The abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936 scarred the memory of a generation and lives on as one of the most traumatic episodes of modern British history. The King Who Had To Go brings an entirely fresh perspective to the crisis and dispels many of the myths and false beliefs that have developed over time. Adrian Phillips’s inspiration was to look at the abdication from the government’s side as politicians and bureaucrats struggled to cope with a Royal scandal that was heading towards a full-scale constitutional crisis.
What emerged was a real-life political thriller in which all the participants were playing for the highest stakes. Some of the characters in The King Who Had To Go are familiar and others are almost unknown, but all emerge vividly portrayed in a tense atmosphere which brought out the best and the worst in everyone involved. The book presents these people – above all Edward and Mrs. Simpson – not just in terms of how they appear in history, but also how they appeared to others at the time. Their behind-the-scenes manoeuvres create a gripping tale of human and political intrigue.
With the stability of Britain and its Empire exposed to individual choices and decisions, many of them taken under pressure and on the basis of faulty and inadequate information, the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin faced one of the greatest challenges ever faced by a senior British politician. He had to juggle between a King desperately in love and blind to other considerations, an ever-shifting group of individuals who supported the King and men in government, determined to take the most drastic measures available. The final outcome came from a blend of skilful reading of human personality and some of the most ruthless measures ever taken against a King by his own government.
The King Who Had To Go brings together a rich palette of themes: just how little power a British monarch has when faced with a hostile government; a series of catastrophic misjudgements by Winston Churchill, then at his lowest political ebb; a unique story of how secret intelligence acquired by MI5 shaped a crisis; the involvement of Nazi Germany; the historical reality behind the “China Dossier” on Mrs. Simpson’s scandalous past.
Almost all of the book comes from research of original documents, some of which have never been used before and most have never been fully explored. The story was pieced together from widely spread sources; it is not one that any of the participants wanted to be known in full.
The print run of the hard-back edition is almost exhausted but the paperback eidition will be published by Biteback on February 15 2018 at £9.99. In the meantime it is available to download as an e-book.
THE KING WHO HAD TO GO