Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This place ought never to have been dug up.
The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.
Only two rules really count. Never miss an opportunity to relieve yourself; never miss a chance to sit down and rest your feet.

Edward VIII, King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David -- Dates: June 23, 1894 to May 28, 1972). Edward was King from the death of his father, George V (191036), on January 20, 1936 until his abdication on December 11, 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. After he abdicated, the former King became known as The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor.


  • These works brought all these people here. Something should be done to get them at work again.
    • Spoken at an abandoned colliery, November 19, 1936. Often wrongly quoted as "something must be done".[1]
  • At long last I am able to say a few words of my own... You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.
  • "[The Indian princes’] ceremonies are so irritating and ridiculous"
    • Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 116
  • "This place ought never to have been dug up."
    • On seeing the great archaeological finds at Taxila, in Punjab (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 140)
  • "It must be remembered that Dupach is more than half Negro, and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race, they seem unable to rise to prominence without losing their equilibrium."
    • Of Étienne Dupach, the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 448)
  • "I hear you are going to In-jea. A most interesting country. I had a very good time there in my early youth. You must do the pig-sticking in Rajasthan. And you will find the people most agreeable in their own way. They have been most uncommonly decent to my niece." (Galbraith, Ambassador’s Journal, 36)
  • "British Empire. First trip to India. Glorious. Never would have believed it would all be gone in my lifetime. Not possible, I’d’ve thought. I am the last king-emperor, you know. My brother was, for a time, but had to give it up. I didn’t"
    • To Gore Vidal, who described the Duke as having "always had something of...riveting stupidity to say on any subject" (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)
  • "Mona said, 'Did you see Gore's new play The Best Man when you were in New York?' 'Of course not.'...'Don't like plays, only shows.' He meant musical comedies."
    • In conversation with Mona Bismarck and Gore Vidal (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)
  • Discussing coronation ceremonies with Vidal, "I quickly moved on to...the moment when two masons appear and ask the newly crowned king for instructions as to his tomb. 'Masons? Masons! Yes. You one? I'm one. But I've forgotten all the odds and ends. Dull, really." (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)
  • It certainly is a situation of great delicacy but, at the same time, one in which it would seem I hold fifty per cent of the bargaining power in order that the Duchess and I can plan for the future in the most constructive and convenient way.
    • Hoping George VI's illness would allow him to resume the throne. Quoted by Christopher Wilson, The Telegraph (22 November 2009) [1]
  • Perhaps one of the only positive pieces of advice that I was ever given was that supplied by an old courtier who observed: "Only two rules really count. Never miss an opportunity to relieve yourself; never miss a chance to sit down and rest your feet."

Around the World with the Prince of Wales


all quotations from Godfrey, Letters

  • [Italy:] [T]hey are indeed a repulsive nation these dagoes, both the men and the women & I'm just longing to quit them for good & all !!! (18 September 1918)
  • [Cologne, Germany:] Claud & I had a stroll in the centre of town afterwards & had great fun making the Hun men civilians get off the pavement for us .... It does one worlds of good to know how humiliating it must be for the Huns. (9 January 1919)
  • [Quebec City, Canada:] A rotten priest-ridden community who are the completest passengers & who won't do their bit in anything & of course not during the war !! (23 August 1919)
  • [In Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan] (referring to (First Nations of Canada, then known as Canadian Indians):] I've told you what a foul decadent lazy crowd they are & what I think of them !! But this camp is pitched right inside an Indian reserve … & we have hundreds of the mouldy local tribe camped around us. (6 October 1919)
  • [Barbados:] A proper bum island this Barbados....It's a unique sort of scenery, very ugly, & I didn't take much to the coloured population, who are revolting. (26-27 March 1920)
  • [Panama:] [A] deadly spot the end of the world almost....There are 20,000 British coloured people working on the canal...; they are mostly from Jamaica & smell too revolting for words....the Panamanians are a very queer people, all dagoes of course, though very pompous and dirty. (31 March - 1 April 1920)
  • [Honolulu, Hawaii:] (At a luau) [A] unique native stunt though the Hawaiian food we were made to eat was too revolting for words....One got rather tired of the native songs & longed for some of our tunes. (14 April 1920)
  • [Outside Adelaide, Australia:] [T]hey showed us some of the native aborigines at a wayside station in the great plain yesterday afternoon though they are the most revolting form of living creatures I've ever seen !! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys I've ever seen. (11 July 1920)
  • [Acapulco, Mexico:] [Q]ueer, dirty little dago town....The people are too revolting for words, super dagoes & some of them are quite black as a result of Spaniards inter-breeding with the Indians; & of course they only speak Spanish. (9 September 1920)

Quotes about Edward VIII

  • This trend was encouraged by the well-known sympathies of the Prince of Wales, or King Edward VIII as he became on 20 January 1936. Lacking both intelligence and a sense of constitutional propriety, the Prince made his views clear when he told Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, in July 1933, that it "was no business of ours to interfere in Germany’s internal affairs either re Jews or re anything else" and that "dictators were very popular these days and that we might want one in England before long". Four months later, he told the former Austrian Ambassador Count Mensdorff that national socialism was "the only thing to do", while, in June 1935, the diarist and Tory MP Chips Channon noted "much gossip about the Prince of Wales' alleged Nazi leanings". The reason tongues had been set wagging was the speech the Prince had given to members of the British Legion on 11 June 1935, in which he praised the forthcoming visit to Germany of a delegation of ex-servicemen. This took place the following month and was, as Anthony Eden had warned, a propaganda gift for the regime.
  • The importance of the Abdication to our story is twofold. First, it removed a monarch who exhibited a worrying admiration for dictatorships in general and Nazi Germany in particular. Describing the crisis on 22 November, Chips Channon noted that the King, who "is insane about Wallis, insane", was also "going the dictator way", being "pro-German, against Russia and against too much slip-shod democracy". "I shouldn't be surprised", continued the Conservative MP, "if he aimed at making himself a mild dictator." This was unlikely. Yet it is possible to imagine a situation in which the King's sympathies, combined with his lack of respect for the constitution, could have triggered a worse crisis than that which occurred in December 1936. Then the monarchy was able to survive since it was essentially a personal affair and the King went quietly. A political rupture would have been a very different matter. Second, the Abdication was wilfully misinterpreted by Ribbentrop, who persuaded Hitler that it constituted a plot by the British Government to rid itself of a pro-German monarch. "Don’t you know what expectations the Führer has based on the King's support in the coming negotiations? He’s our greatest hope!" expostulated the Ambassador when the Embassy's Press Attaché, Fritz Hesse, tried to warn him about the crisis. "Don’t you think the whole affair is an intrigue of our enemies to rob us of one of the last big positions we hold in this country? … You'll see, the King will marry Wally and the two will tell Baldwin and his whole gang to go to the devil." When this turned out not to be the case, Hitler's confidence in the English and the possibility of an Anglo-German alliance was severely shaken. According to Hesse, he told Ribbentrop to pack his bags and return to Germany. There was, he said, "no other person in England who is ready to play with us" now "that the King has been dethroned".
    • Tim Bouverie, Appeasing Hitler (2019)
  • There is another grave matter which overshadows our minds tonight. In a few minutes we are going to sing "God Save the King". I shall sing it with more heartfelt fervour than I have ever sung it in my life. I hope and pray that no irrevocable decision will be taken in haste, but that time and public opinion will be allowed to play their part, and that a cherished and unique personality may not be incontinently severed from the people he loves so well. I hope that Parliament will be allowed to discharge its function in these high constitutional questions. I trust that our King may be guided by the opinions that are now for the first time being expressed by the British nation and the British Empire, and that the British people will not in turn be found wanting in generous consideration for the occupant of the Throne
  • It is not relevant to this account to describe the brief but intensely violent controversy that followed. I had known King Edward VIII since he was a child, and had in 1910 as Home Secretary read out to a wonderful assembly the Proclamation creating him Prince of Wales at Carnarvon Castle. I felt bound to place my personal loyalty to him upon the highest plane. Although during the summer I had been made fully aware of what was going forward, I in no way interfered or communicated with him at any time. However, presently in his distress he asked the Prime Minister for permission to consult me. Mr. Baldwin gave formal consent, and on this being conveyed to me I went to the King at Fort Belvedere. I remained in contact with him till his abdication, and did my utmost to plead both to the King and to the public for patience and delay. I have never reprented of this—indeed, I could do no other.
  • He was at his best only when the going was good.
  • In Britain the inter-war years were marked by a decline in the power of two traditionally important institutions: the monarchy and the military. In December 1936 Edward VIII abdicated, having been bullied into doing so by the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, who disapproved of the American divorcée he wished to marry and who asserted that the British public (and the governments of the Dominions) shared his sentiments.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 289
  1. Matthew, H. C. G., ‘Edward VIII [later Prince Edward, duke of Windsor] (1894–1972)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, January 2008 accessed 21 November 2008
  2. "Edward VIII, afterwards Duke of Windsor" The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Ed. Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed on 21 November 2008