REVEALED: King George set spies on brother Edward VIII amid fears he was Nazi sympathiser
KING George VI spied on his brother Edward VIII after his abdication, amid suspicions the rogue royal and his American wife Wallis Simpson were Nazi sympathisers and passing information to the Germans, it has been claimed.
The FBI also “targeted, tailed and tapped” the royal couple on the orders of US President Franklin D Roosevelt, according to a documentary to be shown tonight.
Unearthing secret files locked in the royal archives for nearly 80 years, the second part of Spying On The Royals will show how Winston Churchill was outraged to discover that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor had tried to persuade influential Americans not to join the war effort in 1941.
Professor Richard J Aldrich, who carried out the research with fellow historian Dr Rory Cormac, said: “The Duke and Duchess of Windsor imploring important Americans not to join the war on Britain’s side, it’s astonishing. It’s close to treachery actually.”
The files show that even after his abdication, Edward continued to be a source of major concern and paranoia, not just for the intelligence services but also the royal family.
When Edward and Wallis travelled to Nazi Germany they were greeted by Adolf Hitler with hospitality usually only afforded to a monarch and his consort.
Chief Inspector Storrier, Edward’s most trusted bodyguard, was secretly reporting back to London on the royal couple, and an internal Metropolitan Police memo from 1937 states the bill for spying was “paid for by HM”.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor imploring important Americans not to join the war on Britain’s side is close to treachery
Professor Richard J Aldrich
The archives also show that towards the end of the 1930s Edward offered himself up to the Labour party as “President of an English Republic” in an attempt to usurp George’s throne.
The couple wanted revenge after the King and Queen effectively banned them from living in the UK following the 1936 abdication crisis.
One of Britain’s top spies, David Eccles, watched the couple when they lived in Portugal in 1940.
He reported back: “They are very clearly fifth column.”
According to files uncovered in Washington, Roosevelt ordered the FBI to spy on the royals when they visited Miami in 1941.
Edward had become the Governor of the Bahamas.
Files personally annotated by FBI boss J Edgar Hoover show that the Americans regarded Mrs Simpson as “violently German”.
They even suggested she was exchanging messages with the Nazis by sending clothes to be cleaned in New York from the Caribbean island. The allegations proved unfounded
But Churchill and Roosevelt were left fuming when it was uncovered that they had been urging influential Americans to abandon Britain rather than enter the war.
Candid photographs of Queen Elizabeth
According to one intercept, Edward was asserting it was “too late to do any good”.
The Duke’s conduct led to an American offer to infiltrate his inner circle, a level of intrusion “normally reserved only for enemies of the state”.
l Spying On The Royals, Channel 4, tonight, 8pm.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK
Tags: Queen Elizabeth, King Edward VIII, King, Edward, Churchill, Roosevelt, fuming, uncovered, Duke and Duchess of windsor,Britain’s top spies, David Eccles