• in family stress - Edward VIII and his mother

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sat Nov 21 07:41:02 2020
    Brent Cooper
    April 15
    Trial and appellate counsel (1977–present)
    The Crown depicts Queen Mary really hated Edward VIII for stressing his brother, George VI, to die of cancer. Does it really hold water in real

    There is some truth to the story line.

    “ The relationship between Edward VIII and his mother, Mary of Teck, is perfectly illustrative of not only the significance of a generational
    gap, but of how differing views on duty and happiness can be enough to
    drive a wedge between parent and child. In the case of Edward VIII, or “David” as he was known to his family, and Mary, their relationship was complicated by how each viewed the function of the monarchy itself.
    Theirs is hardly the first unhappy parent-child relationship in the
    Royal Family’s history, but it is one that feels more poignant thanks to
    how recently it unfolded, how much more we know about it and the fact
    that it was not devoid of natural affection.”

    “Even so, perhaps there is something to be found from its start, which
    saw Mary as a new wife and mother at David’s birth in June 1894. Twenty-seven, not fully embraced by her husband’s family and shy, the
    Duchess of York was uncomfortable with children, including her own. Once described as viewing her offspring as though they belonged to someone
    else, she was a remote and distant figure to her children and quite
    literally had no idea what to do with them. She saw her eldest son twice
    a day during his infancy, audiences that were marred by him crying as
    soon as he was handed to her. It didn’t improve as he grew older thanks
    to an abusive nanny that would pinch him before he went to see his
    parents, a dynamic it took Mary nearly three years to catch on to.”

    “Within this is the question of what impact the abuse had on David, and whether it really ended with pinches and slaps. David’s disinterest
    later on in marrying a “suitable” woman, his penchant for affairs with married women, his near-obsession with Wallis, not to mention his submissiveness to her, have all led to speculation that he may have been sexually abused in these years and, if not that, then they curdled his
    ability to establish a healthy relationship with a woman. Perhaps,
    though I think it’s worth considering that a home life in which it would
    take a mother multiple years to see that her toddler was being abused
    may speak to any number of opportunities for David to find relationships challenging.”

    “When Queen Victoria died in January 1901 and was succeeded by her son, Edward VII, George and Mary set off on a world tour aboard the RMS
    Ophir. When they returned that November, after nearly a year, they were
    greeted by their four children – seven-year-old David, six-year-old
    Bertie, four-year-old Mary and Henry, who was less than a year and had
    no recollection of his parents. Henry cried when his mother went to pick
    him up and Princess Mary clung to the skirts of her grandmother, Queen Alexandra. Mary’s response to this was irrational, if sympathetic –
    instead of empathizing with her children, she was hurt by what she saw
    as their rejection. But it was David who helped the scene by stepping
    forward to greet their parents and ushering Bertie to do the same.”

    As for Bertie, terrified in their parents’ presence, he developed a
    stutter shortly after the reunion that would plague him well into

    “Fun fact, but according to David the reunion on the Ophir was the only
    time that his father ever embraced him. Meanwhile, both David and Henry
    later stated that they had no memory of ever being alone with their
    mother, in either childhood or adolescence.”

    “In many ways – and perhaps in any other circumstances – Mary and David could have forged a close relationship. Like Mary, David was interested
    in the arts and humanities. He often preferred the company of women and
    he found the transition from the feminine influence of the nursery into
    the harsher masculine environment under his tutor and then the Navy

    “Communication between parents and children was always regimented. When George and Mary were traveling in India from November 1905 to March
    1906, the four elder children were expected to write to their parents individually on alternate weeks. When this obviously failed to work,
    George wrote an annoyed letter to Bertie from Delhi:

    “David ought to have written last week and you ought to have written to
    me this week. I don’t know how the confusion has come.”

    “A few years later, shortly after Edward VII died and George and Mary
    became the new king and queen, Mary wrote David:

    “I believe the right way for you to address me is the Queen and to
    Grannie Queen Alexandra, as she is now the Queen Mother and I am the
    wife of the King.”

    “By now David had left home. In 1907, at the age of 13, he started Royal Naval College at Osborne, and then at Dartmouth in 1909 for another two
    years. He began in the Royal Navy, per his father’s wishes, in 1911. The distance and David’s age brought about a slightly different dynamic with
    his mother. It would be incorrect to say they became closer, but
    certainly Mary’s tone towards him changed – now an adolescent, he was
    less of a foreign entity to her and her attitude became easier. She
    wrote to him in February 1911 as queen:

    “Well, at last me voila, writing to you from my new rooms which we took possession of last Wednesday.”

    “The tone, which can only be described as breezy, was kept firmly in
    place as the years wore on, even as it didn’t match the reality of
    either’s life. By the end of World War I – and even before that – rumors of David’s behavior were so entrenched that they reached even the Queen. Popular, good looking and perfectly amiable, David thought nothing of performing his public duties and then carrying on a personal life that
    was altogether less respectable. He preferred married women and, perhaps
    worse, he loved Americans. In 1918 he took up with Freda Dudley Ward who checked both boxes. In keeping with her unnaturally detached attitude to
    her children, Mary was displeased by the reports, but more so because
    she considered the relationship beneath her son’s position and she
    didn’t want it to upset George.”

    “Indeed, so disassociated from David was Mary that she never once spoke
    to him of his personal relationships until forced decades later. Nor did
    she ever attempt to play matchmaker as Queen Victoria and Queen
    Alexandra had with their own children before her. David showed little
    interest in marriage or finding an appropriate woman, and his parents
    did nothing to facilitate it. The only allusion to it came from George,
    not Mary, who wrote to him in 1919:

    “The war has made it possible for you to mix with all manner of people … But don’t think this means you can now act like other people. You must
    always remember your position and who you are.”

    “But of the dynamic his position put him in, David later wrote:

    “The idea that my birth and title should somehow or other set me apart
    from or above other people struck me as wrong. If the leveling process
    of the Royal Naval College, Oxford University, or the democracy of the battlefield had taught me anything, it was, firstly, that my desires and interests were much the same as those of other people, and secondly,
    that however hard I tried, my capacity was somehow not appreciably above
    the standards demanded by the fiercely competitive world outside the
    palace walls.”

    “In this, David and his parents were diametrically opposed, though
    George and Mary can perhaps be forgiven on this point. In comparison to George’s parents and other couples in their position, they were both
    fairly egalitarian and frugal. They lived relatively plainly and if it’s
    too much of a stretch to say they put family first given their
    relationship with their children, they certainly put their marriage
    before much else. Still, they took for granted an understanding of the
    line between public and private when it came to preserving the dignity
    of the monarchy. They understood, too, that Britain’s was a
    constitutional monarchy and maintaining not just popularity, which was fleeting, but the good opinion of the public, which was sustaining, was
    crucial to success.”

    “David didn’t understand this. He was without airs in some regards, personable and approachable, but he fundamentally misjudged the function
    of the monarchy and his role within it. Some of this may well have come
    from his abiding fear of being king, but it’s worth mentioning that
    alongside his articulated belief that he was in no way special was a
    streak of stubborn arrogance that he could do whatever he wanted – or,
    put another way, that he was untouchable and beholden to nothing.”

    “The question is worth considering then, to what extent did David always
    see Bertie as his heir, if not their father’s?”

    “By the early 1930s, not only did David show no interest in settling
    down even as he approached 40, but his parents began to view Bertie and
    his family as a safeguard against disaster. Bertie had married in 1923
    to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, a love match that had grounded the young
    duke and brought him personal happiness. In 1926 they welcomed a
    daughter, Elizabeth, and in 1930, they welcomed another, Margaret.”

    “As for David, he continued to love the married Freda, who was faithful
    to neither her husband nor her royal lover. Indeed, a consistent streak
    in all of the women that David seriously pursued was that they were
    older, married and less interested in him than he was in them. At times,
    they were downright unkind. In other words, they were Mary of Teck. The
    only act of rebellion was that they were usually American, which David
    very well knew was anathema to his parents and their court, so call it rebellion if you wish.“

    “Against this backdrop, David’s relationship with his mother continued
    to evolve, but not in a way that made the Prince comfortable. As George
    aged and his health problems grew, David became a figure of more
    importance to Mary. After all, once George died, they all became
    dependent on him to a certain extent. This wasn’t as reptilian as it
    appears at first glance, so much as Mary’s unwavering respect for the monarchy and the hierarchy it dictated. In some ways – in most ways,
    perhaps – this attitude had nothing to do with David as her son, so much
    as David as her king. But for the man in question, it was horrifying.”

    “It was a complication to their relationship that Mary’s other children couldn’t see because they didn’t experience it. At the end of 1928 when George had the most serious health scare of his life and the family
    prepared for his death, all commented on Mary’s composure. Towards
    David, however, she was almost eerily removed. He, unlike his brothers
    and sister, understood that in those moments he was to her the future
    monarch and nothing more – and more importantly, that was how Mary
    coped. But George survived and the immediate crisis passed.”

    “David turned 40 in 1934, and though his parents had seemingly given up
    on his marriage, he hadn’t. He didn’t actively look for a wife, but the split came from the fact that what he wanted was a marriage based on
    love, not duty. And the woman he loved was Freda, who never showed him
    the unwavering devotion that he showed her or, more importantly, that
    which he saw his mother give his father. He began an affair with Lady
    Thelma Furness in 1930 in the hopes of making Freda jealous and was put
    out when it failed to have its desired effect. Still, Thelma was an
    important figure in the Prince’s life for it was through her that he
    made the acquaintance of Wallis Warfield Simpson in 1931.”

    “When Wallis began a romantic relationship with David in 1934, the
    matter was certainly discussed within the Palace. But the sentiment at
    first was that this, like his affair with Thelma, was fleeting. They
    reasoned that he would eventually tire of her and return to Freda like
    he had countless times before. And Freda, for all that she was
    inappropriate, showed no ambition to marry David and understood that her
    role was that of a comforting mistress. In that at least, the Royal
    Family and its staff could relax.“

    “But Wallis was a different animal and once she had hold of David’s affection she was uninterested in sharing with other women. With little warning, much less direct communication, when Freda dialed up the Prince
    one day in June 1934 the operator told not without sympathy that she had
    been given orders not to put her call through. After 16 years, that was that.”

    “The question the rest of us are left with is, had Mary intervened
    before the relationship with Wallis had reached that point, could she
    have circumvented it? Certainly most of David’s actions scream of a man
    in need of a mother – or at the very least a man who craved direction
    from a woman. Mary never stepped up to the plate; Wallis did.”

    “And then, not much later, the worst happened: George died on January
    20, 1936 at Sandringham House. David spent the last hours of his
    father’s life running about the house frantically, ordering that all of
    the clocks be set to the correct time. As Mary’s biographer Anne Edwards aptly put it:

    “An explanation for the Prince of Wales’s behavior can be found in his lifelong fear of becoming King. The clocks at Sandringham, set a
    half-hour forward, were accelerating the eventuality. He was emotionally
    spent and so nervous that he burned his finger on a cigarette he was
    smoking … His uncontrollable impulse, therefore, was to keep the clocks
    from ticking away too fast, to forestall the time of his father’s death.”

    “The moment of reckoning between mother and son came but a few minutes
    after George’s passing. As soon as the doctor nodded that her husband
    was dead, Mary, instead of acknowledging any grief or feeling towards
    his loss, turned immediately towards David and said, “God save the
    King.” She then stepped backwards and curtsied. David wrote later:

    “I could not bring myself to believe that the members of my own family
    or indeed anyone else, should be expected to humble themselves before me
    in this way.”

    “Thus began David’s nearly 11 months on the throne.“

    “As 1936 wore on, Mary was kept abreast of David’s relationship with Wallis, which most had assumed would end once he ascended the throne. It
    did not, of course, though its details were mainly kept from the British
    public despite their publication in North American newspapers. In July
    and August, she saw photographs of the couple aboard a cruise in the Mediterranean, which included public engagements in Greece, Bulgaria,
    Turkey and Yugoslavia.“

    “When he returned to London in September he met Mary for dinner at
    Buckingham Palace, but was once more met with only superficial questions
    about the weather and the sights. Throughout, the most pressing matter
    she wanted to discuss was confirmation he intended to spend two weeks at Balmoral later that month.”

    “Two weeks later, they reunited once more for Mary to oversee David’s official move into BP. Afterwards, David drove with his mother back to Marlborough House for tea. When the conversation neared the topic of how divorced persons were received at court, they were interrupted by
    David’s sister, Mary, and another guest, and talk swiftly turned
    elsewhere. What the King didn’t know was that in the background Mary’s friends and advisers were begging her to intervene before the scandal
    hit the British press.

    “On October 27, Wallis began divorce proceedings and on November 16,
    David told Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intended to marry
    Wallis and, if he wasn’t allowed, then he would abdicate. That evening
    he joined his mother, sister and sister-in-law, Alice, the Duchess of Gloucester, for a casual (white tie) family dinner at Marlborough House.
    David was displeased to see his sister-in-law, but was told that she
    would leave after the meal. By all accounts, she was invited to ensure
    that conversation didn’t grow disagreeable at the table. As David wrote:

    “I was preoccupied with what I was going to say afterward. No matter how gracefully I proceeded, the evening was bound to be difficult for all of
    us. I tried to ease the tension by keeping the conversation on a light
    plane. I congratulated my mother upon the record contribution of
    garments to her favorite charity, the London Needlework Guild. She was
    glad to hear that I had arranged to have the outside of Buckingham
    Palace painted before the coronation next year.

    “‘It’s high time,’ she said. I asked Mary whether she and her husband had brought any yearlings at the Newmarket sales. But I felt especially
    sorry for poor Alice. Shy and retiring by nature, she had all unwitting
    sat down at my mother’s table only to find herself caught up in the
    opening scene of one of the most poignant episodes in the annals of the
    British Royal Family.

    “Never loquacious, this evening she uttered not a word. And, when at
    last we got up to leave the table, she eagerly seized upon the
    interruption to protest that she was extremely tired and to ask that she
    be excused. After making her curtsy she almost fled from the room. My
    mother, Mary and I retired to the boudoir. We were alone.

    “Settling down in a chair, I told them of my love for Wallis and my determination to marry her and of the opposition of the Prime Minister
    and the Government to the marriage. The telling was all the harder
    because until that evening the subject had not been discussed between us.”

    “In fact, a few days before Mary met with members of the Cabinet asking
    them to block Wallis’s divorce and void the entire situation. Anything, apparently, rather than address it directly with her son. In the
    conversation itself, the she said little. David wrote:

    My mother had been schooled to put duty in the stoic Victorian sense
    before everything in life. From her invincible virtue and correctness
    she looked out as from a fortress upon the rest of humanity with all its tremulous uncertainties and distractions.”

    “When David was done speaking, he asked that he be allowed to bring
    Wallis to meet her. His mother responded, “That is quite out of the question.”

    “With that, the audience was over. David rose to leave and Mary
    dutifully walked him to the door. Her parting words to him were, “I
    hope, sir, that you will make a wise decision for your future. I fear
    your visit to South Wales [an upcoming tour] will be trying in more ways
    than one.”

    “When the Prime Minister met with Mary later on, her response was to
    throw her hands up and declare, “Well, Mr. Baldwin! This is a pretty
    kettle of fish!” She did, however, agree to try and intervene directly.

    “On November 24, David was summoned for tea. Mary begged him to consider
    his brother, Bertie, who had not been trained to be king and whose
    health wasn’t robust. She claimed the burden would kill him. The
    argument that George had once been the second son and proved himself up
    to the challenge was disregarded. But Mary’s angle of entry was poorly thought out and spoke to her lack of understanding for her son. That she
    wished him to ease Bertie’s life only made David all the more bitter
    that she thought nothing of leaving the weight of the crown on him. That
    she thought nothing of preserving Bertie’s happiness at the expense of
    his own.“

    “When the story eventually hit the British press in December, David once again went to Marlborough House at Mary’s direction, there meeting
    Bertie and his wife, Elizabeth. The conversation came to nothing, both
    parties at an impasse.”

    “The Abdication Crisis, which reached its crescendo in the days ahead, seemingly brought Mary and her second son closer. His anxiety and grief
    over taking on the role of sovereign and losing his brother forced him
    to turn to Mary, which in turn forced her to offer what emotional solace
    she was capable. At one point, he completely broke down in front of her
    once he realized they had reached the point of no return. On December
    10, David finally signed the Instrument of Abdication and then prepared
    to address the British people one last time. Mary, on hearing news of
    the radio speech, dashed off a letter discouraging him (he did it
    anyway) – in its contents she addressed him as HRH Prince Edward of
    Windsor. He was no longer her king and as he was well-aware, being her
    son didn’t get him very far.

    “That evening the family at the Royal Lodge to say goodbye. No one at
    that point, especially David, knew how final his departing would be.
    Mary wrote of it later, “The whole thing was too pathetic for words.”

    “Her attitude towards the entire affair was captured when one
    lady-in-waiting expressed sympathy for David three days later. Mary
    responded, “The person who needs most sympathy is my second son. He is
    the one who is making the sacrifice.”

    “Less than six months later, Mary turned 70, but she was in a foul mood
    on the day of, having just learned that David meant to finally marry
    Wallis. Indeed, against her will, she was a presence that day, for David
    used a prayer book Mary gave him as a child for the service. In it the inscription read, “To my darling David from his loving Mother.”

    “Mary always remained appropriate, at least on the surface. She
    telegraphed her best wishes to her son on his wedding day. David was so
    touched and pleased to receive it that he showed it to nearly every
    guest who attended the reception. None of them, however, would be a
    member of his immediate family.”

    “The telegram was no thawing of her opinion. In fact, as she watched David’s actions play out in the press, without the context of directly communicating with him, her feelings hardened. That he chose his
    father’s birthday as his wedding day was unforgivable to her. One of her ladies-in-waiting later said that her abiding fury at her son was the
    only thing that helped her swallow the humiliation.”

    “She was further horrified when David and Wallis visited Germany in 1937
    and met with Adolf Hitler, all the while she was receiving letters from
    him asking her to meet his new wife. Finally, she responded in the
    summer of 1938 with:

    “I do not think you have realised the shock, which the attitude you took
    up caused your family & the whole nation. It seemed inconceivable to
    those who had made much greater sacrifices during the war that you, as
    their King, refused a lesser sacrifice … My feelings for you as your
    Mother remain the same, and our being parted and the cause of it, grieve
    me beyond words. After all, all my life I have put my country before
    everything else and I simply cannot change now.”

    “David and Wallis briefly resided in Nassau during World War II at the direction of the British government. Without her husband’s knowledge,
    Wallis wrote a letter to Mary, which read:

    “Madam, I hope you will forgive my intrusion upon your time as well as
    my boldness in addressing Your Majesty. My motive for the letter is a
    simple one. It has always been a source of sorrow and regret to me that
    I have been the cause of any separation that exists between Mother and
    Son and I can’t help feeling that there must be moments perhaps, however fleeting they may be, when you wonder how David is…”

    “By then, Mary had briefly seen David at the start of the War when he
    made a short trip home. It was fleeting and likely offered her son none
    of the closure or reconciliation he wanted. Indeed, she had to be
    pressed by close friends to take the meeting at all, which David begged
    for. Throughout it all, David wrote to his mother devotedly and though
    Mary replied, she did so without warmth or any insight into her life or
    that of his family.”

    “David continued to long for a private conversation with his mother, believing that if only he could see her it would change not only the
    dynamic between them, but between him and the rest of the family.
    Finally, after months of correspondence between Mary and Bertie, David
    was allowed to spend a week at Marlborough House in the autumn of 1946.
    He was picked up by only a single car and a chauffeur, a cold gesture
    that reportedly wounded him deeply. The coolness with which he was
    greeted by his family was at odds with the crowds though, who cheered
    and shouted, “You must come back, Teddy!” The dynamic did nothing to
    warm up the rest of the Windsors.”

    “Mary was a dedicated diarist, as were her ladies-in-waiting. Yet
    whatever happened in that meeting never made it to paper. Its absence
    tells enough of a story – it didn’t go well. Though the two took tea and
    he accompanied his mother to a bomb site in East London, there is no
    record of them ever taking a full meal. A few days later he met
    privately with Bertie. It, too, was unsuccessful. He departed two days
    ahead of schedule, returning to Paris where he lived with Wallis
    heartbroken and rejected.”

    “David returned for only two more family occasions. He attended Bertie’s funeral in February 1952 and then that of Mary the following year. Mary
    passed away at the age of 85 in Marlborough House on March 24, 1953,
    less than three months before her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, was
    to be crowned. David arrived in London five days later, just in time for
    the Lying-in-State in a candlelit Westminster Hall. He was reported to
    look anxious and deeply unhappy.”

    “Two days later, her funeral was held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Following the service, 28 members of the Royal Family met for a private
    dinner. David was not invited to join.”

    The Mother-Son Relationship From Hell: Queen Mary & Edward VIII

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