Adrian Phillips is an experienced public speaker, who has lectured to audiences in the UK, USA, France and Germany. He knows that the printed word can only tell a small part of the story and he relishes the opportunity to share his passion for the history of the abdication and its era with live audiences through talks and open discussions. He can tailor his talks to suit the interests of any audience.
Most recently Adrian has presented the intelligence dimension of the abdication crisis to the volunteers at the Bletchley Park heritage attraction and given his first ever talk in Luxembourg date at the Cafe Litteraire Le Bovary. Upcoming events include a talk to the City of Westminster Guide Lecturers association in February.
The story told in The King Who Had To Go is only the beginning and many of its aspects deserve to be looked at separately either as part of the episode or as a stand-alone topic. The following suggestions are only a few amongst many possible ways to place the abdication in a broader historical context.
The abdication was only one of many fascinating episodes in the dramatic year of 1936. Britain was shaken by political scandal and economic unrest. Europe was already on the slope downwards to the Second World War with the Nazi reoccupation of the Rhine land and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War gave an evil foretaste of the struggle between democracy, Fascism and Communism.
Edward VIII’s brief reign marks a watershed in British monarchy between the powerful constitutional rule of his predecessors and the overwhelmingly symbolic role of his successors. The crisis cruelly exposed the true balance of power between Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street.
Edward has been stigmatized as the Fascist King and his relationship with Nazi Germany was fraught with ambiguities and indiscretions. The crisis was played out against a background of international tension and government fears of a constitutional coup that was so strong that it spied on the King.
The King had very few serious supporters, but foremost amongst them Winston Churchill, whom he manipulated ruthlessly. Churchill paid a high price for his loyalty to the man who had been a friend since he had organized his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1911. The abdication crisis was one of the most shattering episodes in a phase of Churchill’s career, quite different to today’s image of him as a national hero. His mistakes in the crisis deepened the fear and mistrust he inspired in the political Establishment.
At the time many people referred to the affair as the Constitutional Crisis. The politicians faced the difficult task of handling their monarch on the topic of his marriage in a constitutional framework that had evolved to deal with something entirely different, the ordinary business of government. They had to juggle practical politics, violent human emotion and untested constitutional law in a complex and tense environment.
Adrian is happy to speak on any other specific themes and topics that might interest the audience you have in mind. For all enquiries please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian Phillips speaks French and German fluently and is happy to lecture in these languages.
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