Britain Bugged Its Own King in 1936
As Edward VIII abdication crisis erupted
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2013 11:57 AM CDT
This is a May 7, 1937 file photo of Edward, The Duke of Windsor and Mrs. Wallis Simpson at the Chateau de Cande, near Touraine, France before they are married.   (AP Photo/Len Putnam, File)

(Newser) – Today's best bit of historical trivia comes compliments of the BBC, which reports on newly released secret documents that show Britain bugged the phone of its own king in 1936. That king was Edward VIII, most famously known for abdicating so that he could marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. But before he did so, an "abdication crisis" broke out, leading Britain's Home Office (which oversees police, MI5, etc) to order that all calls between his residence at Fort Belvedere or Buckingham Palace and "the continent of Europe" be intercepted; at the time, Simpson was bunking with friends in France.

It appears the bugging of calls was short-lived: A "Most Secret" memo confirming the interception is dated Dec. 5, 1936, reports the AFP; Edward, who had not yet been formally crowned, stepped down on Dec. 10, ending a 326-day reign. The files, released by the National Archives, do not log any details of calls that may have been intercepted.

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May 23, 2013 4:35 PM CDT
I read what seemed like a well researched book on Edward VIII. He was not that "bright of a bulb." He perceived that World War II was getting close and that Nazi Germany just might win in Europe. His idea was he would be the mediator between the Nazis and Britain and hold off war between them. The Nazi's knew what he was attempting and they used him for their propaganda purposes, the British realized that Edward the VIII was a liability and they were doing what they could to marginalize him. I do not think Edward sympathized with the Nazis, the situation was at that time that Germany was a threat to Britain and Edward felt he could effectively prevent military conflict.
May 23, 2013 2:30 PM CDT
They should have he was a Nazi sympathizer and anti semite. He would blown Hilter if would let him. Should have tried for treason and sent to the block for a the big haircut like they used to do to traitors.
May 23, 2013 12:43 PM CDT
this is really bad reporting as it left out the most important part of the story, that being that both the Edward and his consort were huge fans of Hitler and had been guests of the Nazi several times. When they took up permanent residence in the Waldorf in Manhattan just prior to the war, the FBI kept them under constant surveillance until their deaths in the 1970s