Jane Ridley

Treachery at the Palace

Princes at War: The British Royal Family’s Private Battle in the Second World War


Bloomsbury 407pp £21.99 order from our bookshop

Deborah Cadbury’s story begins with a Shakespearean scene enacted at Fort Belvedere, the Windsor home of King Edward VIII. The outgoing king and his three brothers assembled there on 10 December 1936 to sign the Instrument of Abdication. The charismatic Edward VIII, who now became Duke of Windsor, was outwardly calm and had apparently been supremely qualified for kingship, but he was fatally flawed. His successor was his younger brother Prince Albert, Duke of York, who chose to style himself King George VI. He declared that he was inconsolable and he seemed woefully unfit to reign, disabled by an appalling stammer. For this he received treatment from the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue – indeed, as the cover tells us, this book is the story of what happened after the events portrayed in The King’s Speech.

When the Duke of York took the crown he told his two younger brothers, ‘You two have got to pull yourselves together.’ The loyalty of the older brother, Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was not in doubt. He was an army man, unprepossessing and

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