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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 08:48 GMT
Royal abdication papers: Your reaction
Duke and Duchess of Windsor
Wallis Simpson took a car salesman as her lover while she was in a relationship with Edward, Prince of Wales, secret government files on the 1936 abdication crisis reveal.

The documents, published by the Public Record Office on Thursday, show that the American divorcee and future King were being watched by Special Branch officers.

They name Guy Marcus Trundle, a married man from York, as the object of Mrs Simpson's affections, describing him as a "very charming adventurer, very good looking, well bred and an excellent dancer".

The files were held back during the life of the Queen Mother, who is shown to have ensured that Mrs Simpson never had the title 'HRH' when she became the Duchess of Windsor.

The files also speak of the couple's fascination with fascism and their meeting with Hitler in Germany.

Are you surprised by the revelations? Tell us what you think.


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

So what?! If we knew what has really gone on in and around the royal family over the centuries we would long since have abolished this stupid institution.
Ian Hill, (UK)

I think the overall remarks here seem unfortunately to show that double standards are still in play. Why is a woman having an affair any different than a man? Amazing in the 21st century...
CindyLu, USA

All this has shown is that the right decision was made

Mike R, UK
These papers change nothing. It was for the best that King Edward VIII abdicated, and we cannot complain about the service his brother, King George VI ("Bertie") gave his people. All this has shown is that the right decision was made.

Far more interesting is whether there had been any "off the record" understanding between Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and King George V regarding Edward's suitability for the throne. Both men were highly patriotic and would not have been willing to see the ruler of the UK, not to mention the British Empire, bring the nation into disrepute.
Mike R, UK

Sometime you find yourself saying things you never imagined. Thank God for Stanley Baldwin.
Jon Livesey, US

Whilst I am a republican, I sympathise with the Queen: How would other people like it if their family skeletons were constantly being dug up for the prurient interest of the tabloid press? It must be considerably hurtful. It's about time to lay all this to rest.
John, UK

It is very interesting that Prince Edward wasn't told of Wallis' affair. I wonder what the motivation was for that?
Keith Terrance, Canada

Did Edward know what was going on and continue with his decision to marry?

Anon, England
One wonders if Wallis Simpson's appetite for lovers stopped once she married. Did Edward in fact know what was going on and still continue with his decision to marry? I can't imagine that he was not told as feelings against him marrying Wallis ran very high in all circles it appears...
Anon, England

Wallis Simpson is OK by me. She can't be all bad, having made the great pun "you can't abdicate and eat it".
Andrew Carter, UK

If Edward VIII had not given up the throne of England for the woman he loved, in spite of her past, there would have never been a Queen Elizabeth II. The events of 1936 happened all according to divine providence and the will of Edward.
Pebbles, USA

Personal stories like this make history more than just dry facts and figures

Tracey, UK
As a bit of youngster, this is truly history to me, not just "old news", and I find it as fascinating as the machinations of the court of King Henry VIII. Humans are invariably fascinated with other humans, and it's personal stories like this that really make history more than just dry facts and figures.
Tracey, UK

When is the movie coming out - and I wonder who will play the lead roles?!
Rod Garr, USA

Wow! How novel, infidelity at the very top of the social echelon. Anyway, it got me distracted from the Iraq issue, so it must be hot news!
Kamel Darwish, Finland

When will we ever get over this archaic soap story? I'm heartily sick of present day Royal shenanigans, let alone all this tedious frippery and its uninteresting details constantly being exhumed after nearly 70 years.
Andrew Cover, UK

Your contributor Andrew Cover answers his own question. The Royals are of interest precisely because their story is an absurd, irrelevant and facile soap opera. That is also why the British public love them and why Coronation Street has 20 times more viewers than Newsnight.
Jack Delawney, London, UK

One wonders how Churchill would have dealt with them

Mark M. Newdick, US/UK
This is not as irrelevant, historically, as some might claim. It is interesting that Edward had sympathies with Nazi aims, that Mrs Simpson's motives were more than just love, and that those associated with her were mere adventurers. One wonders how Churchill would have dealt with them, had Edward remained king, when the chips were down in 1940.

Would the king have pushed for a "diplomatic solution" rather than resistance? What would Parliament have done if the king refused to accept Churchill? Although largely irrelevant today, given how events actually did turn out, it is nevertheless interesting ... and it perhaps vindicates the authority's firm stance on the matter at the time.
Mark M. Newdick, US/UK

The document this story is based on is the work of a single police officer with an illegible signature who was apparently working on his own. Baldwin, the prime minister of the day was against the proposed marriage and it was almost certainly a political investigation. On this basis I am unable to take it as the whole story.

The monarchy, then as now, has no effective political clout (if it had then Edward would have sacked Baldwin and married her!) If he had married her and stayed king then I doubt if there would have been any real alteration to the conduct of the war. Churchill had no personal objections to the marriage.
John Lawrence, UK

Is the release of these papers a cynical ploy to get the populous talking about something other than the possibility of war and take some heat off Blair? I fear so.
John, England

The whole sordid story of the goings on at he time of the abdication only highlights the rotten, stupid system, the British people are lumbered with.
Thomas Lowry, UK

It's fact. It's not gossip

John Courtney, England
It's very interesting. Why? Well it's fact. It's not gossip, rumour or half-truths as we usually get regarding the Royals. It also puts the King in a position that many normal people have found themselves in. It makes his abdication seem even sadder.
John Courtney, England

So the 1930s Prince of Wales was a poor judge of character, fell in love with the wrong woman and sounded more intelligent than he really was? It sounds so familiar, doesn't it? I look forward to ordinary people in this country finally seeing how much nonsensical grandeur and specialness we project on to this very ordinary, none-too-bright family and ask for our money back. We've been conned!
Brian Reeves, London UK

Tittle-tattle.
Oliver, UK

Those people dismissing this news as 'tittle tattle' forget that at the time it was of great constitutional importance. Indeed had the Simpsons been allowed to ascend the throne our national fortunes in WWII may have been different. We should respect the lessons of history and learn from these events. The personal sacrifice of George V should be a lesson to us all at this time of global crisis.
Rob Thomson, UK

Was it a second hand car dealer? It would make a great mini series. Kind of Minder meets Upstairs Downstairs.
Ben, UK

I think the important lesson to learn here is that truth is never really given to us, the way we are all manipulated and constantly lied to by the media, government and intelligence agencies. It lied then, so why assume they are not doing it now?
Andy, UK

Someone in the Royal circle was having sex with other than their spouse - this is news?
Anon, UK

It shows that Edward, Prince of Wales, was a poor judge of character and the right man became King in his stead.
Caron, England

The public outcry was pumped up by the government and media of the time

Andy, UK
Wallis Simpson's only crime was that she was divorced. Edward's crime was that he loved her. The public outcry was only pumped up by the government and media of the time. Here we are nearly 70 years later and it is still a major talking point.

The Queen's uncle wanted to marry a divorcee and this caused uproar - three of her children are divorced and our future king is now in the same situation - should he be allowed to marry again? Yes - if that's what he wants. The same thing happened to Edward and he paid the ultimate price for it.
Andy, UK

We're on the brink of war. Who really cares about this discovery?
Andy Stratt, UK

Wonderful to hear. She was a very beautiful and single lady. Why shouldn't she have a few lovers? I'm willing to wager that there was more than one.
Arthur Lowe, Melbourne Australia

This story, when viewed against the really important events of it's day, is barely worth a footnote in the history of the 20th century.
George Smith, Scotland


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