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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 3, Scene 3

Time: April 1936
Place: Fort Belvedere.

Edward: When Iím at the Palace I always feel spied on, Wallis, but here
at Belvedere I feel safe and at home; where you and I can be together
without the outside world snooping on us.

Mrs Simpson: Theyíre such an unforgiving and unbending lot in London. Iím sure
the Prime Minister detests me, David and I feel it every time Iím in
his company.

Edward: The old fogey can jolly well think what he likes about you. I
donít care a damn for him as long as Iím with you, darling.
[They embrace]

Mrs Simpson: You always say the sweetest things, David.
Edward: Thatís because you are the sweetest thing in my life. Thank God,
I met you, Wallis. Youíre the only person who really understands me.

Mrs Simpson: Surely your parents did, David.

Edward: They least of all. They tried to raise me how they thought a
Royal should behave, just as theyíd been moulded by their
parents but Iím having none of it. Weíre living in the
twentieth century now.

Mrs Simpson: In America we brushed that attitude out of our hair long ago
when we had our revolution. We donít have any class system
. Weíre individuals and we take a person for what he or she is, not
for which family they were born into or where they were educated.

Edward: Our class system is divisive, Wallis, but Iíll change it when
Iím crowned King. With you as my wife weíll alter the face
of Britain. Iíll turn the country upside down the country with
some long overdue changes, and the class system will go first.

Mrs Simpson: On the other hand, David, we Americans do have our pecking order.

Edward: How do you mean?

Mrs Simpson: In America youíre judged by the size of your wallet. The
richer you are, the more youíre thought of; but the difference is
in America you can start with nothing and
go right to the top, not by who you know or where you went
to school but by sheer hard work.

Edward: And there lies the difference between Britain and the States.
If youíre an aristocrat here, you may be penniless, idle and pretty
dim, but you still have standing . Itís who you know and
where you were educated which counts. Thatís wrong and
Iím determined to change it, just as the Nazis have done in Germany.

Mrs Simpson: [Kissing him] Youíre a good man, David. I knew that from
the moment we met.

Edward: Once Iím King, together weíll model the country on Germany
which is leading the world in change.. The National Socialists
have pulled their country out of the past by getting rid of their
old class system and starting afresh. People rise to the top in
Germany through skills and hard work and what we need are
leaders like theirs with the fire and determination of Herr Hitler
and his colleagues. Heís admired because he gets things done
and looks after them. Oh, would we had a Hitler here!

Mrs Simpson: You know, youíre a Socialist at heart, David.

Edward: But not a British Socialist. Theyíre so partisan and ineffectual;
and in their own way as class conscious as the Conservatives.
They had a golden opportunity to change Britain after the war
but they threw their chance away squabbling among themselves.
[Enter butler]. Yes, James?

James: His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury has arrived, sir.

Edward: Good Lord! Heís very early Ė turning up as always on cue,
uninvited and unwelcome. Tell his Grace to wait in
the reception room till Iíve finished speaking withÖwith an
American envoy whoís called in to see me. [Edward and
Mrs Simpson laugh]

James: [Gravely] Yes, sir.

Edward: In other words, James, give Mrs Simpson time to get clear.
[Exit James] Youíd better leave by the rear entrance, darling,
for you donít want to bump into that old fart. Stay in my
study till I let you know when heís gone. [They embrace and
she exits left. Archbishop Lang enters right soon afterwards
and bows. Edward advances and motions him to a chair.]
How good of you to come and see me, Archbishop, so soon
after my fatherís death.

Lang: I felt I ought to see you as soon as possible, because you are,
after all, the head of the national Church, You Majesty.

Edward: [Flippantly] Your boss, so to speak!

Lang: [Smiling thinly] In a way of speaking, yes, though weíre
both under an Authority far higher than ourselves.

Edward: Indeed, though Iíd hardly call myself a religious man; I do
take my role seriously as head of the established Church.

Lang: [Gravely] I would hope so, sir. Your father took his role
very seriously. He was a most devout monarch.

Edward: And I know that my father valued your friendship greatly.

Lang: As I hope you will, too, Your Majesty, when we
come to know each other better.

Edward: I hope so, for up till now we havenít had much
opportunity to meet, have we? So, Archbishop, what can I do
for you?

Lang: [Coughs awkwardly] To come to the point. Your father and
I always spoke frankly to each other, as I intend to do with
you, sir. Frankness is the essence of sincerity and I hope
youíll also be frank with me. Youíre aware that your father
discussed you with me at various times in the past?

Edward: [Taken aback] Really. No, I didnít know.

Lang: Like all fathers he was protective and sometimes critical of
what you did, but it would be a pity, sir, if you were to
misjudge me in this connexion. I was approached for advice
by your father. I wasnít prying. Now I appreciate youíre
very different from your father like many sons, both
in outlook and temperament; yet I want to say that when the
late King questioned your conduct, I tried in your interest
to present it in a favourable light as far as I could.

Edward: [Irritated] That was very noble of you, Archbishop, but Iíve
always thought oneís personal conduct was oneís own
private affair.

Lang: Not when one holds a position of high office, sir. There are
certain standards expected of all who hold high office, and
that includes both of us.

Edward: I take my responsibilities both to the Church and the state
very seriously.

Lang: Iím sure you do, Your Majesty; but if I may venture to say
so, there is still much more to learn now youíve assumed
the crown. The position of a king is very different from that of
a prince.

Edward: Iím sure I have much to learn, yet Iím no beginner. Iíve
travelled widely Ė perhaps more widely than yourself,
Archbishop Ė and Iím very concerned with the poor in our
society. Does not Scripture tell us to care of the poor?

Lang: Indeed, your concern in that direction is most praiseworthy. You
are very popular with the lower classes and the young; but if I
may say so popularity is different from esteem. It pays one to
tread very carefully when one is popular, Your Majesty. Being
a celebrity also carries the onus of responsibility and you father was
a most responsible King. He thought deeply before he acted or
spoke in public, and he held deeply held views on religion which
were manifested in a simple but sturdy faith.

Edward: My father was an honourable man, but we held very different views
about life.

Lang: Not too different, I hope, for your views on the Church and the
values it holds to will be scrutinized more closely now that
youíre King. The nation looks to you to set them an example,
in morality as well as decorum.

Edward: One of the burdens of kingship, eh?

Lang: Yet one of its great privileges, sir. Your conductÖ

Edward: [Interrupting] My conduct is my personal affair,
Archbishop. Whatever happens in my private life is my business
and mine alone. No one elseís, you understand.

Lang: [Taken aback] But with respect, Your Majesty, oneís private
life these days is always under scrutiny - from the press and
others. As King, your life, both private and public, will always be
looked at closely, as mine is as Archbishop.

Edward: [Smiling] Youíre a bachelor, and the press arenít
very interested in unmarried clerics Ė unless they step out of line.

Lang: And thatís exactly where the danger lies, sir. Fall foul of
the establishment, go against the morals of the Church, and
its teaching and youíre treading on very thin ice, indeed. The
press will be onto you in a flash.

Edward: But moral values change age by age.
Lang: Perhaps in the secular world, but in the Church morals remain
constant. The Ten Commandments are as valid now as the day

they were written. So are the teachings of Christ.

Edward: Who taught us forgiveness, Archbishop.

Lang: Indeed, but he also taught us we must obey the law Ė moral as
well as civil.

Edward: But did he not also free us from the law?

Lang: He gave us freedom of choice to obey the law or not, but he did
not endorse license or sin.

Edward: Iím no theologian so cannot gainsay you.

Lang: But youíre the King, sir, and the head of the English Church and
as such your subjects expect you to maintain high moral standards.

Edward: But Iím a man first with all manís failings.

Lang: Like myself Ė but we have to try to contain them.

Edward: As head of the Church Iíll do my best, Archbishop, but as
an individual I reserve the right to live my own life as I please.

Lang: Iím sure you will, no matter what I say; so I can only offer to
help you when you need my help, sir, and I can only hope you
will be open to advice when the occasion demands. Your father
was a good man and a good Christian and he accepted as well
as gave advice to his ministers.

Edward: [Smiling] When Iím gone, I hope someone will say
the same about me and I thank you for your comments.
Theyíve provided us with some worthwhile conversation, have
they not, for this our first meeting? [Rings for James who opens
the door] And thank you for speaking your mind so
openly, Archbishop. I think we both know where we stand now.


Lang: [Bowing before he leaves and saying dryly] I may be a crusty
old bachelor, Your Majesty, but thereís still much meat under
the crust. Good day to you, sir. [Exits followed by James]

Edward: My God! What cheek! What an interfering old buffer! How dare
he discuss my personal life with my father behind my back! That
old codger will need some watching now Iím King else heíll
lay down poison for me in Parliament, for I know heís in cahoots
with the cabinet. Oh, how I wish I had Hitler as my Prime Minister
to bring them all to heel! A King here carries more than the burden
of state Ė heís got the Church on his back as well. Lang and his ilk
are determined to hold me down. [Paces the room] Born to
be King , but not to be the ruler of oneís destiny. [Rings for his
butler] James, will you tell Mrs Simpson Iím free now. [Exit
butler] So they make me King then subject to their whims. They
appoint me head of the Church, but with no say in what I believe
or how I behave. An emperor with no power over his Empire.
God only knows how theyíll handle Wallis when they find out
we intend to marry. [Enter Mrs Simpson] And right on cue, my love.
I was wondering how theyíll all take it when I tell them I want
to marry you.

Mrs Simpson: I can imagine what theyíll all say, David.

Edward: Thereíll be hell to pay. The Archbishop made quite clear what
he thinks about me and lectured me non-stop.

Mrs Simpson: And had he anything to say about me?

Edward: Itís what he didnít say which spoke loudest. He never mentioned

you once, but it was quite clear he didnít approve of
you and is against our relationship. Without any doubt heíll lead
the opposition to our engagement when it becomes public.

Mrs Simpson: Does it matter what he thinks Ė or anybody else for that matter?

Edward: No and I donít care a toss for their opposition. As long as I have you,
darling, Iím the happiest man alive. [He kisses her tenderly]

Mrs Simpson: And since Iíve met you, you are the only man I want to spend the
rest of my life with, I love you so much. Donít worry. Together
weíll weather any storm, dear David.

Edward: Of that Iím quite sure for I knew from the moment I saw you, Wallis,
I wanted to marry you. Youíre the haven Iíve been seeking all
my life.

Mrs Simpson: And youíre the heaven Iíve been seeking all my life. [They kiss]
So where do we go from here, David?

Edward: We go where destiny takes us, darling, but one thing Iím certain of when
Iím crowned King, I want you at my side as my Queen.

Mrs Simpson: Iíd like nothing more. Queen Wallis! It kinda rolls smoothly off
the tongue. King Edward and Queen Wallis Ė they go well together.

Edward: Iíll demand they make you my Queen.

Mrs Simpson: And if they say no?

Edward: Then Iíll give up my throne.
Curtain

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