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MRS Simpson had already been described by Palace courtiers as a witch, a vampire and a high-class blackmailer. Within weeks of Edward ascending the throne in January 1936, there was considerable concern that the Government red boxes – which to this day are ferried to the Palace containing intelligence reports, policy briefings and important documents needing Royal approval or signature – were being treated in a cavalier manner, their contents accessible to prying eyes.The pre-war Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, learned that the French and Swiss governments knew that the King was discussing everything with Mrs Simpson.As she was believed to be ‘in the pocket of Ribbentrop’, this was a matter of grave concern.All the while Hitler was observing developments from afar, sitting in his private cinema watching newsreels of the new young King, Edward VIII, and his American mistress.Inside was unique microfilm that revealed the innermost workings of the Nazi regime.
Even Hitler was intrigued by her relationship with the pompous but charming Von Ribbentrop, who had singled her out for special attention when he was Nazi ambassador in London in the 1930s.They considered her a political intriguer – possibly a Nazi spy, but certainly a woman with direct access to Hitler himself.It was not long before worried Establishment figures wondered if Princess Stephanie and Wallis were working hand-in-glove, and Bryanston Court was a nest of espionage and plotting.Taken at face value, the Duke was speaking high treason, giving succour to the enemy when Britain faced its darkest hour of the war.If the German files were to be believed, here was a man who had no faith in his country’s leaders or his own family.
Historian John Costello later described the Duke’s sentiments as ‘tantamount to treason’.