out one person in particular and blame the leak on them. Unless you had solid proof from the other side it was them, which of course no one has produced. In all likelihood something widely known would get out because of an innocent mistake; when information is widely known people don’t tend to be very protective of it.
4. Something the Nazis did find out about. If something was actually leaked, you have to have evidence of both sides of it. This also seems obvious, but it’s worth noting because David has been accused of being responsible for leaks that never actually happened. And logically when information that’s supposed to be kept quiet leaks out there are going to be noticeable repercussions.
5. Not something you just fucking made up. Like, no, David didn’t leak the American plans to invade Mexico. And I can’t respond to this bullshit by saying that America never invaded Mexico during World War II (and why the fuck would they have even wanted to?) because these idiots will just respond that obviously it didn’t happen and the plan had to be changed because evil David had leaked it to the Nazis.
If you want to accuse David of treason, you have to also say what he fucking did that was treason. If he leaked information, you have to say what that information was, have evidence David knew about it and that it was actually leaked, and explain how you know David was the one that leaked it.
And FINALLY, a few other notes on these theories…..
-If you’re going to mention Martin Allen, who is the original source of the treason story, you should know his books were all based on forged documents.
-The point of this post was not to provide a factual argument against the “treason” story but rather a logical one. It’s hard for me to try and give a factual argument against a story that’s extremely vague and changes every time its told. If you would like my thoughts on any specific allegation or theory you’ve heard, pop into my ask box.
-Some people, rather than claiming treason or Nazi sympathies outright, take an “all this smoke….” approach where they gather up every allegation they’ve ever heard, put it in one place, and leave it without comment. This encourages the reader to put everything together and come to a certain conclusion. David’s Wikipedia article is structured like that. The problem is there’s “smoke” around almost every historical figure of note. When someone is in the public eye, that means a lot of people are going to be talking about them. Quotes that come from people are often presented as being equally valid as quotes that come from a person’s writing. They’re not. You could make a laundry list of allegations about any person you wanted to, and you could make them look as guilty as you wanted. You must take claims on their individual merit, and trace back the source as far as you can. You may be surprised at the origin.
Mainbocher, known for his sense of decorum, created a garment impeccably suited to the occasion. If his design seems conservative, as compared to the modern experiments of others in the 1930s, it was because he sought an unerring gentility. He held decoration to a minimum, favoring refined feminine forms (petal-shaped collar, shirring, small embroideries). Even the gloves were specifically designed to accommodate the wedding ring. While a defect in the stability of the dye has caused the dress to lose its “Wallis” blue, it retains the willful seemliness of a marriage in world view.
Pictures from the Museum at FIT exhibit on the fashions of the 1930s.
This jacket was David’s, but from the 1960s, and the pattern is from a jacket made for him in the 1960s. I also was able to get pictures of the plaques! The guards there got pretty mad at me. ;)
The exhibit is 100% free and there is tons of other great stuff, and even this looks way better in person than my phone’s camera could possibly capture so I would really suggest stopping in if you’re in New York anytime soon! Honestly it’s one of the best museums I’ve ever been to (as someone who’s into fashion) and certainly the best free one.
Elegance in an Age of Crisis
This is the video from the FIT Museum exhibit on the ’30s that included David’s clothes.
Edward, Prince of Wales and Lady Rosemary Leveson-Gower.
These two met during World War I when Rosemary was a nurse in France where David was stationed. Rumor had it David and Rosemary were informally engaged in 1916 or 1917, but King George and Queen Mary forbade the match, feeling Rosemary’s family, though aristocratic, had a history of mental illness and scandals. It was a little bit hypocritical, needless to say.
While there’s little evidence as to the exact timeline of the relationship, David confirmed in a letter to his later girlfriend Freda Dudley Ward that he had wanted to, or at least seriously considered, marrying Rosemary, though he didn’t go into detail about why he didn’t.
|what you know about walls and edwards sex life?|
I am reasonably sure Edward never had sex with a wall.
Henry VIII’s son was Edward VI, not Edward VIII.
"VIII" is a roman numeral to distinguish from previous monarchs with the same regnal name. It’s not a last name.
If this confuses you, feel free to message me for further clarification.
Thank you and have a nice day!
|"After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months." - George V|
Clearly inaccurate information. It only took eleven. Well, really 10.9.
"Royal Greeting for British Wounded Windsor, England— The Prince visits King Edward Hospital and chats with disabled men." 1924.
The future Duke of Windsor in paper dolls, 1934.