THE SECRET FILE OF THE DUKE OF WINDSOR: The Privat by Michael Bloch

THE SECRET FILE OF THE DUKE OF WINDSOR: The Privat

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Drawn largely from the Duke's own papers: The story of his exile following abdication, and covering the first 18 years of his wanderings until the mid-1950's, when he at last abandoned hope of ever returning permanently to England with the Duchess. This version avoids all the scandal that has made some recent studies of the Duke and Duchess so deliciously dirty, especially Charles Higham's The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life (1988). Bloch holds that much of this contentious material will be handled by Philip Zeigler's forthcoming official biography of King Edward VIII, for the writing of which "full access to the relevant governmental and royal archives" has been granted. He dismisses the Duke and Duchess' German honeymoon and meetings with leading Nazis as not politically meaningful--although Higham thinks the Windsors' German ties are what kept the Duke from being allowed to serve during WW II. During the period covered, the Duke's main ambitions were to have royal status granted the Duchess (a denial he saw as "a kind of Berlin Wall" cutting him off from his country): to negotiate his annual pension (cut after a shocking breach of promise by his brother); to get some kind of war post or, later, postwar post (even ambassadorship to Brazil) that would make him feel worthwhile; to go home again with the Duchess, if even for 15 minutes at some royal ceremony (in 1964, he and the Duchess eventually attended with the Royal Family the dedication of a plaque in memory of Queen Mary--but this did nothing to alleviate either public notoriety surrounding the Duchess' name or the fact that in 1953 the Windsors were banned from Elizabeth's coronation)--ambitions that ended in bitterness and disillusionment, the Duke attending to his gardening, golf, dogs, and pipes, and writing his memoirs for Life. The Duke achieves warmth and a sustained nobility here and the Duchess a certain cheeriness--not always granted by authors bent on limning their backsides, A lively read.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1989
ISBN: 06-016090-X
Publisher: HarperCollins
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