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Iran Press TV

King Edward VIII calls tapped by MI5 in abdication crisis

Iran Press TV

Thu May 23, 2013 3:48PM GMT

Secret documents have revealed Britain's intelligence service MI5 has tapped King Edward VIII's phone calls at the height of 1936 abdication crisis, indicating an extraordinary breakdown of trust between the monarch and his ministers.

According to the National Archives documents, MI5 was asked by Home Secretary Sir John Simon to intercept king's phone calls to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson in order to prevent news of his looming abdication from leaking out.

The top secret decision also included a request from the Home Office to the head of the General Post Office, Sir Thomas Gardiner, according to which calls made from Edward to Europe, a likely reference to the south of France where Simpson was staying, were monitored.

The document, held in the Cabinet Office for more than seven decades, dated 5 December and was marked 'most secret'.

'The home secretary asks me to confirm the information conveyed to you orally…that you will arrange for the interception of telephone communications between Fort Belvedere and Buckingham Palace on the one hand and the continent of Europe on the other," it states.

A month before the request was made, Edward, who was yet to be crowned, informed the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin of his decision to marry Simpson.

In November 1936, however, the Church of England said it would not accept Simpson as British Queen, as her former spouse was still living.

In December that year, Edward finally submitted his abdication to the parliament, bringing an end to his less than 12 months reign.

Edward was given the title Duke of Windsor after abdication and his younger brother George -father of Queen Elizabeth II- succeeded to the throne after him.

Edward is the only British monarch ever to resign voluntarily.


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