|RUNS IN THE FAMILY|
King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate in 1936, and soon took the title of the Duke of Windsor. He has always been known for his pro-Nazi sympathies. However, the extent of his betrayal could never be fully verified due to the secrecy of the Royal Archives. 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.
Queen Mary had renewed contacts with her German relatives as early as 1918. This occasion and subsequent visits were not listed in the Court Circular, as they normally would have been. One guest was Charles Edward Duke of Coburg. In the 1920s he got involved with a German terrorist group that tried to overthrow the democratically elected German Republic. Members of the group were involved in several political murders in the 1920s. Though he did not pull the trigger himself, Coburg funded these murders. After the failed Hitler Putsch of 1923, Coburg hid several Hitler supporters on the run in his castles. Hitler would not forget this great favour and later rewarded Coburg by making him a general. But he also needed him for something more secretive. In 1933 the Führer was short of international contacts and did not trust his own foreign ministry. He therefore used members of the German aristocracy for secret missions. Coburg was particularly useful in London from 1935 to 1939 and was received in Britain due to his sister Alice Countess of Athlone’s tireless work. She was Queen Mary’s sister-in-law and fought for Coburg’s acceptance.
The Duke of Windsor was anti-Semitic. In June 1940 Don Javier Bermejillo, a Spanish diplomat and old friend of Windsor – he had known him since the 1920s – reported that the Duke of Windsor blamed “the Jews, the Reds and the Foreign Office for the war”. Windsor added that he would like to put Anthony Eden and other British politicians “up against a wall”. Bermejillo stated that Windsor had already made similar remarks about the Reds and the Jews to him long before he became King in 1936. In another conversation on June 25 1940 Bermejillo reported that Windsor stressed 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.” This report went to Franco and was then passed on to the Germans. The bombing of Britain started on 10 July albeit probably coincidental.