Nazi sympathiser and former King the Duke of Windsor 'wanted England to be bombed', international archives reveal

The Duke of Windsor was forced to abdicate in 1936

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 09 June 2015 17:10 BST
Duke and Duchess of Windsor pictured in 1939.
Duke and Duchess of Windsor pictured in 1939. (Central Press/Getty Images)

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The Duke of Windsor, who is widely regarded as a Nazi sympathiser, once argued that bombing England could bring peace by ending WWII, it has emerged.

Correspondence kept in the Royal Archives between the British royal family and their German relatives in the run up to WWII remains confidential.

However, information pieced together from open archives across 30 countries, including Germany, Spain and Russia, has revealed the close relationship some members of the European aristocracy had with the Nazis.

Dr Karina Urbach, senior research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advance Study at the University of London, has uncovered how the Duke of Windsor told Don Javier Bermejillo, his old friend and Spanish diplomat, that the British royal blamed “the Jews, the Reds and the Foreign Office for the war”.

Writing for The Conversation, Dr Urbach explained how Windsor told Bermejillo on 25 June 1940 that “if one bombed England effectively this could bring peace.

“Bermejillo concluded that the Duke of Windsor seemed very much to hope that this would occur: 'He wants peace at any price.',” wrote Dr Urbach.

She added: “This report went to Franco and was then passed on to the Germans. The bombing of Britain started on 10 July.”

The Duke of Coburg (right) was a key member of Hitker's group of aristocratic go-betweens (Photo: Getty)
The Duke of Coburg (right) was a key member of Hitker's group of aristocratic go-betweens (Photo: Getty) (J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Research Dr Urbach has documented in her new book Go-Betweens for Hitler also shows how Nazi supporter Charles Edward Duke of Coburg was a key figure in the network of private individuals who Adolf Hilter used for covert negotiations when he mistrusted his foreign ministry.

As Coburg's sister Alice Countess of Athlone was the Queen Mary’s sister-in-law, he was “welcomed […] by the royals, including the Duke of Windsor” to the extend he was invited to visit George V and the Queen at Sandringham in 1932, according to Dr Urbach.

The two Dukes became so close that they hoped to strike an Anglo-German alliance.

According to Dr Urbach’s findings, the Soviet intelligence services were certain that the Duke of Windsor was a Nazi sympathiser when war broke out, and reported in 1940 that he and Hitler had discussed forming a new English government, and striking an alliance with Germany based on having the USSR as their shared enemy.

The revelations come after a book published earlier this year revealed that Hitler wanted to use Windsor when he was still King as a puppet on the British throne.

Before he abdicated and a month after Hitler occupied the Rhineland in March 1936, Windsor sent Hitler a telegram wishing him "happiness and welfare" for his 47th birthday, according to an extract of Seventeen Carnations - The Windsors, The Nazis and the Cover-Up by author Andrew Morton seen by the Mail on Sunday.

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