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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 5, Scene 3

Here is the penultimate act in John Waddington-Feather's play about the abdication of a British king.

Time: 11th December 1936
Place: the Royal Lodge, Windsor, where Edward is meeting his mother,
Queen Mary, for the last time before he formally announces his abdication
over the radio and leaves England for exile in France.

Mary: [Sitting stiffly on her chair and very much on her dignity] So you’re
quite definitely giving up your throne, David.

Edward: Yes, mama. I’m abdicating. Not an easy decision to make nor made lightly,
I assure you. But I’m quite sure it’s the right thing to do.

Mary: You surprise me. You’ve done most things lightly during your life till now
when you’re abandoning your crown, your country and your
duty for this woman.

Edward: [Rankled] Wallis is not ‘this woman’, mama. She’s the woman I love and
will marry. I’ll do anything for her.

Mary: Including forfeiting your kingdom; abandoning your duty to your people.

Edward: My duty is to my wife and my love for her.

Mary: Love? You certainly know much about love but appear to
have little for your country. As King the love for your country and
Empire should come before anything else. Kingship is a sacrament and we
are its keepers. We are as much servants of Kingship as others are servants
to us.

Edward: I tried my best to serve the nation in all the ways expected of me, mama, but
I stand on my right to marry the woman I love on my own terms and no
one else’s.

Mary: You have brought disgrace on the Crown and you have suddenly thrown
all the onus of being King on your brother Bertie, and the rest of us.

Edward: Bertie will make a good King, as father kept reminding me.

Mary: But Bertie will be King at a cost. He is shy and stammers badly. He’s
always looked up to you as the elder brother and now you’ve let him
down. Kingship will put a great strain on him and his wife, not to mention their
daughters. Your other brothers also will now have to suddenly change
course in their lives and give up their careers to support Bertie in his
new duties
[Stiffly] And it need never have got this far, David, if you hadn’t been taken
in by that American woman.

Edward: If you met her, mama, you might change your mind. She’s a
wonderful woman and really would like to meet you.

Mary: Quite impossible! [A cool silence] So what are you going to call yourself
now you’re not King? Is it plain ‘mister’ or ‘fuhrer’ as the Germans call
their Chancellor?

Edward: I’ve already spoken to Bertie and he intends making me a duke like my
brothers. It will be the first act of his reign tomorrow when he meets
the Accession Council. He’s going to make me the Duke of Windsor.

Mary: And your American woman? What will she call herself?

Edward: For the time being she’ll be plain Mrs Simspon.

Mary: And for the future, too, I hope.

Edward: Mama, I do wish you would stop thinking ill of her.

Mary: How can I think otherwise when she’s brought you to this.
You’ve made a decision which drags us all down and divided the
country just when it needs stability.
Edward: Germany has become stable under Herr Hitler’s leadership, which is
more than is happening here.. It would be a great shame if ever he
were overthrown.

Mary: Don’t speak to me of Germany. We’ve suffered enough at her
hands. You’re not going to live there, I hope.

Edward: No. I’m going to France as soon as I’ve made my broadcast tonight.

Mary: I’m pleased about that at least. The way she’s going, Germany
is dragging Europe into war yet again.

Edward: I don’t think so, mama. If Herr Hitler were handled right and our
country became closer to him and made some sort of alliance, we’d be out
of the economic mess we’re in.

Mary: What do you know about money? You’ve always spent it like water.

Edward: I know enough to realise that Germany isn’t plagued by hunger marches
and unemployment.

Mary: But all sorts of other horrible things are happening inside Germany – and
in Spain and Italy who are Herr Hitler’s allies.

Edward: Perhaps I know them somewhat better than you, mama.

Mary: Rubbish! You always were self-opinionated, David. How can you
know them when you’ve hardly been there?

Edward: [Ignoring Mary’s remarks] I’ll be glad to get away from it all tonight.

Mary: You’ll never get away from what you’ve done. The papers will hound
you wherever you go the rest of your life, because you’re a failed King.

Edward: I’ve many friends I can stay with.

Mary: Who, may I ask?

Edward: The Rothschilds. They have a place where Wallis and I can stay.

Mary: Together?

Edward: Of course.

Mary: But she’s not yet divorced!

Edward: Does that matter now? She will be very soon.

Mary: And then you’ll wed her at once, eh?

Edward: As soon as I can. [With feeling] Oh, mama, how I wish you
would meet her and make her a part of the family.

Mary: That will never be. You’ve made your choice and now you must go
your own way without us. She’ll never be accepted at Court.

Edward: Are those your final words to me, mama? It may be some time before
we meet again.

Mary: If you’d been more responsible it could have been, oh,
so different. Yes, those are my final words.

Edward: Will you be listening to my broadcast?

Mary: No. It would be more than I could bear.

Edward: [Going over to his mother and kissing her lightly on the cheek] Then
it’s goodbye, mama, and God bless you!



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