2 DECEMBER 1955, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

WE HAVE SEEN, in the past few weeks, how a legend was created about the influences supposed to have been brought to bear behind the scenes on Princess Margaret. A similar legend persists about the Abdication, and some popular newspapers have used Sir Evelyn Wrench's life of Geoffrey Dawson, which is reviewed elsewhere in this issue, to perpetuate it. Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, formerly Private Secretary to King Edward VIII, demolished the legend in an important article in The Times on Tuesday. The worst offender against the facts has been a Mr. Robert Pitman writing in the Sunday Express. He claims that Dawson was the real motivator of the Abdica- tion. But Dawson was seldom less active. His first intervention was on October 26, when he sent to Lord Hardinge and to Baldwin a letter from a British resident in America which seemed to sum up 411 that was being written, said and felt abroad about the relationship between the King and Mrs. Simpson. That is all and that is what causes Mr. Pitman to say : 'First [on the scene] came Dawson the Editor.' If he is going to write about history, Mr. Pitman should consult other sources than the book which happeqs last to have been thrown on his desk. The relationship between Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson was already so serious some time before October 26, that when Sir Samuel Hoare went to spend a few days shooting with the Kiag on October 19, Baldwin asked him to find out what was in the King's mind and to try to persuade him to drop the idea of marriage altogether. Mr. Pitman tries to put across the idea that Baldwin and Dawson were bent on the Abdication of the King from the start. That is just untrue.