On 18/11/07 22:22, in article
Post by Stan Brown
Sun, 18 Nov 2007 16:34:35 +0000 from Sacha
Post by Sacha
On 18/11/07 12:32, in article
Post by Stan Brown
I cannot agree that Edward's abdication was shattering. What was
so traumatic was the long constitutional crisis that preceded it.
The abdication itself was an end to that long struggle and a
relief to all concerned.
Unless you were a Briton living in Britain at that time, or related to those
who were, I don't think you're qualified to make that statement.
I don't really think you want to argue that a person can't have an
intelligent opinion about a period without living through it.
I don't think you expressed an opinion. It appeared to me that you made a
statement. My grandparents and parents lived through the abdication and
they talked to me about it so while I do not have first hand knowledge of
it, I do have first hand knowledge of its affect upon those who experienced
it - members of my family.
Post by Stan Brown
By that argument, soon there will be no one "qualified" to make any
statements about that era.
Indeed. History is written by the survivors etc. But right now, there
*are* people who can comment on this time. My own mother is 89, she
remembers it. Our closest neighbour is 90 and she remembers it.
Post by Stan Brown Post by Sacha
It was indeed shattering to most because it was a shock as well as
being seen as a dereliction of duty in a dutiful age. Only a small
inner coterie knew about the matter for a long time, so when it
broke to the public it caused a real hoohaa. On top of that, he
proposed to marry a twice-divorced woman at a time when divorce was
frowned upon in a serious way. Technically, she couldn't have
entered the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot!
Sure, but you miss my point. The dereliction of duty was in his
conduct before the abdication, in consistently putting his private
happiness ahead of his duty to the nation. The abdication put an end
to that problem; it wasn't the problem in itself.
I'm not missing your point but your point is made in the light of present
knowledge, I would suggest. The public at large didn't know about the
King's come-day, go-day attitude at that time. They didn't know about wine
glass stains on secret documents. They didn't know the true role of Mrs
Simpson in his life *as it unfolded and developed*. It was, as we've said
before, a much more deferential age so that particular truth was kept from
the British public. There was no paparazzi flock and gossip columns used
'xxx' to discuss scandalous names. Now, we live in a ridiculous time when
two young princes are treated as deceivers if they break up with a
girlfriend. The differences are almost unimaginable to those who haven't
lived through them, or who have known, directly, those who have.
Post by Stan Brown
Of course it was traumatic, just as an operation to remove a diseased
gall bladder is traumatic. But the problem is the diseased organ, not
the operation. The operation is necessary to remove the diseased gall
bladder so that the body can function properly again.
(I'm not saying Edward was diseased, just illustrating the
distinction between a problem and the resolution of the problem.)
The opinion of the man on the Clapham omnibus of the time was that without
the disease there would have been no problem. The disease was perceived to
be selfishness and a dereliction of duty. At that time, this was something
very shocking. The 'me' generation just did not exist. I do think that this
has to be put in the context of its time. So many men had died in the first
world war, so many were wounded and maimed, rendered incapable of earning a
living, by doing their duty to their King & country, that the failure (as it
was then seen to be by my elders) of the King to sacrifice his own desires
for his country was volcanic in its meaning. The fact that the object of
his desire was seen as socially untouchable to all those respectable Britons
& members of the Commonwealth, who accepted their personal lot in life, was
just a step too far for that time. It was a combination of factors that
were just too much for this island race and its Commonwealth colleagues to
handle at that particular time in our history. It's a bit Richard
Attenborough or Noel Coward to say this now but our strength lay in our
unity then, in our sacrifice of self for country - how *could* we accept or
respect a King who appeared to have paid mere lip service to that and put
his own desires first? At that time, it appeared to be an insult to those
who had lost their lives and their health. My parents and grandparents view
of Edward VIII was that he was a weak and selfish man and that Mrs Simpson
'did us a favour'. Of course, we must remember also that if he had had no
children, the outcome would be no different in the present time.
Post by Stan Brown Post by Sacha Post by Stan Brown
I cannot see any parallel between her present Majesty and her uncle.
She has fulfilled her duty beautifully. While I am not trying to
suggest she *should* ask to retire, and I don't believe for a moment
that she *will* ask, it seems to me that she would be *entitled* to.
And, apparently with one exception, I'll bet if she did ask that her
subjects would support her.
I don't agree. I think the very notion that someone as dutiful and
hard-working as HM asking if she could retire would stun most royalists -
really shock them. We're accustomed to the fact that monarchs remain on the
throne until they die so a departure from that would indeed be almost
literally unimaginable and would - in this country - turn the monarchy into
something approaching a dynastic presidency. It may suit the Netherlands
but I really don't think it would suit us.
I accept that you are closer to the current situation than I am.
I think we agree that it's all a moot point because HM has not
breathed a word about retiring, and based on what we've all seen of
her character it's immensely unlikely she would.
Agreed. It's not in her nature, (or our tradition) and IMO, it's not in the
nature of her heir, either. Becoming monarch isn't a popularity contest so
she will be monarch until she dies and her son, Prince Charles, The Prince
of Wales, will be monarch after her and then after him Prince William and so
on and so forth. It really is very simple, in fact and therein lies its
strength - it is predictable in an increasingly unpredictable world.