Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced their decision to step down as senior roles and their intention to work towards being financially independent. While this move is unprecedented, it has been shown before that living independently is not as simple as it sounds. The Duke of Windsor, as he was known after his abdication, was posted as the Governor of the Bahamas, along with his new wife Wallis Simpson.
However, according to a 2001 article in the Telegraph, he apparently still badgered the Prime Minister with “endless demands concerning everything from staffing to dental appointments”.
In this vein, some royal commentators have asked who will pay for Meghan and Harry’s security when they relocate to Canada.
It has been acknowledged that, at first, they will live off funds from the Duchy of Cornwall – owned by Prince Charles – but it is unclear what true financial independence will look like.
What’s more, it remains to be seen whether there will be the same tension between their new lives and the royal tradition they once occupied.
Meghan and Harry are stepping down as senior royals; Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis
Winston Churchill unleashed his anger in letters to the Duke
Looking back to Mr Churchill and the Duke of Windsor, there was evidently an ongoing tension between the two of them.
There were angry exchanges prompted by the Duke’s desire to advise the Prime Minister on how to conduct foreign policy.
Mr Churchill bluntly responded that he could not accept advice from someone who had “given up the greatest throne in world history”.
The letters, which were kept secret in 2001 at the request of the Royal Family, were revealed by academics to contain content sensitive to those who were still around at the time.
Meghan and Harry will split their time between Canada and the UK
One said: “They are being hidden at the moment because even after all this time this is still a sensitive subject.
“Members of the Royal Family were alive at the time and still have strong feelings about the events surrounding the abdication.
“The whole issue is like a festering wound.”
The Queen Mother, for example, was still alive back in 2001 and she was known to have strong opinions about the abdication crisis.
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George VI with Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) and princesses
She is said to be have been furious that the Duke had turned their lives upside down with his decision, throwing her and her husband Prince Albert, later King George VI, into the driving seat.
She was also said to have had great disdain for Mrs Simpson, calling her “that woman” and “the lowest of the low”.
Nevertheless, some working on the archives have revealed that Mr Churchill “took umbrage” with the Duke’s demands and that there was an element of frostiness and “hostility” between the two of them in private.
This came despite Mr Churchill’s public displays of support for the royal.
For example, he himself fought for a compromise that might have allowed Edward to keep the throne.
His lobbying surprised many colleagues and even threatened his own career.
Even when the King announced he would abdicate, Mr Churchill said in the Commons that “no Sovereign has ever conformed more strictly to the letter and spirit of the Constitution than his present Majesty”.
Edward and Wallis were exiled to the Bahamas
Mr Churchill also allegedly helped cover up the Duke and Duchess’ pro-Nazi views.
Cabinet papers released in 2017 revealed that he asked the US and France for help in withholding the publication of telegrams that revealed a Nazi plot to restore the Duke as a puppet monarch.
Despite all Mr Churchill’s hard work on behalf of the Duke, he still held a resentment that he had turned his back on the Royal Family and his country by abandoning them as he did.