Since a large number of us have known this lady for close to 70 years, you may not know it was not that uncommon for members of a royal family to suddenly up and enlist, as Elizabeth did at the age of 16, to serve as an ambulance driver during World War II.
Elizabeth succeeded her father George VI as the English monarch in 1952. George had held England’s hand all during World War II, having succeeded his older brother, Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936, after only 365 days on the throne, so as to be able to marry an American socialite-divorcee named Wallis Simpson, a marriage which at the time was forbidden in both England and the Church, as she was twice-divorced, and the second one not yet finalized. Rumor was that she slept around in those early days, and being a rich socialite from Baltimore, barely turned 40, behaved in keeping with her social rank.
(Winston Churchill had a cousin, Claire Sheridan, who was similarly socially situated as a sculptress; and who bedded Leon Trotsky, was groped by Mussolini, spurned by Hitler, and ran off with Charlie Chaplin. She later became a Soviet spy…so I’m thinking this sort of behavior is common for the species; high strung, the alpha in any ‘without-benefit of clergy’ relationship, while still retaining a good relationship with Winston, despite her pro-Bolshevik views. Anybody know anyone who’s like that in our modern era, besides Nancy Pelosi?)
And therein lies a story that the English government has gone to great lengths to conceal until there is no one left with any memory of it.
Elizabeth was that last one who remembered.
You see, after Edward abdicated, for the rest of their marriage, (Edward died in 1972), they were popularly and affectionately known to the world as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, sporting around the world, while living as governor of the Bahamas out of reach of the Germans, after the fall of France. Inside Windsor their leanings toward Hitler were well-known after he and Wallis visited Germany and Hitler in 1936 (see photo) before Germany invaded Poland.
The officials in Windsor and at 10 Downing Street went to great lengths to keep those liaisons out of the public eye, so it was never publicly disclosed that King Edward VIII and some of his coterie had been friendly to the “Nazi idea” and Adolf Hitler early on. But clearly English insiders considered Edward an “appeaser”.
Meanwhile, during the early days of the war, first with Dunkirk, then the Blitz, Elizabeth and her father George VI ended up being England’s most beloved back-to-back monarchs in its history, over 80 years (1936-2022).
But there is some history and historical speculation you may not be aware of, but which was known in England’s inner circles during those early days of the war, was the fear that Edward and Wallis were not just sympatico, but might have assisted the Third Reich. In fact, Hitler’s #3, Deputy-Fuhrer Rudolph Hess flew a secret mission to England in 1941, only his specially-outfitted Messerschmitt crashed in Scotland after he parachuted to safety, and just like that he was never to be seen or heard from again…the world knowing nothing about any of this…until he showed up in Nuremberg at the Trials, in 1946.
The speculation then (there was never anything official) was that perhaps Hess was hoping to hook up with members of the sympatico wing of the family, to convince them to re-declare England “neutral”, a treaty signed to end hostilities across the Channel, allowing Germany to focus solely on Russia.
Rightly, this would have been unthinkable considering the terror and damage Georing’s Luftwaffe inflicted on England’s cities in 1940-41.
But all the public knew was that Hess just disappeared from notice in 1941, most people, not even in Germany, knowing he was gone until he showed up again at trial, seated here next on Goering’s left of the dock.
Hess was convicted and sentenced to life, along with six others (the rest were hung), and housed at Spandau Prison, in West Berlin, in the Allied Zone. Those other six either died or did their time, but Hess remained there until he died in 1987, at age 93, having spent the last 20+ years as the sole occupant of that huge 600-man prison.
There had to be some special reason.
Even in the 60’s the Allies still never admitted that it was Hess who was that sole prisoner in Spandau. The mainstream press never banged the “Where’s Rudolf Hess” drum, but the “people’s” press, men’s magazines mostly, carried stories from time to time, and that was where I first ran across a story when I was 15 or so, in “Argosy”, a men’s magazine I could leaf through while my dad was buying cigars. That was where I learned that the general population had never been told who that one man was, his name was never officially revealed, and the military staff who was stationed there were under strictest orders, punishable by imprisonment, if they ever revealed who he was, or ever attempted to publish memoirs and tales of their tour there.
All that secrecy implied a truth that would have been terribly embarrassing to the English Crown and/or British government. They were hiding something. And I suspect a simpatico-to-Nazism wing of Edward’s royal family would have been a justification to shushing the whole affair.
Hess was just such a secret, and it finally sort of petered out, (no pun intended) which apparently is the same way a wider swath of the new American royalty has in keeping the whole Epstein Island affair buried, today. Whispers don’t matter, only proof.
Lessons learned from this little interlude include a sense of just what Class is all about, because Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee, was perceived by the English upper class, in perhaps the same way the English class-conscious have looked upon Meghan Markle…a gold-digging tramp. Even Wikipedia didn’t quite know how to handle her story, but clearly the one who wore the pants in that relationship.
There is actually a natural law lesson here, for it is Fascism, not Marxism, that is found at the heart of this inexorable drive toward government control by the people’s self-hypnotized “betters”. Even Bernie Sanders couldn’t resist the rewards of his secure station in the high castle erected for the People’s supervisors.
Privilege, rank, accoutrements of power and status, not to mention better sleeping and dining arrangements are all considered earned-perquisites to fascists.