Queen Mother defended over Mrs Simpson

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The Independent Online
Prince Edward yesterday defended the Queen Mother against charges that she harboured a personal hatred for the late Duchess of Windsor.

The Prince was speaking after the press screening of Edward on Edward, his documentary about the abdication and exile of his great-uncle, the Duke of Windsor.

The Queen Mother - the prince's grandmother - is hardly mentioned in the two-hour documentary. But Prince Edward said afterwards: "There are all sorts of stories in the public domain involving the Queen Mother which I believe are actually fatally inaccurate.

"She, like every other royal lady in the household at the time, was put in an utterly impossible position by Edward's decision to marry a divorcee. They were never going to be able publicly to acknowledge her in any way.

"The inevitable gulf that occurred has been interpreted by people to say that it was a deep-seated and personal matter which, from all that I have discovered, just isn't the case."

The Prince's comments contradict the widely-held belief that the Queen Mother never forgave the Windsors for catapulting her husband, George, on to the throne, for which he was not prepared. The Duchess was never granted the title Her Royal Highness, and lived in exile with her husband for most of their lives after they married.

Prince Edward also defends his great-uncle against historians' charges that he collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War. In the documentary, made by his own Ardent Production company, he says: "The Duke may have been awkward, selfish and intransigent to deal with, but there's no evidence that he would ever betray his country."

The lack of documentary evidence has been interpreted by some critics as indicating a cover-up. "I can't uncover any evidence of that, and I have tried," said the Prince, who gained privileged access to royal archives in making the programme. Not only the Queen Mother, but other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, were largely omitted from the documentary, to be screened in two parts later this month. "That was quite deliberate," the Prince said. "I didn't feel it was necessary to put them through that."

9 Edward on Edward, made in association with Desmond Wilcox, will be transmitted on on ITV on Tuesday 23 April and Tuesday 30 April.