Casual greeting or Nazi salute? Prince Edward’s tour of Hitler’s Germany in pictures
Following the release of a home video of Queen Elizabeth II and her royal siblings performing a Nazi salute, photos have emerged of King Edward VIII on a tour of Germany in the 1930s, where he met Adolf Hitler and other senior Nazis.
The photos, from the Morgane Evans Antique Auction, show the monarch arriving at official meetings and giving an ambiguous wave to the crowds, prompting questions about Edward’s feelings toward the Nazi regime.
The home video of the young Elizabeth sparked controversy when it was revealed by the Sun on July 18. Critics were quick to question the links between the British royal family and the Nazi regime.
German historian and author of Go-Betweens for Hitler, Karina Urbach wrote that the video showed a dark link between the aristocracy and Nazi Germany.
“Edward VIII was particularly attracted to the Nazis because of their social ideas,” she said. The support was mutual, she added, as Hitler himself was an Anglophile who used a relative of the royals to gain access to British society.
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and grandson of Queen Victoria, was a close acquaintance of Hitler, Urbach said.
“Carl Edward’s British network was very useful for Hitler.”
“Hitler was an Anglophile, and his dream [during the early 1930s] was to have an alliance with Britain,” she explained.
“Hitler needed people who had access to the elite in Britain. Carl Edward was therefore ideal. He was born in Britain, and he was related to Queen Mary [the present Queen’s grandmother], who was very pro-German. She invited Carl Edward several times to England and had a correspondence with him that has mysteriously vanished,” she said.
Urbach believes that historians are hindering further research into the subject.
“The Royal Archives in Britain are hindering research on this subject,” she said, adding that letters from royals to Nazi Germany are currently being hidden from the public.
Edward VIII was the center of British media attention during his reign. In 1937, he met Adolf Hitler with his new wife, American socialite Wallis Simpson, whom he had married after abdicating from the British throne.
After the meeting he was accused of feeding government secrets to foreign governments, and of being an ally of Hitler.