King Edward's love letters sold off

Published Jun 6, 2001


London - Everyone knows about the fateful romance of Edward VIII, the king who gave up his throne for Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American socialite he loved.

Now, an auction house has sold more than 260 of Edward's love letters - but they're not to Wallis.

The passionate correspondence was with Freda Dudley-Ward, the daughter of a Nottingham lacemaker who had a 16-year relationship with Edward that ended when his friendship with Simpson blossomed into love.

The collection of more than 260 letters was sold to a private collector, Barry Davies, for $48 645.

In a letter dated April 18, 1920, Edward, then Prince of Wales, told Freda he intended to make her his queen.

"Mon amour, I swear I'll never marry any woman other than you," Edward wrote.

In another letter, sent in 1919, he tells Dudley-Ward: "I'm like you, angel, want to die young and how marvellously divine if we could die together; there's absolutely nothing I could wish for more."

The couple apparently met in February 1918, when they were both in their early 20s, following a dance. Dudley-Ward was married to a member of British parliament at the time.

Dudley-Ward - whom Edward nicknamed Fredie - became his mistress shortly thereafter, yet she had to share him with other women. According to Wallis Simpson's biographer Charles Higham, the prince had a string of lovers.

All his dalliances ended after Edward met Wallis at a party at Lady Furness's country house in 1931. Although not a standout on the London social scene, she caught Edward's eye with her handsome style. He fell desperately in love and hoped to make Simpson queen.

But the fact that she had been married twice was an acute embarrassment to traditionalists and the Church of England hierarchy, and parliament insisted the king could not wed her.

Edward, however, remained determined to do so, and on December 10, 1936, he abdicated to marry the woman he loved. The couple were married in 1937 and became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Another group of letters connected with King Edward VIII was sold at the same auction - for $6 162. - Sapa-AP

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