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‘My own family relations in Germany have been used to spy and get particulars from other members of my family,’ he later observed. Wallis Simpson came under special scrutiny from both sides.Even Hitler was intrigued by her relationship with the pompous but charming Von Ribbentrop, who had singled her out for special attention when he was Nazi ambassador in London in the 1930s.For all his scrutiny of the youthful and glamorous new King, Hitler badly misjudged his quarry.
The Nazis even had a code name for the plot – Operation Willi – which was the extraordinary climax to a bizarre entanglement between the Duke, the Duchess and Hitler which began shortly after he was elected German Chancellor in 1933.
The transcripts reveal that Edward, who felt he had been ostracised and humiliated in the wake of his abdication in 1936, was outspoken in his criticism of Churchill and the war and was convinced that, if he had stayed on the throne, conflict could have been avoided.
Only the continued heavy bombing of British cities, he believed, would bring the United Kingdom to the negotiating table.
His calculation that Edward would give him tacit support proved correct.
That April the King sent Hitler a telegram wishing him ‘happiness and welfare’ for his 47th birthday.