Releases in January 2003

Catalogue ref. Date Description
Prime Minister's Files
PREM 1/446 Nov 1936 Constitutional Crisis: Attitude of the British Press

 

 

File contains large unsigned document concerning the attitude of the British Press towards the events that led up to the crisis.

PREM 1/447 Nov 1936 H.M. King Edward VIII. Copy of telegram, dated 29 November 1936, from Sir George Clerk in Paris

 

 

The telegram is about an article in Oeuvre entitled 'the divorce of Mrs Simpson and Constitutional Crisis in England'. The article implies that British justice had "been tampered with to please those in high places".

PREM 1/448 Nov - Dec 1936 Personal correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others

 

 

Letters of support for the Prime Minister during this difficult time, and also letters giving advice on what he ought to put to the King.

PREM 1/449 Nov 1936 Memorandum by the Attorney General, dated 4 November 1936, on the validity of the King's marriage Abdication, the King's Proctor etc.

 

 

Memorandum by Sir Maurice Gwyer, dated 23 November 1936 on the possible Abdication Bill, the civil list, Royal Marriages Act 1772, Title and Precedence after Abdication, Dominions, and the Statute of Westminster. Memorandum by Parliamentary Counsel, dated 5 November 1936, on the constitutional right of Ministers to advise the King on the correct course of action.

PREM 1/450 Dec 1936 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Note written by Captain T L Dugdale, PPS to the Prime Minister

 

 

Describes Prime Minister's movements for that day regarding his talks with the King at Fort Belvedere and his failure to persuade the King to re-consider his decision to Abdicate.

PREM 1/451 Dec 1936 Broadcast by H.M. The King before Abdication

 

 

Correspondence relating to the proposed Broadcast, with the Prime Minister stating the difference between what a 'King' can broadcast against what a 'private individual' can broadcast. File contains a letter from Prime Minister stating that the proposed broadcast would be a grave breach of constitutional principles if the King made a statement on matters of public interest without the advice of his Ministers. The Prime Minister said he could not give his advice on this broadcast.

PREM 1/452 Dec 1936 Message from H.M. Queen Mary to the Nation on 11 December 1936

 

 

Text of proposed message to appear in the Press which expresses The Queen's gratitude for the messages of sympathy and affection, and commends "his brother" to "take his place".

PREM 1/453 Dec 1936 Statement of amount of Civil List available for members of the Royal Family

 

 

File also contains a note from Horace Wilson of 10 December 1936 to the Chancellor of the Exchequer outlining Mrs Simpson's "plans". Wilson states that she has limitless ambition, has a desire to "interfere in politics" (and has been in touch with the Nazi movement), and that "it must not be assumed she has abandoned hope of becoming Queen of England".

PREM 1/454 Dec 1936 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Outward telegrams

 

 

Various telegrams sent to the High Commissioners in Pretoria, Ottawa and Canberra and Governor General, Wellington during November/December 1936 keeping them up to date with events (others also include the Minister of External Affairs, Dublin).

PREM 1/455 Dec 1936 Letters from the Prime Minister to H.M. The King

 

 

A reply from the King regretting that he was unable to alter his decision. Copy of the draft Instrument of Abdication. Message from the King read to the House of Commons on 10 December 1936.

PREM 1/456 Dec 1936 Accession of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Address from H.M. King George VI to the House of Commons and the draft reply from the House. Remainder of file contains copies of letters to various people from the Prime Minister asking them to attend the 'Accession' Privy Council.

PREM 1/457 Dec 1936 Records of Cabinet Meetings

 

 

Minutes of meeting held on 10 December 1936 to prepare a Royal Message of Presentation to both Houses from H.M. King George VI. File also contains a 24-page note by the Secretary (Hankey) of the discussions at Cabinet of 4 December 1936.

PREM 1/458 Dec 1936 Abdication Bill

 

 

Notes on the Bill including paragraphs on the legal position of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, and the Earldom of Dublin. Royal Assent given to the Bill 11 December 1936.

PREM 1/459 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Articles and Correspondence

 

 

Leading article from the Yorkshire Post, dated 2 December 1936, and Time and Tide dated 19 December 1936 including an allegedly defamatory letter. Minutes by Sir Geoffrey Fry, to Baldwin of 22 and 23 December 1936, about these articles and the possibility of action against the publishers. Also a letter from Time and Tide to Baldwin with an explanation and a personal apology.

PREM 1/460 Dec 1936 - Feb 1937 Question of Divorce Decree not being made Absolute

 

Correspondence includes a letter from John Simon (Home Secretary) to Baldwin, dated 3 Dec 1936, giving his opinion on the subject of the divorce decree being made absolute. Also includes a note of discussions between the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Edward Peacock) and the Prime Minister about financial provision for the King on his Abdication. Letter dated 2 Feb 1937 from Sir Walter Monckton to Sir Horace Wilson concerning the need to counteract any false rumour that "the powers that be" would be glad if the decree were not made absolute.

PREM 1/461 Dec 1936 - May 1937 HRH Prince Edward created Duke of Windsor

 

 

File contains details on the orders of Knighthood and the Duke's position following the Abdication. There is also a copy of a declaration by H.M. King George VI, saying his "first act on succeeding My Brother will be to confer a Dukedom" (i.e. Duke of Windsor).

PREM 1/462 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 Correspondence with the Dominions and India

 

Copy of Dominions No.173 (as for DO 121/41). Includes correspondence with the British High Commissioner, Ottawa, and copies of telegrams about Press speculation before and after Abdication. Extract from a letter states that "Lord Queenborough said that he had positive information that there were strong grounds for believing that Mrs Simpson had been an agent for the German Government". Also, correspondence with the British High Commissioner in Australia. Paper on the actual 'timing' of the Proclamation of H.M. King George VI that was thought to be important. Some Australian newspapers took the view that the Abdication was 'forced'. Notes of a meeting with De Valera on the Abdication. De Valera's view was that he could not be expected to discuss the possibility of retaining the King until a firm offer of a united Ireland was forthcoming. Government had opposing view. New Zealand Governor General stated that the Dominion would be guided by the decision of the Home Government. In South Africa there were various views, and much interest in De Valera as a 'fighter for freedom'. In India views varied from letting the marriage go ahead without Abdication in the hope of weakening the influence of the crown, to feelings that the King should follow advice from Ministers and Mrs Simpson should not, in any case, be Queen.

PREM 1/463 Sept 1936-Nov 1937 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Papers of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary sent to the Prime Minister for retention

 

 

Various papers including: memorandum on the Irish Free State and the Statute of Westminster, dated 4 December 1936, with the possibility that they would not accept the 'new' King; drafts of Baldwin's meeting with the King of 20 October which discusses the concern of "widespread feeling in all sections of Your Majesty's subjects by Your Majesty's association with Mrs Ernest Simpson"; copies of Deeds transferring debentures to Mrs Simpson. Legal note on the document signed at Fort Belvedere on 10 December 1936; various legal 'agreements' between the King and the Duke relating to ownership of property; memoranda/letters relating to the legal questions following the Abdication, particularly the transfer of Balmoral and Sandringham, and payments to the Duke.

PREM 1/464 Sept-Dec 1937 HRH The Duke of Windsor's proposed visits to the USA and Germany

 

 

Telegram from H.M. Ambassador in Berlin to H.M. King George VI's Private Secretary (Hardinge) on the Duke's intended visit to Germany (organised under the auspices of the Reich) and the USA to study labour conditions. Letter from FO Permanent Under Secretary to Hardinge giving the Prime Minister's view that nothing could be done to prevent the Duke's proposed visits but that the Government should not countenance them. Mention is made of Hitler's communication with the Duke welcoming him as a guest of the Government. Letter from the British Legation to the FO Permanent Under Secretary recounting the visit of the American President of the International Chamber of Commerce to the Duke and Duchess at Wasserleonburg and comments on the Duke's health and the Duchesses' attitude to the Royal Family.

PREM 1/465 Nov 1937 - June 1938 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Financial arrangements and return to the UK

 

 

Correspondence between H.M. King George VI's solicitor and the solicitor to the Duke regarding the constitutional basis of a voluntary allowance paid by the former to the latter. Memorandum from Walter Monckton stating that the Duke resented the attempt to control his finances and that he did not believe exile was a condition of voluntary Abdication. Letter from the Duke to Baldwin saying he was not happy with exile nor with his treatment or that towards his wife by the Royal Family, and the Government and other related correspondence. The question of income tax being paid by someone who was 'exiled'.

PREM 1/466 1936-1939 Papers of Sir Horace Wilson

 

 

Typed history of the days surrounding the Abdication. Correspondence between Horace Wilson (adviser to the Prime Minister) and Walter Monckton (HRH The Duke of Windsor's adviser) concerning the publication of events by others.

PREM 1/467 Aug 1938 - Sept 1939 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Possible visit to the UK

 

 

Copies of letters from members of the public to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers regarding Press reports that the Duke may visit England and the issue of whether the HRH title should be applied to the Duchess. Typed and signed letters from the Duke to the Prime Minister, and correspondence from other key figures, concerning the Duke's proposed private visit to England. Hand-written letter from H.M. King George VI saying he does not like the idea of the Duke visiting England and another saying that Queen Mary did not wish to meet the Duchess. Precis of conversation between the Prime Minister and the Duke in Paris. Also correspondence about arrangements for the Duke and Duchess in the event of an emergency return to the UK following the announcement of war.

PREM 8/1580 April - Dec 1949 Duchess of Windsor: Question of bestowal of title Her Royal Highness

 

 

Letters relating to the possibility of George VI conferring the title of 'Her Royal Highness' on the Duchess. Hand written letter from H.M. King George VI to Clement Attlee reiterating that considerations against this proposal in 1937 remained valid. Letter from the Duke expressing disappointment. Statement to the Prime Minister of legal issues involved. Letter stating that the law was understood at the time and that there were deliberate steps taken to deprive the Duchess of the title, in accordance with the wishes of H.M. King George VI and H.M. Queen Mary. Also letters between the Prime Minister and Alan Lascelles regarding constitutional issues and the impact on Commonwealth countries.

PREM 11/32 Nov - Dec 1952 Question raised by HRH The Duke of Windsor about his attendance at the Coronation of H.M. Queen Elizabeth

 

 

Agreement that he should issue a press release giving reasons for his non- attendance. Contains signed original from the Duke to the Prime Minister. Correspondence also refers to the Duke transferring money to France. (See also PREM 11/245B).

PREM 11/245 Nov 1952 Request by HRH The Duke of Windsor to increase the amount of capital he was authorised to take to France

 

 

Request agreed. Contains original letter from the Duke to the Prime Minister. (Correspondence on this file touches upon the Duke's attendance at the Coronation - see PREM 11/32).

PREM 11/1571 March 1953 - Nov 1956 Correspondence about the proposed official biography of H.M. King George VI

 

 

The file is primarily concerned with a number of enquiries relating to research by Jack Wheeler-Bennett in connection with the biography. Includes a question concerning the appointment of HRH The Duke of Windsor's to the British Military Mission Paris in 1939, rather than to Lord Portal's staff in Wales. Notes of conversation between the King and President Roosevelt 1939 concerning US action in event of war.

PREM 11/5219 1952 -1961 HRH The Duke of Windsor miscellaneous correspondence

 

 

Letter from Kenneth de Courcy to Winston Churchill, on the death of H.M. King George VI, asking that H.M. Queen Elizabeth II be encouraged to develop friendship with the Duke allowing him to have a home in Britain and a role in public service abroad. Newspaper cutting regarding the end of payments to the Duke on the death of H.M. King George VI and the need for new payments under the civil list. Letter from Winston Churchill to the Foreign Secretary regarding the treatment of the Duke and Duchess - second-rate status at the British Embassy in Paris. Extract from a 1937 letter stating rules for invitations made to the Duke and Duchess by H.M. King George VI's representatives. Letter to Winston Churchill explaining that no discourtesy had been intended by the Embassy and correspondence saying that the rules should be reviewed and only apply to official functions. Also correspondence relating to the rewrite of 1937 book on H.M. King Edward VIII; the Duke's request to be considered as non resident in Britain and fears over a TV series in the USA about the Abdication. (1 paper to be withheld before transfer).

PREM 15/1184 Oct 1971 - June 1972 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Residence in the UK

 

 

Letters from the public requesting that the Duke and Duchess be allowed to return to England and response stating that there is no bar from their returning if they choose. Internal letter saying that the couple stay in Europe for tax purposes and because their social life is there. Statement of reasons for not holding parliamentary debate on the subject. [Marcus Lipton, Ian Paisley, William Price tabled motion in 1972 that the British Government extend official invitation]. Letters requesting conferment of title of 'Her Royal Highness' on the Duchess of Windsor, and replies in the negative.

Cabinet Office Files
CAB 21/4100/1 Dec 1936 - Aug 1937 Parliament - General

 

 

Constitutional Position in the event of H.M. King Edward VIII's marriage. Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII.

 

A collection of mainly public documents together with copies of correspondence about copying or reproducing the relevant 'Abdication' papers - none of which are on file, but are on file CAB21/4100/2.

CAB 21/4100/2 Nov - Dec 1936 Miscellaneous collection of 17 files and papers that are the 'Annex' to CAB21/4100

 

 

Most, if not all, of the contents can be found on other files.

 

Files numbered 2, 8, 9, which were missing from the file on 10/1/85 remain missing. (File 2, Sir Philip Game's report of 28 Nov; File 8, Correspondence with General Post Office re telephones; File 9, Stoppage of telegram of 6 Dec announcing Abdication.)

 

File 1: Sir Maurice George's memorandum of 24 November to the Home Secretary containing draft outline of Abdication Bill prepared for the Attorney General

 

File 3: Home Secretary's memorandum of 2 December 1936 - 3 copies including original manuscript. Memorandum sets out the action to be taken upon Abdication

 

File 4: PQs in House of Commons 4, 7 and 8 December 1936

 

File 5: miscellaneous drafts of Abdication bill

 

File 6: letters to Prime Minister re divorce law dated 3 and 8 December 1936

 

File 7: text of proposed broadcast by King and the Government's advice against the broadcast

 

File 10: copies of circular telegrams to Dominions

 

File 11: copies of telegrams to and from Australia

 

File 12: copies of telegrams from Canada

 

File 13: copies of telegrams from Irish Free State and a copy of a note of meeting between Sir Hugh Batterbee and De Valera, Dulante and Walsh

 

File 14: copies of telegrams from New Zealand



File 15: copies of telegrams from South Africa

 

File 16: Prime Minister's submission of 9 December informing the King that he had informed Cabinet of the King's decision to abdicate

 

File 17: draft of King's message. No indication as to the author of the manuscript amendments.

 

In addition to the above files there is a collection of papers, mostly copies of telegrams, but also two letters about the police protection afforded to Mrs Simpson whilst she was in France. The first is a report as to why two Metropolitan Police officers were with Mrs Simpson in France and under whose authority. There is a manuscript note at the end of the report to the effect that "what was understood from guarded language to be, that Mrs Simpson intended to 'flit' to Germany." The second is a submission to H.M. King Edward VIII in which the Home Secretary records the decision of the King to meet the cost of protection.

CAB 23/86 Dec 1936 Two sets of Cabinet Conclusions: both copies are marked for the attention of Mr Ramsay MacDonald

 

 

The Cabinet Conclusions 72 (36) contain comment in the margin on page 2, with no indication to whom this is attributable, on how the details would be read unfairly when the circumstances were not present in people's minds.

CAB 23/86 28 Oct 1936 - 16 Dec 1936 Cabinet Conclusions - Vol LIII

 

 

In addition to the formal Confidential annexes there are full, almost verbatim, records of conclusions and a record of a "Conference of Ministers" held at No.10 on 6 December 1936 that attribute views to individual Ministers.

The Confidential Annex of 69(36) is contained in an envelope that has a note from the then Cabinet Secretary (Sir Robert Armstrong) explaining that he opened the envelope in connection with a proposal that Philip Ziegler be allowed access. The Cabinet Secretary's note does not say if Ziegler saw the document but the cover of Ziegler's book states that he had access to Cabinet documents. The Annex was previously kept in another envelope in the bound volume and this has manuscript notes from four Cabinet Secretaries (Sir Norman Brook, Sir Burke Trend, Sir Robert Armstrong and Sir Robin Butler).

CAB 23/88/1 23 Mar 1937 - 7 July 1937 Cabinet Conclusions - Vol LV

 

 

The one relevant item (22/37 item 1) records that the King "wished his brother, the Duke of Windsor to continue personally to enjoy the title of Royal Highness". It also notes that this designation would not be extended to his wife or possible children.

CAB 127/155 Nov - Dec 1936 HRH The Duke of Windsor

 

 

Personal file of Sir Rupert Howarth (Deputy Secretary in the Cabinet Office).

File contains much duplication from CAB 127/156.

CAB 127/156 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Telegrams

 

 

Contains final version of telegrams sent to the Dominions and minutes of meetings. A note of a talk held on 29 November 1936 between Mr de Valera and Sir Hugh Batterbee covers Anglo-Irish matters as well as Abdication issues from an Irish Free State perspective.

CAB 127/157 Nov - Dec 1936 Notes by Sir Horace Wilson, Industrial Advisor to the Cabinet

 

 

These notes describe the events from the summer of 1936 to the Abdication. There are five annexes attached to the notes.

 

Annex I is a letter from the Editor of the Morning Post to the Prime Minister about a 'self-imposed' press silence.

 

Annex II is a draft telegram from the Prime Minister to the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa giving details of a meeting between the Prime Minister and the King, following the granting of a decree nisi to Mrs Simpson, and the King's wishes.

 

Annex III is a statement by Mrs Simpson "Willing to Withdraw" that appeared in The Times on 8 December 1936.

 

Annex IV is a statement by J Theodore Goddard (Mrs Simpson's Solicitor) dated 9 December 1936 in which he conveys that Mrs Simpson "was and still is perfectly willing to instruct me to withdraw her petition for divorce and indeed willing to do anything to prevent the King from abdicating. I am satisfied beyond any doubt this is Mrs Simpson's genuine and honest desire".

 

Annex V is a note written by Captain T L Dugdale (PPS) to Baldwin dated 8 December 1936 giving a potted history of the developments of the constitutional crisis following the desire of the King to marry Mrs Simpson. Also enclosed is a copy of an article, 'Before the Abdication - Private Secretary's letter to H.M. King Edward VIII', that appeared in The Times on 29 November 1955 by Lord Hardinge of Penhurst, former Private Secretary to H.M. King Edward VIII.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Files
DO 35/531/2/1 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII: Abdication - Communications (telegrams)with Canada

 

 

The question of which, if any, of the correspondence between Prime Ministers should be made public. UK hopes to avoid publication of any correspondence.

DO 35/531/2/2 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII.

 

 

Despatch from Sir Francis Floud, High Commissioner, Ottawa, dated 2 December 1936 drawing attention to the comparative detachment of the Canadians to the Abdication but expressing some concern about whether this would last. Suggests an early visit of H.M. The King to Canada.

DO 35/531/2/3 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Bill.

 

 

Text of Abdication Bill sent from High Commissioner in South Africa on 6 January 1937

DO 35/531/2/4 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union legislation

 

 

Exchanges about the date of accession of H.M. King George VI, i.e. a day earlier in South Africa than elsewhere.

DO 35/531/2/5 Dec 1936 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union - Constitutional points

 

 

Despatch 523 from High Commissioner, W H Clark, from Cape Town enclosing a translation of an article published by Die Burger on 15 December 1936 arguing that whilst H.M. King George VI reigns in Great Britain, H.M. King Edward VIII reigns in South Africa.

DO 35/531/2/6 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Copy of telegram from Lord Clarendon, Secretary to Governor General in South Africa about Bill needed to legalise acts done between 10 and 11 December by which King ascended throne in South Africa earlier than in Great Britain. King says he must be guided by the advice of His Union Ministers.

DO 35/531/2/7 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Publication of correspondence

 

 

Telegram from Canadian Prime Minister agreeing to course suggested.

DO 35/531/2/8 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Gramophone (sic) record of King Edward's message

 

 

Enquiries from Australia and Canada about a gramophone recording that had been made of H.M. King Edward VIII's Abdication message. BBC had distributed the message in Great Britain on the understanding that there would be no recording of it for reproduction, but a recording had been made in the US and being imported. View was taken here that this could not be helped and that no action would be taken to stop importation into UK.

DO 35/531/2/9 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Instrument of Abdication and Message from His Majesty

 

 

Exchanges about disposal of documents relating to the Abdication.

DO 35/531/2/10 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Abdication Bill

 

 

Further exchanges about the difficulties caused by divergence in dates of Accession.

DO 35/531/2/11 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner in South Africa dated 13 January 1937 suggesting a possible way forward on legislation but without much hope of moving General Hertzog from his position.

DO 35/531/2/12 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Telegram to the High Commissioner in South Africa sending message to General Hertzog about difficulties which would arise if he holds to his line about different dates for accession in South Africa and UK. Says theory of "your Bill" is that Edward VIII was not King when he gave assent to the UK Act which, on that theory, would be null and void.

DO 35/531/2/13 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

High Commissioner reports receipt of message.

DO 35/531/2/14 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

C.P. 16(37). Memorandum by Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Reports exchanges with General Hertzog as above - Cabinet "took note".

DO 35/531/2/15 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Union Legislation

 

Extract from note of telephone conversation with Sir William Clark on 18 January 1937. Abdication Bill introduced and alterations made in text but point above not addressed.

DO 35/531/2/16 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Summary of correspondence with South Africa about the UK Act and comments on some of the points made in General Hertzog's reply.

DO 35/531/2/17 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner in South Africa reporting on views of Parliamentary Draftsman which could be damaging to the Government case, but High Commissioner doubts if Government will "give in".

DO 35/531/2/18 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Note of telephone conversation between Sir Hugh Batterbee and Sir William Clark on 25 Jan 1937. Sir William advises Secretary of State to do nothing until it was clear how the debate on the Abdication Bill developed.

DO 35/531/2/19 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Summary of Proceedings in the House of Assembly on second reading of the Abdication Bill.

DO 35/531/2/20 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner recording meeting with Bodenstein in which he expressed surprise that the South African Prime Minister had read from secret telegrams in the House on 25 January 1937. Bodenstein said these went no further than Baldwin's statements in the House of Commons. High Commissioner said our government should have been the judge. Bodenstein promised greater care in future.

DO 35/531/2/21 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Bill

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner, SA 28 Jan 1937 - reporting Committee Stage in which some amendments were made to Union Bill.

DO 35/531/2/22 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Canadian Legislation

 

 

Copy of Bill No 1 for His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1936.

DO 35/531/2/23 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner, South Africa 28 Jan 1937, reporting on debate in Committee and noting that "you do not want me to pursue the matter further with General Hertzog at the present time".

DO 35/531/2/24 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Dominion Prime Ministers' Statements

 

 

Minute referring to papers containing the public announcements of the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, South Africa (papers not included)

DO 35/531/2/25 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Canadian Legislation

 

 

Copies of Parliamentary Debates together with copy of Bill No 1 for an Act respecting alteration in the law touching on the succession to the Throne. Comment that Mr Mackenzie King took the same line as General Hertzog about the demise of the Crown when H.M. King Edward VIII abdicated. Letter from Harding to Floud dated 23 March 1937 saying that legal advisers took a different view and that there was controversy with the Union Govt on this point.

DO 35/531/2/26 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Union Legislation

 

Telegram from High Commissioner in South Africa dated 4 February 1937, reporting on third Reading of Abdication Bill during which it was said that there was a strong feeling in England against the Abdication and that if the Act had been signed by his present Majesty much bad feeling might have resulted. High Commissioner had written to Pirow asking him to remove this impression if the opportunity occurs.

DO 35/531/2/27 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Union Legislation

 

Record of High Commissioner's talk with General Hertzog trying to persuade him of the incorrectness of the Union Legislation which made H.M. King George VI, King in the Union one day before he became King in Great Britain. Persuasion failed.

DO 35/531/2/28 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Signature of the Abdication Act

 

 

Letter from High Commissioner (W H Clark) to The Hon O Pirow.

DO 35/531/2/29 Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Copies of letters between Clark and General Hertzog about their differing recollections of content of conversations about the demise of the Crown issue.

DO 35/531/2/30 Jan 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Union Act No 2 of 1937

 

 

Copies of Abdication Bill and translation of text of Act from Union Gazette Extraordinary 10 Feb 1937.

DO 35/531/2/31 Feb 1937 Mr Latham's history of the Abdication

 

 

Letter from Mr R T E Latham to Mr MacDonald dated 1 February 1937, enclosing a draft of his narration of the course of events up to the Abdication Act asking for it to be vetted for accuracy. Draft not in jacket. Official comments on it. Latham to be seen by an official to put forward amendments.

DO 35/531/2/32 Jan - March 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Union Legislation

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner, South Africa, dated 26 January 1937 reporting on speech by Prime Minister and referring to a report in the Cape Times which said, whilst expressing a mild preference for an identical date, "the matter is one really of no profound significance". High Commissioner says he sees no prospect of the Prime Minister being moved from his position. Letter of 15 February 1937 from High Commissioner to Sir Hugh Batterbee reporting on a conversation he had with Pirow at a dinner given by 'Abe Bailey' at which he took him to ask about the Union's attitude. Pirow said that it did not really matter whether George VI came to the Throne on 10 or 11 Dec so he had no scruples about doing what he could to get the Bill through. Also draft letter from MacDonald to High Commissioner, commenting on the above and saying that Clark should inform General Hertzog that he did not propose to continue the correspondence as no good purpose could be served by pursuing the matter when it was impossible to reach agreement.

DO 35/531/2/33 April - June 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Telegram from High Commissioner, South Africa dated 8 April 1937 suggesting that Secretary of State might more appropriately mention matter to General Hertzog saying that he had never answered last letter because he felt it impossible to reach agreement. Draft reply from Sir E Harding dated 16 June 1937, saying that Secretary of State thinks it better not to raise the matter at all.

DO 35/531/2/34 Feb - April 1937 Constitutional Matters. Recent Constitutional Crisis

 

 

Letter from Antrobus, Office of the High Commissioner, Cape Town, dated 12 Feb 1937, asking for copies of despatches from Canada, Australia and New Zealand regarding the Abdication for the purpose of studying the constitutional points which arose in the other Dominions.

DO 35/531/2/35 Sept 1937 H.M. King Edward VIII - Abdication: Reception in New Zealand of news of Abdication

 

 

Extracts from Parliamentary debates on 9 September 1937 and Extract from Secret Quarterly Report by Governor General of New Zealand (undated) - mainly favourable towards H.M. King George VI and H.M. The Queen and Baldwin. Also Abdication provided a useful example of how crises are handled in time of national emergency.

DO 35/531/2/36 Sept 1937 - Dec 1939 HRH The Duke of Windsor

 

 

Contains many Press Cuttings and letters from Buckingham Palace and internal minutes about them. Mainly about whether the Duke should return to England, about proposed visits to Germany and the USA. Much about possibility of visit to Canada and the perceived problems this would cause. Folio 22 contains a reference in the Toronto Daily Star about a friendship with Ribbentrop.

DO 35/531/2/37 Nov - Dec 1936 Marriage of HRH The Duke of Windsor: Canadian Press comments

 

 

Mainly comments in the Canadian Press about the fact that members of the Royal Family would not be attending the wedding and the vexed question of the status of the Duchess. Some minuting commenting on the media extracts.

DO 35/531/2/38 Dec 1936 - May 1940 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Secret Dominions Office Print

 

 

Contains minutes etc about the Print, not the Print itself.

DO 35/531/2/39 Sept 1940 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII.

 

 

Criticisms of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the Bahamas. Extract from the Globe and Mail of 10 September 1940, sent by High Commissioner in Ottawa.

DO 114/81 1937 Dominions No 173

 

 

NB This comprises a copy of a document in DO 121/41 (See below)

DO 121/32 Nov - Dec 1936 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII: Telegrams sent to UK High Commissioners in Commonwealth countries

 

 

Starts with original of Prime Minister's Telegram informing Dominions of his conversations with H.M. King Edward VIII in November 1936 in which the King told him that he proposed to marry Mrs Simpson and abdicate unless legislation could be introduced whereby he could marry but Mrs Simpson would not become Queen and her children would not succeed to the Throne. Asked Dominions for informal views on the alternatives. Wrote similarly to President of Irish Free State. Summary at folio 3 - all reluctantly favour Abdication. Irish Free State initially in favour of marriage without succession but only on misunderstanding of position in the UK as regards divorce. Telegram sent on 3 December 1936 to Heads of Australian States and to Governor, New Foundland and Governor Rhodesia (folio A20). Telegrams and drafts of telegrams on procedural matters.

DO 121/33 Nov - Dec 1936 Copies of telegrams from the High Commissioner in Canada

 

 

Reports on rumours etc in Canadian media. Canadian Prime Minister anxious that it should not be thought that Canada or Canadian opinion had been a determining factor in the situation any more than any other Dominion. Ends with congratulatory telegram from Canadian Prime Minister to Baldwin expressing appreciation for his incomparable service in the crisis and a letter from High Commissioner, Ottawa thanking Secretary of State for a letter of thanks for work done in his office.

DO 121/34 Nov - Dec 1936 Copies of telegrams from the High Commissioner in Australia

 

 

Government of Australia strongly in favour of Abdication from options available. Folio C25 contains statements from Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. The latter says that "The Opposition will leave the King unfettered in choosing his wife and hopes King will remain on Throne".

DO 121/35 Dec 1936 Copies of telegrams from the High Commissioner in New Zealand

 

 

Not many papers. Telegrams show reluctant agreement that Abdication is only course available, though some sympathy for morganatic marriage. New Zealand willing to be guided by UK government.

DO 121/36 Nov - Dec 1936 Copies of telegrams from the High Commissioner in South Africa

 

 

Begins with telegram from High Commissioner in South Africa with message from Prime Minister about shock in South Africa at the King's proposed Abdication. Everything possible should be done to dissuade the King and, in the last resort, the lady in question from doing anything so disastrous to the Crown. If King remains obdurate no alternative to Abdication. File also contains telegrams about procedural matters e.g. whether the Abdication Act should refer to the "assent" of the Union Parliament rather than "request and consent" which implies that the Dominions had taken the initiative; also summaries of reports in the South African press. At E10 a message from the Governor-General for the King regretting his proposal to marry Mrs Simpson.

DO 121/37 Dec 1936 Records of consultations with the President of the Irish Free State

 

 

Folio 1 is a report on a meeting between Sir Hugh Batterbee and Mr de Valera at which Mr Dulanty and Mr Walshe were also present. Meeting took place on Sunday 29 November 1936. De Valera said that Irish Free State looked at the matter from the point of view of function not as a personal matter. Discussed whether legislation was necessary to amend the Act of Settlement also difficulty of legislating on the matter in the Dail. Batterbee pointed out that if Dail did not legislate the Irish Free State might find itself with King Edward as its King after he had ceased to be so in other parts of the Empire. After discussion it was agreed that Abdication was the only possible alternative. Batterbee went on to discuss with Walshe and Hearne the constitutional implications for the two countries. Further report on these talks at Folio 3. F6 is a copy of a telegram to the King from the President of the Executive Council, Irish Free State asking the King about his intentions. Further telegrams about procedural matters. Rest of the file comprises 47 appendices starting with the report of meeting with de Valera and following with copies of telegrams from and to other Dominions.

DO 121/38 Nov - Dec 1936 Copies of telegrams to and from High Commissioners in Commonwealth countries and other papers held by the then Legal Adviser, Dominions Office

 

 

Mainly copies of telegrams contained in other files plus some correspondence about legal position and drafting of the Abdication Bill. Contains another copy of the report on Sir Hugh Batterbee's meeting with de Valera including subsequent talks with Dulanty and Walshe.

DO 121/39 Nov - Dec 1936 Telegrams to and from High Commissioners in Commonwealth Countries and several secret memoranda regarding the legal and constitutional position

 

 

Countries included - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Union of South Africa, and Irish Free State. One folder contains some interesting historical policy papers.

DO 121/40 Dec 1936 - June 1937 'Imperial Fund' established by Sir Henry Strakosch after the Abdication

 

 

Sir Henry Strakosch wrote to the Prime Minister on 14 December 1936 offering, in recognition of the noble part played by the Prime Minister in the events (Abdication), £250,000 for the purpose of endowing any object which, in his opinion, was best calculated to enhance and consolidate still further the bonds of Empire. Gift to be made anonymous. 'Gift' Committee set up under Chairmanship of Lord Halifax which recommended the establishment of a new Imperial trust, to be administered by independent Trustees, who would be given full discretion to allocate the income from time to time to such objects as they might think fit in the interests of inter-Imperial relations.

DO 121/41 1937 Printed version headed Dominions No. 173 entitled The Abdication of His Majesty King Edward VIII

 

 

Correspondence with the Dominions and relating to legislative action taken in regard to the Abdication.

CO 323/1407/11 Dec 1936 Accession of H.M. King George VI - Main File Part 1

 

 

Collection of telegrams sent to the Officers Administering the Government of the Colonial Dependencies in connection with the Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and the Accession of H.M. King George VI. Includes telegrams sent to the Civil Service and the forces by H.M. King George VI on his accession. Folio 41 is a copy of the Form of Proclamation sent by Hankey to the Under Secretary of State, Colonial Office.

CO 323/1407/12 Dec 1936-Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and Accession of H.M. King George VI. Messages - Main file

 

 

Correspondence and minutes showing that despatches describing the ceremonies in various parts of the Empire on the occasion of H.M. King George VI's Accession were not sent to Buckingham Palace but lists of the dependencies from which such despatches were received were drawn up and forwarded to the King at frequent intervals. On the occasion of the Accession of H.M. King Edward VIII it was agreed that Governors should be informed, where necessary, that the despatches had been laid before the King. Same procedure to apply in case of Accession of H.M. King George VI. The lists of senders were divided into two categories: (1) messages from persons or bodies of some local or political importance; (2) similar messages from relatively unimportant persons or bodies.

CO 323/1407/13 Dec 1936-Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and the Accession of H.M. King George. Privy Signet - continued use

 

 

Contains actual document signed by H.M King George VI authorising use of Privy Signet of H.M. King George V until another Privy Signet has been made.

Privy Council Office Files
PC 12/159/1 Mar 1936 - Jan 1937 Papers relating to the setting up of the Privy Council Committee on the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

File contains three folders:-i. Composition of Coronation Committee and Executive Committee; ii. Cabinet Committee; iii. Date of Coronation.

PC 12/159/2 July 1935 - Nov 1936 Papers dealing with various aspects of the procedural arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

File contains seven folders: i. Form of the Coronation Oath; ii. Court of Claims; iii. Announcement of the date of the Coronation; iv. Accession Declaration Act; v. Coronation Oath, includes a historical note on the Oath; vi. correspondence with Dominions, Colonies, India, etc including copy of telegram to Governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Irish Free State concerning the date of the Coronation; vii. Court of Claims.

PC 12/159/3 Feb 1936 - March 1937 Papers dealing with the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII and H.M. King George VI

 

 

File contains seven folders: Coronation and Committee; Coronation Sheriffs - General 1937; Question of the Standard of Ireland in connection with the Coronation; Proposals for a ceremony in Scotland following the King's Coronation in Westminster. The proposals by the Lyon King of Arms include recognition of the King "as the only lawful and rightful King of Scotland" and the assumption of King Edward of the old regalia of the Scottish Kings". The reply from the Lord Advocate was that the proposed ceremony should be revised in such a way as to "omit these objectionable features" and sets out the reasons why to include them would not be appropriate; Coronation Commission - Coronation Joint Committee, includes copy of telegrams to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Irish Free State on proposals for establishing a Coronation Commission. Other papers relate to its setting up, including copies of telegrams informing Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa of the King's approval of those nominated to sit on the Commission; Coronation Council - Includes a memorandum covering how the Coronation is initiated. Also proposals for Ministers to be nominated to the Executive Committee which the Prime minister rejected; Lord President's notes for an Audience with the King and subsequent memorandum on arrangements for the Coronation.

PC 12/160 Jan 1936 - Jan 1937 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and Accession of H.M. King George VI

 

 

File contains an unsigned copy of the Instrument of Abdication and three folders: Correspondence concerning the administration of the Declaration relating to the Protestant faith to the King at the Coronation; Statement explaining the presence of the High Commissioner of South Africa at the Accession Council and his signature of the Accession Proclamation. Includes a note describing the summoning of the overseas High Commissioners and the initiation of a new ceremony at which they conveyed the loyal greetings and good wishes of their respective countries to a Sovereign for the first time; Summons to Privy Counsellors and letters to certain High Commissioners for the Accession Council on 12 May 1936. Includes an account (by Leadbitter) of the proceedings at the Accession Council and the practical problems that were encountered.

PC 12/163 Jan 1937 Status of HRH The Duke of Windsor as a Privy Counsellor.

 

 

Includes the Law Officers' opinion that he is not.

Home Office Files
HO 144/20299 July 1936 'Abroad in Ireland' by Brown Gibbons

 

 

Inclusion of a paragraph derogatory to H.M. King Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales. Letter dated 7 July 1936 from Lord Craigavon informing Home Office. Home Office response was there were no grounds for instituting criminal proceedings against the author.

HO 144/21054/1 Jan - Nov 1936 Collection of small files on a variety of topics concerning the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Includes: application for an invitation to the Coronation from La Dame de Sark; Court of Claims - Privy Council papers; request from the Federal Council of evangelical Free Churches that they be allocated some part of the Service; the use of portraits of His Majesty on flags, crowns etc; Enquiry by Marshall Engraving Co Ltd as to the necessity of obtaining permission; hopes of the Town Clerk of Islington that His Majesty would visit during the celebrations; London Passenger Transport Board and the traffic arrangements for the Coronation; extracts of cabinet papers on the arrangements for the Coronation; Parliamentary Question on the arrangements for the Coronation; and African Church Stores - letter from the general manager seeking details on arrangements for the Coronation.

HO 144/21054/2 May - Oct 1936 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Includes: letter from British Empire Union on importation of foreign flags for the Coronation; letter from the Private secretary to the Governor of Northern Ireland seeking representation of the city of Belfast at the Coronation; Coronation decorations in the cities of London and Westminster; publication of Proclamation of His Majesty on Jersey; copy of a note of a talk between Commander Adams and Mr McAdam relating to the programme issued by the Jubilee Trust; the States of Jersey seeking confirmation whether to secure representation it must formally petition, the militia may be present and if seats can be given to wives when the Governor and Bailiff attend; Coronation arrangements in Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man; Privy Council office papers on the issue of forward copies of the proclamation on 28 May 1936.

HO 144/21054/3 July - Dec 1936 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Includes: request that a representation of the royal Guernsey Militia takes part in the London ceremonies; examples of two colours issued by the British Colour Council for use as fashion colours during the Coronation year; details of representatives of the UK and the Empire on the Coronation Commission and the appointment of Sir John Simon as the UK representative; facilities for prison officers to participate in the celebrations; a Privy Council Office Order as to the Abbey Coronation Service; a Privy Council Office order appointing an Executive Committee for Coronation preparations; a Privy Council Office order appointing R U E Knox CVO, DSO, secretary to the Executive Committee; correspondence from Northern Ireland Cabinet Secretary seeking assurance that representation of Northern Ireland was not overlooked at the Coronation; note summarising the first meeting of the Coronation Committee held on 7 January 1936.

HO 144/21055/1 Aug 1936 - Feb 1937 File contains 18 folders on arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII and H.M. King George VI

 

 

Except for one folder, which contains the sealed document setting up the Coronation Commission which is signed by the King and the Home Secretary, the other folders contain correspondence and published documents on a variety of matters concerned with the arrangements, for example: Enquiries from commercial printers about the shading of the Coronation colours; Exchanges of correspondence between the Australian High Commission and the Dominions Office regarding the use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms on Coronation souvenirs; Representation of the Royal Jersey and Royal Guernsey militia at the Coronation; Requests from the Old Contemptibles Association to have a representative party on the Line of route to Westminster; Redecoration of buildings; Use of Royal emblems; Commemorative medals; Coronation Programmes.

HO 144/21055/2 Oct 1936 - Mar 1937 File contains 10 folders on the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII and H.M. King George VI

 

 

All containing routine correspondence on a variety of matters such as: The use of the Royal emblem; Issue of invitations to Northern Ireland; Appointment of doorkeepers to Westminster Abbey; Timber and other materials for Abbey preparations; Celebrations in approved schools; London traffic.

HO 144/21056/1 Dec 1936 - Jan 1937 File contains 15 folders on the various aspects of the coronation of H.M. King George VI

 

 

One folder (flagged) dealing with dangerous persons contains an anonymous letter referring to a named Irishwoman who is subsequently identified as the cousin of George Bernard Shaw and whose mental state is commented upon. Otherwise the file contains a number of folders on routine matters, e.g. Civil Service at the Coronation; Access and egress of carriages on the day; Abbey preparations.

HO 144/21056/2 Nov 1936 - April 1937 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII and H.M. King George VI

 

 

Includes: formal copies of the proclamation and a copy of the Belfast Gazette; Privy Council Orders - appointing Claims Commissioners, ordering the proclaiming of the proclamation and appointing Coronation Committee; details of procedure, dress etc at the Coronation for Metropolitan Mayors; flags to be flown in Scotland for the Coronation; Parliamentary Questions on an oath of allegiance and Coronation ceremony.

HO 144/21057/1 Feb - March 1937 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Includes: Privy Council order of 11 February by the Coronation Committee for the Coronation service to take place at Westminster Abbey; proclamation that Wednesday 12 May 1937 would be a Bank Holiday; authority for closure of Metropolitan Police Courts on Coronation day; Parliamentary Question regarding arrangements for Coronation illuminations; attendance of representatives of Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of man at the Naval Review, Spithead, on 20 May 1937; Miss Aida Shaw (second cousin of George Bernard Shaw) under police observations. Letter from George Bernard Shaw to the Home Secretary protesting against the suggestion that Miss Shaw was plotting a demonstration at the Coronation; message by the King to the House of Commons, presented by the Home Secretary, inviting them to his Coronation; details of the Standard to be carried and in what precedence at the Coronation; details of school holiday being granted from 12 to 18 May; objections to the presence of General Goering attending the Coronation, organised by the Daily Worker; approval for boys from St Williams school to attend local Coronation celebrations in Holland payment of expenses.

HO 144/21057/2 Feb - April 1937 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Includes: Coronation holiday for civil servants on Wednesday 12 May 1937; details of arrangements for sight seeing coaches to be used by schools to see Coronation procession; funding the decoration of police stations for the Coronation; seating of Prime Ministers at the Service; Irish participation; arrangements for Headboys and Headgirls of good character in Approved Schools to see the Coronation; agreement for Bank Holiday on the Isle of Alderney on 12 May 1937; attendance of Mr Speaker at Westminster Abbey as representative of the House of Commons; precautionary measures to deal with demonstrations against foreign royalties at the Coronation; form and order of service for use in the Church of Scotland; Parliamentary Questions on protection from undesirable characters (confidence men, professional beggars); arrangements for broadcasts of the proceedings to be heard on naval ships at sea; ring of bells in the Borough of Bromley as the King and Queen leave the Abbey; arrangements for the decorations and illuminations for Coronation week; Coronation fires; arrangements for the handling of Coronation gifts to their Majesties; Privy Council Order approving the order of service.

HO 144/21058/1 April 1937 - Oct 1938 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Includes: panorama of the Coronation procession presented to the Home Office library; the cost of conveyance of Gold Staff Officers in the Home Office to and from Westminster Abbey; Coronation service - infringements in Canada of crown copyright; enquiry as to whether the Standard of Wales borne by the Earl of Plymouth at Coronation could be deposited in the National Museum; wearing of swords by officers attending Coronation; copies of messages from the King to the Coronation Commission; Coronation ceremony passes issued to members of the press.

HO 144/21058/2 July 1936 - May 1937 Collection of small files on various aspects of the arrangements for the Coronation of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Includes: attendance of a Papal mission to the Coronation; reproduction of the Service in newspapers; copy of the Coronation orders 1937; proclamation of 12 May as a Bank Holiday; appeal to have the ban on Coronation street parties removed; Coronation invitations to the Lord Mayor of Belfast and Lord Justice Best; dress to be worn by the Speaker of the House of Commons; dates for holding Petty Session courts on Coronation day; reception of Diplomatic Corps and Dominion Prime Ministers; by-elections-completion of, so as to avoid interfering with celebrations.

HO 144/21059/1 July 1936 - March 1937 Papers of the Coronation Committee of the Privy Council

 

 

Coronation Joint Committee and Coronation Executive Committee (papers 1 to 47). Minutes of meetings and reports.

HO 144/21059/2 Oct 1936 - May 1937 Papers of Coronation Committee of the Privy Council and Coronation Executive Committee

 

 

Papers on the Coronation of H.M. King George VI and H.M. King Edward VIII.

HO 144/21059/3 Nov 1936 - June1937 Copy of interim report of the Executive Committee on the Coronation of H.M. King Edward VIII

 

 

Contains an index of Home Office papers.

HO 144/21070 Dec 1936 - Oct 1937 Precis of Home Office papers on the Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and the Accession of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Questions on constitutional aspects of H.M. King Edward VIII's marriage - Questions asked in the House of Commons. Procedures and etiquette, transcripts of telegrams sent to British Embassies in Commonwealth countries. Parliamentary debates on the Abdication. Copy of the Abdication Bill and Proclamation of H.M. King George VI; confirming passing of Abdication Bill and his Accession to the throne. New Seals; orders in Privy Council; Renewal of Royal Commissions due to Abdication; Reading of H.M. King George VI's Proclamation London District Orders; Declaration of H.M. King George VI at the Accession Council; H.M. King George VI's message to parliament and vice versa; Privy Council order for terms of declaration; oath to preserve Protestant and Presbyterian religion in Scotland; approval of form of declaration; Great Seal, Court of St James/Temple Bar, Tower/Hyde Park; Proclamation in Scotland, authorisation of seals.

HO 144/21071 Dec 1936 - June 1938 Abdication of H.M. King Edward VIII and Accession of H.M. King George VI

 

 

Procedures for Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. King's message to the Empire. Alteration to Accession Service in Book of Common Prayer. Records of farewell speech of Duke of Windsor.

HO 144/22448 July 1937 - Dec 1940 Collection of small files

 

 

File contains eight folders including three on the "Octavian Society" an organisation formed "to combat all ungenerous treatment of the Duke of Windsor". Each of the three contains Special Branch reports. Three of the other files contain Special Branch reports on individuals. The remaining two deal with the press. The first deals with a complaint against the Daily Mirror for inviting "its readers to express their views on the desirability of the Duke of Windsor returning to this country". The Home Secretary decided that no action should be taken; the second is a protest from a member of the public about an article in the Sunday Pictorial. (NB 1 paragraph in file 802129 is closed)

HO 144/22945 June 1917 - Nov 1947 Collection of small files

 

 

Includes: granting of use of 'HRH' by Mountbatten (Duke of Edinburgh); granting of use of HRH by Duke of Windsor; papers leading up to the granting of latter including a note of meeting held by Home Secretary on 6 April 1937; papers about granting of HRH to Mrs Simpson; HRH conferred on H.M. The Queen Mother on her marriage in 1923; future style and precedence of members of Royal Family copy of letters patent of 1918; Warrant of Precedence in favour of Lord Leopold Mountbatten (1917) (draft also in file); style and title of Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family (1918); granting of a warrant to Lord Leopold Mountbatten the rank and precedence of the younger son of a Marquess (1917); special style and precedence to grandchildren of the sons of any Sovereign not merely the reigning Sovereign (1917); relinquishment of German titles and stylings by members of the Royal Family (1917): College of Arms. Precedence of Count Gleichen his wife and sisters (1917); papers leading up to Precedence of Count Gleichen his wife and sisters (1917); petition for change and name style and title of Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg (1917); petition to change of surname by Prince Alexander of Teck (1917); change of name, style and titles: Duke of Teck, Prince Alexander of Battenberg and Prince Leopold of Battenberg (1917); Prince Alexander of Battenberg created Viscount Launceston (1917); Prince Louis of Battenberg created Viscount Alderney (1917); Prince Alexander Teck created Viscount Trematon (1917). Payment of fees by certain members of Royal Family on assuming peerages (1917): payment of fees by the 4 Battenbergs (1917); English titles for Englishmen Times extracts (the 4 Battenbergs).

HO 144/23032 Dec 1936 - March 1937 Draft addresses and resolutions of loyalty and congratulations to H.M. King George VI
HO 144/23033 Jan - Aug 1937 Arrangements for deputations to present Addresses of Allegiance

 

 

Deputations from various civil, religious and business organisations on the Accession of H.M. King George VI.

HO 290/104 July 1958 - June 1972 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Procedure on his death

 

 

File contains a Cabinet Office note dated March 1965 on the "Procedure on the death of the Duke of Windsor" and all the earlier papers leading up to it. It also includes correspondence detailing the action undertaken by the Home Office when the news of his death was received. It does not include any correspondence about the details of the funeral itself.

Treasury Solicitor's Department Files
TS 22/1 27 Oct 1936 King's Proctor files: Simpson v Simpson

 

 

Instruction to the Attorney General: background to the divorce and enquiries by the King's Proctor; reports on interviews with servants; transcript of divorce proceedings; statements from Stephenson/Cox concerning interventions; letters from members of the public asking the King's Proctor to intervene to stop the divorce and providing hearsay observations. Conclusions by the King's Proctor as to whether collusion had occurred and possible adultery by Mrs Simpson.

Metropolitan Police Files
MEPO 10/35 Mar 1935 - Jan 1939 Miscellaneous Special Branch Papers

HRH The Duke of Windsor and Mrs Wallace Simpson: protection arrangements:

Correspondence between the Home Secretary and the Commissioner relating to levels of protection; protection officer's reports; anonymous letters; notes on proposed visit to UK (1939). Includes: letter from Home Secretary (Sir John Simon) to Sir Philip Game (Commissioner) concerning what level of security was being afforded to Mrs Simpson (1935); and magazines and press extracts. Identification of Mrs Simpson's alleged secret lover.

MEPO 38/182 Nov 1946 - Sept 1968 HRH The Duke of Windsor: Protection file

Correspondence with Home Office on levels of protection; protection officers' reports etc.