Long-standing rumors that Edward VIII aided the Nazis after being forced to abdicate have been given new credence by evidence that he passed critical information to the Germans and urged them to continue “severe bombing” of the country, paving the way for him to return as head of a puppet government.
Edward, who was photographed meeting Hitler in 1937 with his wife, wrote four reports on the lamentable state of the French army in 1940, having been invited to inspect the troops by the French government, who assumed he was loyal to the allied cause. Edward was living in exile in France with Wallis, but still held military rank, acted as a liaison officer and had not been completely cut off by the family.
However after his reports, which detailed low morale and weak leadership, were ignored by the British, he passed them to a friend who was a Nazi informant. A new documentary Edward VIII: Britain’s Traitor King, based on a book of the same name by historian Andrew Lownie, says that Germany then used the information from Edward’s reports to inform their invasion of France in 1940.
The documentary also brings fresh nuance to Edward’s planned role in a potential British puppet government after any German victory. It is a matter of historical record that the Nazis considered such a plan, which was codenamed Operation Willi. However there has long been doubt over whether Edward knew about and endorsed Operation Willi.
The new documentary suggests that Edward was actively interested in the plan and reveals that after Edward was forced to leave Portugal for the Bahamas (where he was appointed governor) by Churchill, he sent a message to his friend Ricardo Espirito Santo, a wealthy banker who was a Nazi informant. The coded telegram said that he was willing to come back to Europe, which is interpreted as meaning he was willing to assume the British throne.
According to another diplomatic cable, Edward told Spanish agents: “Continued severe bombing would make England ready for peace,” and that he was being kept away from England to prevent him working with “English friends of peace.”
The allegations that Edward hoped to return as a puppet ruler installed by the Germans were a subject of contemporary gossip. For example, the lawmaker and diarist Henry ‘Chips’ Channon wrote in his diary in July 1940 that the Duke of Kent, Edward’s brother, told Channon, “My brother wants to be a Gauleiter [the leader of a district in the Nazi system].”
In another entry in his diaries Channon writes: “Rumors are over-ripe and rife. Diana Cooper told me today that the Windsors genuinely believe that they will be restored to the throne under German influence; he will become a sort of Gauleiter and Wallis a queen. Perhaps!”
Source: Culled From The Daily Beast.