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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

1932 - 1936 Abdication of King Edward VIII

Mountbatten returned back to his Naval career and following various promotions, by 1932 he had reached the rank of Commander and subsequently became commanding officer of HMS Daring and HMS Wishart respectively.  To try and encourage his crew on HMS Wishart, he organised a band, a ship’s newspaper and entered the ship into the 1935 Flotilla Regatta, where the Wishart swept the board at the Regatta and became the “Cock of the Flotilla”.  Whilst Mountbatten was commanding officer, a regular visitor was Sir Noël Coward (1899-1973) - who used his growing friendship with Mountbatten to start writing about the dramas onboard.

In January 1936, the sad news that King George V (1865(1910-1936) had died after a long illness rocked the Empire and Mountbatten’s friend and cousin “David” (Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales - subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later the Duke of Windsor).  The new era saw a great deal of promise, particularly as the new King did not like the stuffy and pompous protocols of previous reigns.  His popularity soared but after a series of secret affairs with married women - including Mrs Freda Dudley Ward (1894-1983) and Thelma, Viscountess Furness (1904-1970), the arrival of Mrs Wallis Simpson (1896-1986) in his life was to shake the very foundations of the Monarchy throughout the Empire.  The new King’s relationship with the twice divorced American caused many of the family to take sides and soon Mountbatten’s once close friendship with his cousin was to cool off. After months of speculation, King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) abdicated from the Throne on 10th December 1936 and left the UK with the intention of marrying Mrs Simpson in due course.  Mountbatten offered to be his best-man (supporter) at his marriage to Mrs Simpson in lieu of his own brother (and was turned down).  Although Mountbatten was against his cousin renouncing duty and tradition for love, he still wanted to return the honour of being his own best-man (supporter).

King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) was succeeded to the Throne by his brother (Prince Albert, the Duke of York) - who took the title of King George VI and on the day of the abdication Mountbatten tried to comfort the new King (who had told him how he felt unprepared and untrained to take on the role of King and Emperor). Thinking of his own father, he said that “there is no more fitting preparation to be King than to have been trained in the Royal Navy”.  On 3rd June 1937, the former King - now The Duke of Windsor married Mrs Simpson, who became The Duchess of Windsor (without the style of Royal Highness) at the Château de Candé, near Tours, France.  His brother - King George VI (1896(1936-1952) forbad any member of the Royal Family to attend, an issue which would be a cause of conflict for the Duke and Duchess for the rest of their lives. Mountbatten obeyed his King’s command and stayed away. Some say that Mountbatten “jumped ship” and turned his allegiance to the new King to remain in favour and influence, some say that the Duke of Windsor turned away thinking only of himself and his wife with resentment and bitterness - as always there are two sides to every family disagreement.  

“David” - Prince Edward,

the Duke of Windsor

(formerly King Edward VIII) with his wife (Wallis) following their wedding in 1937

HMS Wishart

Mountbatten was never on good terms with the Duchess, who was jealous of him and his close relations with the Royal Family and she knew only too well that he had opposed the idea of a morganatic marriage and the Duke abdicating.  Mountbatten said later - “I know it was terrible for him. Winston was among those who believed he couldn’t live without her. I didn’t think that, but I know it was a terrible decision for him.  I always thought it was his duty to remain King and told him that he ought to give up Wallis if that was the only alternative.”

HMS Kelly