17 JUNE 1972, Page 27

-L 4. ion comment Yo°1;!' Note-Book (June 3) pf Spout the Abdication

the , I I. VA" man in 1936, the „„ Wilson Harris: "To ',1St a lady whom he ,as unfitted to be Queen '',.: could be accepted as a 4 the King of England , strange and disturbing r ,tling of the mind of parliament, arid the italics).

I h,Ytql dogmatically cora1

, le've .always believed that u th' given the knowledge 1 11,-"koice, would have sided 1, enitngti:iumAspheitd was, the ....Are Nelsons rolled into tclYeU have two blind eyes MD pH, kr Harris's opinion and 0,, it'her evidence against your . P ge ially the evidence that y lil the. crisis lasted the th e People side against C)ki SEIY: " I have no doubt • the Establishment P 14,n41 King Edward somet '-3 • • a necessary and uence in the country, 41c1 have been found to 011)11 the Throne," Why, again, dogmaticalalobout that? Have you AttLen.ce that Prime Mints401ilbiShop (I am doubtful , ', exactly the Establishia 'confident that these are at all times top w it) were altogether pr,Jvhat they said about "uiections to the King's 1, ha4larmage? 6 kIa ve another quotation N °I Your own back 5 •( 'elVe b 1936), "A 0 Atlai en er 20, . m 1.. Monarch can initiate ! qs t Lisk, ,h an a dictator,'; but ' Can? Could he. Or Pt4c1 of? " e ees to these three ItP: (a) a constitutional 4 lq 4t1 • • • c ' n in , (la, , Initiate action e ,111,..,,uUt cannot of course 'ietit'ALIgh in the same way "1.; (b) Edward VIII




could have initiated as much action as any other constitutional monarch; (c) a constitutional monarch can only act in accordance with the advice of his Ministers and Edward VIII, an admirably constitutional monarch, chose to abdicate rather than defy the advice of his Ministers that a twice-divorced lady was not suited to be Queen of England (a view which, as your predecessor pointed out, he himself had endorsed by proposing a morganatic marriage). You may call that being "got rid of" if you like. My last criticism is of your third dogmatic assertion, that the selfcensorship of the Press "was one of the most disgraceful aspects of the events of 1936." Since when has it been obligatory for all dirty linen to be washed in public? Since when has it been decided that public persons are never entitled to privacy about their personal affairs? Since when has the wisdom of the ages made it clear that delicate personal questions, on becoming public ones, are best settled in a blaze of publicity? Pray let me end by putting positively a point of view quite different from yours about the Abidication story, viz that it is one out of which all the principal parties concerned come with credit the Press voluntarily kept a discreet silence for as long as was humanly possible; Mr Baldwin and Mrs Simpson, in their separate ways, both sought to keep the King on his throne; he gave it up in order not to betray his constitutional heritage and divide the nation. It is sad that later he so plainly changed his attitude to Mr Baldwin and thought so much about how, with different tactics, he might have kept both his throne and his wife. Would he not have done better to find himself useful jobs rather than blame successive Governments for not finding them for him? It is best to dwell on his record as Prince of Wales rather than his record as King and exKing and leave the last word on the Abdication to Baldwin who said, some fifteen years later: "Whoever writes about it must give the King his due. He could not have behaved better than he did."

Frank Hardie 18 Kensington Gate, London, W8 Sir: It was inevitable, I suppose, that with the death of Edward, Duke of Windsor, a lot more rot should be spoken and written: like "the Queen should cancel engagements, if necessary, to meet the Duchess at the airport today" — whilst the Duke was sent home like freight, with no one but the crew, and carted all over the home counties, before he arrived at Windsor — though no one seemed worried about that. We know his

spirit is elsewhere, but nevertheless to have no one in attendance was pretty bad. However, for unadulterated rot — along with Lord Boothby — your Notebook (June 3) ties for first prize! They write and talk as

though no one else lived through it!

Edward went of his own free

will — he wasn't pushed out — and said so himself in his broadcast. There is the telegram and the letter to Baldwin. Whatever he said later in his book when they didn't give him a job, 1 don't know why he should have expected to carry on as Ambassador. Professor Alan Taylor, who can in no way be accused of being an admirer of monarchy, says it is not customary, anywhere in the world, for a monarch to represent his/her country after abdication. Perhaps if he had not been so pig-headed — his worst trait — over a title for the Duchess, he might have got one! Baldwin has been shamefully maligned for doing a good job well. I cannot think of anyone who would have had more patience — and waited longer for the King to make his own choice. The press was self-muzzled, out of mistaken loyalty. The King didn't give a damn about the people and tried to muzzle it himself; and Baldwin had to remind him that the press in this country is free. Whatever her unsuitability — and it went far deeper than a couple of husbands "laid off" — \te have Mrs Simpson to thank for removing a King who might very well have become a tyrant, where his owne will came into conflict with the wishes of the people and the good of this country. Baldwin was a malist but he never pushed Edward, who made his own choice. There's a great deal of nonsense talked about his Canadian tour, too. When I was in Canada, I heard quite a different story. After all he sacrificed I hope poor Edward rests in peace. He seemed to have had none on earth. I do not believe in that 'great love affair,' but that it was a very bad infatuation on his part — and on hers? — leave it to history! Since he married I have never seen a picture of either of them looking happy. In the Harris interview he showed he had not changed in wanting to be King — but his way

— not necessarily constitutionally; and in the Harris interview, too, it was the Duchess who had to prompt him: "We've been happy" — not the other way round. He paid heavily for a wasted life, and no doubt she did too, as any woman must who tears her matt away from obvious destiny in whatever walk of life.

I recommend your diarist to read the well-documented Baldwin by Prof,essor Keith Middlemass and John Barnes for a true version of the facts.

M. Saville 17 Ranier House, 38 Granville Road, Reading, Berks.