It was 1940, Britain’s dark hour in World War II. While his countrymen stood alone against the Nazis, the Duke of Windsor - the former king who abdicated to marry a Baltimore divorcee - made some startling predictions to a young Spanish count.
The Duke of Windsor said Britain’s war-time government would collapse, a new Labor government would negotiate with Germany, his brother King George VI would abdicate and a virtual revolution would bring the duke himself back to the throne in an England at peace with the Nazis.
This declaration that Count Nava de Tujo reported and passed on to British officials is among the historical nuggets contained in thousands of British government documents released Tuesday.
The documents appear to confirm long-held historical suspicions that the duke - who met Adolf Hitler in 1937 - harbored pro-Nazi sympathies. While many of the documents were used by historian Philip Ziegler to compile a biography of the duke authorized by the royal family, they provide startling, sometimes unintentionally entertaining reading as in the case when one Foreign Office official wrote on a file: “The Duke has a genius for embarrassment.”