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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Portsmouth paper archives describe secret departure of Edward VIII

Touching details of the flight of an exiled king revealed

By Dominic Blake, for the BBC

It happened 75 years ago, when Edward VIII abdicated the British throne, leaving the making of history to his brother, the shy, inarticulate Duke of York.

The archives of Portsmouth's Evening News newspaper reveal the details of how the former king slipped silently away from Britain.

One eye-witness, George Hale, 36, told the paper how he was asked for directions to the navy base by one of the drivers.

The paper describes him as "the last civilian in England to be spoken to by the ex-king Edward VIII" as a voice in the back of the car thanked him.

The cars swept up to Unicorn Gate, the entrance to the navy base, with blinds drawn and headlights blazing shortly after midnight.

The paper records: "The ex-King was sad and pensive. Indeed he looked deeply moved. He scarcely spoke a word as he went up the gangway of the destroyer."

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