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1972: Duke too ill for tea with the Queen

The Duke of Windsor was not well enough to attend tea with the Queen when she came to visit his home in Paris this afternoon.

He was said to be "dreadfully disappointed" after doctors told him he was not to come downstairs because of ill health.

They made their decision just hours before the Queen, with Prince Philip and Prince Charles, was due to see her uncle for the first time in five years - and the first time in his own home.

The Queen did spend 15 minutes talking alone with her "Uncle David" in his first floor sitting room after the Duchess of Windsor hosted tea in the downstairs drawing room.

The Royal party had arrived from the races in Longchamp, a day after a tour of the Provence region as part of a state visit to France.

Housebound for six weeks

Earlier this year, the duke had a hernia operation and although at first he seemed to have recovered well, his health then took a turn for the worse. He has not left the house for six weeks.

There has been some speculation that the Queen may have discussed one of her uncle's strongest wishes - that the title of Royal Highness would be formally conferred on his wife.

But Buckingham Palace has said there is no question that the American divorcee can ever receive such a title.

The Duke of Windsor, once King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 after constitutional objections to his plans to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson. He was succeeded to the throne by George VI, father of the present Queen.

The couple tied the knot in France in 1937 and have lived there ever since in virtual exile although they have made various visits to the Royal family in London over the years.

The Duke spent some time in the Bahamas as governor during World War II.

In Context
Ten days later, the Duke of Windsor died at his home in Paris. Doctors revealed he had been suffering from throat cancer for some time.

He left an estimated fortune of 4m.

The Duchess of Windsor attended his funeral in Frogmore, England. She lived as a recluse in Paris until her death in 1986 and was buried next to her husband in England.

Her impressive collection of jewellery was auctioned a year later in Paris raising more than 31m for the Pasteur Institute, a centre for biological research.


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