In the second and final part of revelatory two-part history series Spying On The Royals, recently declassified intelligence files blow the lid on the most famous royal scandal of the 20th century, and perhaps the most controversial espionage operation in British history. This episode reveals that, as well as British spies following Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson’s every move as they travelled across the Atlantic, the Americans were also on their trail.
When Britain’s former King Emperor Edward VIII – uncle of Queen Elizabeth II – and his wife, the American divorcee formerly known as Wallis Simpson, arrived at an exclusive American resort for a holiday, they thought they were enjoying every intimate moment of their trip in complete privacy.
This programme can reveal for the first time how they were, in fact, being tailed, their phone tapped and their room bugged. And in July 1940, as German bombs fell on English towns for the first time, Edward and Wallis arrived in Lisbon thinking they were escaping the ravages of war-torn Europe. But their host – a Portuguese banker who was also a known Nazi collaborator and thought to be laundering millions of dollars of Nazi loot stolen from the occupied countries – gave rise to concerns in the most senior echelons of MI5, so Edward and Wallis were being secretly watched by a spy who’d been covertly dispatched from London.
This film reveals the extensive nature of the surveillance of Edward and Wallis, why they were under suspicion from two of the most powerful states in the world and why it could be argued that the Britain and the US were right to be concerned.
Director: Chris Durlacher
Series Director: Paul Elston
Production Company: Brave New Media
Spying On The Royals Part 2 (of 2) airs on Sunday 9 April 2017 from 8.00pm-9.00pm on Channel 4.