Royal Relics Revealed: Edward and Wallis’s VIP Guests’ Books Hit Auction
The exclusive visitors’ books of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, containing a ‘who’s who’ of 20th-century luminaries, are set to go under the hammer for £30,000. Filled with signatures of high-profile guests spanning from 1935 to 1970, these red leather books offer a rare glimpse into the couple’s extraordinary life.
**1. A Pictorial Journey Through VIP Signatures
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister Antony Eden, Lord Tennyson, and Earl Louis ‘Dickie’ Mountbatten are among the distinguished guests chronicled in the books.
Equerry Ulick Alexander, adviser Walter Monckton, and solicitor Albert George Allen made appearances during the abdication crisis in 1936.
**2. The Fort and Austrian Castles: Embossed Memories
The first visitor book, embossed with ‘The Fort,’ reflects Edward’s Windsor home, Fort Belvedere, where the abdication papers were signed.
Marked with the Austrian castle where the couple spent their honeymoon, these books weave a narrative of their shared history.
**3. Evolution of Monograms: Tracing Edward and Wallis’s Changing Status
The couple’s monograms transformed as their status evolved, capturing shifts from ‘Edward RI and Wallis W Simpson’ to ‘Edward Duke of Windsor and Wallis Duchess of Windsor.’
These changes mirror their journey from the Prince of Wales to King and then to the Duke of Windsor.
**4. A Christmas Gift and Its Legacy
The first visitors’ book, a Christmas gift from Wallis to Edward in 1934, bore witness to significant moments, including the abdication crisis.
A virtually identical second volume was crafted in 1958 after the first book reached its capacity.
**5. From Simpson to Blum: A Legacy Passed Down
The books, originally gifted by Simpson to her French lawyer and carer Suzanne Blum, eventually found their way to the present owner. Having administered Simpson’s estate after her death in 1986, Suzanne Blum passed on these remarkable artifacts.
**6. Bonhams Auction: Unveiling Cross Sections of Royal Lives
Matthew Haley, manuscripts specialist at Bonhams, describes the visitors’ books as extraordinary cross-sections of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s lives.
The signatures offer a fascinating glimpse into the guests, locations, and timelines that defined their remarkable journey.