King Edward VIII’s love for divorcee Wallis Simpson led Britain into a full-blown crisis – just as Nazi Germany was gaining strength. The British government did everything it could to save the monarchy and get this woman out of the way. But bribes were not up for discussion. This is reported by the Telegraph after previously unknown documents from a senior Whitehall official, Sir Horace Wilson, were evaluated.

Accordingly, Walli’s lawyer is said to have suggested a generous severance payment in cash. “For a fleeting moment it looked as if ‘The Woman I Love’ would leave the unfortunate king to his fate and disappear over the horizon in return for a large sum of money.” Fortunately, the paper adds, because if it had happened, Charles III wouldn’t be on the throne right now.

To the outside world, the government managed to sell the already unworthy act of abdication as a professionally carried out maneuver. According to the paper, “the whole thing was a pile of rubble,” a single “picture of panic and desperation.”

The turmoil lasted 25 days. That’s how much time passed between the moment Edward told his prime minister he was going to marry Simpson to his abdication and eternal descent into oblivion. Edward VIII was a man full of illusions and arrogance. Unsuitable to fill the throne. As early as 1927, his own private secretary, Alan Lascalles, had recognized Baldwin: “I cannot help thinking that the best thing that can happen to him and the country is that he breaks his neck.” But Edward didn’t fall off his horse. His mixture of political stupidity and naivety would later bring him to Hitler’s side and earn him the eternal contempt of his family as a traitor.

He downplayed the insurmountable difficulties of marrying a divorcee as head of the Church of England. He promised Wallis Simpson that she would be Queen, Empress of India, with all the trimmings. That was pretty naive. But the foolish monarch’s opponents, although numerous, were surprisingly disorganized. George V also feared that his son and heir would not be able to survive as sovereign. But no precautions were taken.

Behind the scenes there was a lot of punching and shoving. The government was only narrowly able to thwart the king’s plan to address his people via the BBC and declare his love for Wallis Simpson to his subjects. Then there was the danger that Edward would simply flee the country on a plane without first abdicating. The result would be an insoluble constitutional crisis. This plan was thwarted by a pilot loyal to the government. On the other side, it was considered to confine the king to a battleship and send him on an involuntary trip around the world in the presence of reliable officers so that his temper could cool down.

And rumors began to emerge about the king’s poor mental state and sexual obsession. That then became the common narrative. Behind a forced abdication there should not be great love, but a perverse sexual obsession.

But then Wallis Simpson’s lawyer went to see Sir Horace Wilson. It took the conservative Wilson some time to understand his point. “After a few more conversations, I discovered that Mr. Goddard was actually referring to the price that would have to be paid to Mrs. Simpson for her withdrawal.”

Solve the constitutional crisis with a bribe? That would mean casting out Beelzebub with the devil. Wilson couldn’t go that route, and the lawyer also gave up on the idea when he realized the resistance the idea was encountering. On December 10th, Edward signed the abdication and went into exile with his true love. The loyal Sir Wilson kept the lawyer’s suggestion to himself; only now does it become apparent that this love was for sale.

What: Telegraph