Windsors Schemed to Deny Elizabeth Throne

Duke plotted to step in as his brother's health failed
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2009 3:55 PM CST
Queen Elizabeth II (left) with Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret Rose, and the Queen Mother (right) in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace after her coronation, June 3, 1953.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Within a decade of abdicating the throne, the former Edward VIII was plotting a return to power that involved an end run around his niece Elizabeth—better known today as Queen Elizabeth II. A letter the Duke of Windsor wrote in 1946, when his brother and successor King George VI was having serious health problems, mentions "a situation of great delicacy"—a conversation he evidently had with a confidant about the scheme, the Telegraph reports.

The duchess was in on the act within months, writing to the confidant, Kenneth de Courcy: "We are always busy turning things around and around in our heads." The scheme remained a possibility at least through 1949, when de Courcy—writing carefully, lest he be accused of treason—laid out a scenario that would put the duke in an advantageous position, adding, "if this advice were followed, the results would be remarkable." George died in 1952, and Elizabeth succeeded him.