In 1928 the Prince of Wales met the young society beauty Lady Thelma Furness and during a semi-official visit to East Africa he contrived to spend a private safari with her. He contracted malaria and on recovery hastened back to England as the King was gravely ill.
Wallis Simpson was clever, amusing, intelligent and charming. More gossip and scandal was created in the first few weeks of her friendship with the Prince of Wales than the whole of his previous 40 years. From then on the Prince was to behave with a growing imperviousness to other people's opinions and feelings.
The night after the death of George V Edward dined with Mrs. Simpson. She realized how different his life would be now that he was King but he told her that nothing could ever change his feelings for her.
Because the London courts were full Mrs. Simpson's divorce was to be heard at Ipswitch, which meant she had to take up residence there. The Prime Minister, Mr. Baldwin, asked the King to stop the divorce, but was told he couldn't interfere in Mrs. Simpson's private business just because she happened to be his friend.
The King made it plain that no-one may address him on the subject of Mrs. Simpson, so Major Hardinge, the King's Private Secretary, sent him a letter warning him that the silence of the Press would no be maintained and that Mrs. Simpson should go abroad.
Over lunch at Claridges, Esmond Harmsworth of the Daily Mail suggested the Morganatic proposal to Mrs. Simpson. This would mean she could not take her husband's rank and her children would be without rights of succession. The King favoured the proposal because Mrs. Simpson liked it, but Baldwin was furious when told of the idea.
© 1978 Pidax film media Ltd./ Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH.
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