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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 17:22 GMT
Duchess revelations stolen
Wallis Simpson
Wallis Simpson: Friend of the colourful Irish duke
Copies of intimate letters between the Duchess of Windsor and an Irish duke have been stolen, it has emerged.

The Duchess and Edward, Prince of Wales, became friends with the late Edward FitzGerald, 7th Duke of Leinster, after World War II.

Royal experts said the stolen letters could further embarrass the Royal Family following recent revelations alleging that the Duchess had an affair with a car salesman.

Those claims came to light in previously secret government files on the 1936 abdication crisis.

The letters were stolen from a car owned by company director Adrian FitzGerald, the Duke of Leinster's illegitimate 50-year-old son.

Duke and Duchess of Windsor
The Windsors met the duke in France
Mr FitzGerald, who is researching a book about his father's life, said the theft from a BMW parked outside his mews house at Trevarrian, near Mawgan Porth in Cornwall, was suspicious.

He said: "The car was full of expensive power tools, but they ignored those.

"They took only my writing case, containing all my personal documents and also some rather sensitive papers used for research for my book concerning my father and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

"This had all the appearance of a robbery to order, but I have no idea by whom."

He added: "The wrong spin could be put on these documents if they fell into the wrong hands."

They certainly show a very close relationship

Michael Thornton, Royal biographer

Michael Thornton, Royal biographer and former trustee of the 7th Duke of Leinster's estate, said the stolen papers could embarrass the Royal family.

He said: "There was a very close friendship between the Duke of Leinster and the Duchess.

"I think Adrian FitzGerald feels that if this material falls into irresponsible hands it would be capable of an interpretation which could cause embarrassment."

The stolen correspondence did not include love letters, said Mr Thornton.

"If one read them you would conclude that there was a certain amount of intimacy between these people, but they are not expressed in passionate or sexual terms.

"They certainly show a very close relationship and it is not conclusive precisely what that relationship was," he said.

Sold inheritance

Most of the letters and diary entries date from 1946 onwards, when the Duke of Leinster and his third wife had a villa in the South of France.

During this period the couple became close friends with the Windsors, who had returned to France from the Bahamas after the war.

Mr Thornton said the original versions of the stolen photocopies documents were still in existence.

"Adrian FitzGerald was indebted to various people for this material.

The originals are still in existence but they are in other people's hands. He feels very responsible for them," he said.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said officers were investigating the theft of various documents from a car at Trevarrian between 21 and 23 January.


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