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It was established last week that Edward VIII, a few hours before reading his Abdication broadcast, asked his three closest remaining attendants to accompany him to Austria, and they all gave the Duke quiet, steady-eyed refusals. His personal private secretary of 15 years, Sir Godfrey Thomas, an astute Welshman with a standing (and perhaps a future) in the British diplomatic service, simply "vanished." His personal bodyguard, Chief Inspector David Storier, vainly tried at Scotland Yard to get let off from guarding the Duke of Windsor. Both Mrs. Simpson and the Duke separately tried to retain the services of Chauffeur George Stanley Ladbrooke (who last winter persuaded the King to buy Buicks, although Mrs. Simpson had originally wanted Packards), but Chauffeur Ladbrooke had had enough. The same applied to distinguished Major Hon. Alexander Hardinge, the anti-Simpsonite whom Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin forced upon King Edward as Private Secretary in the early days of the reign and later caused to be made a Privy Councillor. Last week exhausted Major Hardinge was beginning a three-months rest, before returning to be Private Secretary to King George VI. Back in Buckingham Palace to the joy of all concerned was good and great Lord Wigram, for 25 years private secretary to King George V. Lord Wigram will get the Royal Household back on its Georgian legs, then turn over to Major Hardinge, remaining available as Lord-in-Waiting.
The Duke & Mrs. Simpson. It was an achievement last week that Mrs. Simpson was able for the first time to go shopping in Cannes without causing a crowd to collect. She ate her Christmas dinner not in the villa of her friends Mr. & Mrs. Herman Livingston Rogers but with her famed chaperon Aunt Bessie in a Cannes hotel. Greatest ambition of the Woman of the Year seemed to be to drop from world publicity's most glaring spotlight to utter oblivion, the perfect 1937 exit for the Woman of 1936.
At the Rothschild castle in Austria, the Duke of Windsor cheerily engaged a staff of body servants from local applicants. Strangest post-Abdication event was when the Duke, hitherto notorious as Edward of Wales and as King Edward for his chronic absence from church, suddenly drove in on Sunday to the English Church of Vienna. He chatted at the door with U. S. Minister to Austria George Messersmith & wife, invited them to luncheon, but they had a previous engagement. Then, like abdicated Kaiser Wilhelm II who incessantly takes part in divine service at Doom, abdicated King Edward VIII went to the lectern and in a clear, ringing voice read the second Scripture Lesson. It was about Biblical David (Luke II, 1-20), and the Duke has always been called David in his own family. This performance was taken to be a retort pious to the Archbishops of England and a clincher on the pastor of Vienna's English Church, Rev. Dr. C. D. H. Grimes, to perform the wedding of David Windsor some time next spring to the Woman of 1936.