Traitor King
Andrew Lownie

Traitor King

Though there have been scores of books on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor , almost all focus on the Abdication and the story of the man who gave up his throne for the woman he loved. Even the Duke of Windsor’s own  memoir The King’s Story, ends with his abdication in 1936  and Philip Ziegler’s official life King Edward Vlll devotes only a few chapters to the years after the Abdication

Few books tell the story of what happened after they supposedly walked into the sunset , even though he had another 36 years to live and his wife 50. It is game of two halves and often assumed that all the drama was in the first.

Traitor King looks at the years when the former king was kept in exile, feuding with his family over status for his wife and denied any real job. 

Drawing on extensive research into hitherto unused archives and Freedom of Information requests,  it makes the case that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were not the naïve dupes of the Germans but actively intrigued against Britain in both war and peace.

It reveals

- that the Duke , whilst attached to the French Army Command between September 1939 and May 1940,  revealed the French Order of Battle with the devastating consequences of the German Blitzreig in May 1940.

-the truth about his Nazi-sympathies which were much more extensive than has hitherto been realised and the story behind the German attempts to recruit him as a British Petain in the summer of 1940. These should have led him to be prosecuted under the 1940 Treachery Act.

-the attempts, by Churchill in particular,  to suppress the Duke’s flirtation with the Nazis, not least by trying to prevent post-war publication of the captured German documents which detailed the Duke’s Nazi intrigues.

- the reasons why the Duke, as Governor of the Bahamas,  tried to shut down the investigation into the 1943 murder of his close friend Harry Oakes because it might have revealed his involvement into currency irregularities and illegal  investments with the black-listed Nazi-sympathiser Axel Wenner Gren.

-the full extent of the feud with the British Royal Family , based on his betrayals going back to his dishonesty about his true financial position at the time of the Abdication.

- the duke’s probable illegitimate children.

-that far from a love story, Wallis felt trapped in a marriage she had never wanted with a pathetic and suffocating husband, one of the reasons she took several lovers including the homosexual playboy Jimmy Donahue.

- the existence of the China Dossier, a damaging file on Wallis before 1935 compiled by the SIS agent Emmanuel Cohen and long dismissed by historians. Among those known to have seen it was Queen Mary’s private secretary Sir John Coke.

- how using tame writers the couple curated their story – often in return for large fees.

 - that the Duchess hardly saw her husband in the two weeks before he died,  as opposed to him dying in her arms.

The story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor has uncanny parallels with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – an American divorcee who takes a weak and stupid British royal into an empty life of exile and gauche political involvement. How the Duke was shut out by  his family , refused any job, his wife stripped of her title is a lesson for  Harry and Meghan who seem to be following the same path of dividing public opinion, financially exploiting their position, suing anyone who criticises them and rejecting any sense of duty.

Book Details:

  • Author: Andrew Lownie
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Bonnier
Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie was born in 1961 and was educated in Britain and America. He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union. He went on to gain an MSc at Edinburgh University and spend a year at the College of Law in London. After a period as a bookseller and journalist, he began his publishing career as the graduate trainee at Hodder & Stoughton. In 1985 became an agent at John Farquharson, now part of Curtis Brown, and the following year became the then youngest director in British publishing when he was appointed a director. Since 1984 he has written...
More about Andrew Lownie