The Harry and Meghan episode is worse than the abdication crisis

There are lots of parallels between Wallis Simpson and former King Edward VIII (left) and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (right) (Insider)

Few weeks ago, I reviewed Andrew Lownie’s enthralling and fascinating book Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor. The author – a disillusioned monarchist who believes in institution but feels let down by some members of it – generously accepted to answer a few questions for this blog. Below is the content of our discussion.

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Mr. Lownie, while researching Traitor King, did you make any findings that surprised you?

Lots not least the extent of the Windsors’ dealings with the Nazis which can be found in documents, the knowledge that the Royal Family and Government had of their activities and the rather bizarre relationship the couple had and their bisexuality. Also, the degree of the attempted British cover up of his treachery.

Understandably, Winston Churchill is a frequent guest in the book. I might be wrong, but I didn’t get the sense that he became a tooth-and-nail opponent of the Duke of Windsor during the war. How would you describe the evolution of the relationship between the two men?

Churchill had been one of the Duke’s strongest supporters during the Abdication, mainly because of his romantic notion of the monarchy, but the scales fell when he saw the Duke’s duplicity over the financial settlement in 1937 and the disloyalty shown during the war when Churchill had to threaten him with court martial. The relationship then became more pragmatic with Churchill trying to find him a job after the war and suppressing the embarrassing captured German documents, but he refused to join a cruise when he learnt the Windsors would be present.

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The Prince of Wales – Bouncer of the Monarchy

“‘I put my arm around my brother all our lives […], and I can’t do it any more. We’re separate entities’” Prince William once said about his relationship with his brother Prince Harry. With the release of the Netflix so-called documentary about the life of the Sussexes, media outlets report that the Prince of Wales will respond in a “swift and robust” manner to any unjust claim made by his brother and sister-in-law, whose second part will air tomorrow, December 15.

Anyone eager to know what kind of response Harry and Meghan might encounter from the principal members of the Royal family should immediately grab Robert Lacey’s enthralling and insightful book Battle of Brothers – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult (Harper). Full disclosure, I received a review copy of this book more than a year ago. The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II prompted me to dive into it. I think the timing couldn’t be better, even though I know an updated version is available with new material.

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The Crown and the Gurkhas

Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell (right) as a Lieutenant Colonel commanding First Battalion 2nd KEO Gurkha Rifles with his Colonel-in Chief, the then Prince of Wales, visiting a training exercise in 1982. (source: Lieutenant General Sir Peter Duffell)

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In the aftermath of the passing of our beloved Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I reached out to one of my favorite military figures, Lieutenant-General Sir Peter Duffell, who is a retired high-ranking officer of the Gurkhas and the former Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong. Sir Peter – who is notably the author of the enthralling book Gurkha Odyssey: Campaigning for the Crown (Pen & Sword) – generously accepted to share his insights with me, in an exclusive piece I am extremely happy to share with you below. These comments detail the relationship between the Gurkhas – who are among the very best soldiers in the world, but who also serve in one of my favorite units in the British Army, with the Scottish Regiments – and the Crown.

Many sincere thanks for sharing this with us on this mournful and historic occasion, Sir Peter!

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In the volume of commentary that has followed the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, almost every aspect of her reign and the life of King Charles III has been well documented including their very personal links with the Armed Forces of the Crown.

Everyone who has served in uniform will have sworn allegiance to Queen and Country and will have been reminded constantly through their titles, insignia, medals, standards and colours of proud and important links with the monarch.

Continue reading “The Crown and the Gurkhas”