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Photo album showing Duke of Windsor's trip to Nazi Germany to be auctioned

A photo album detailing the Duke of Windsor's trip to Nazi Germany in 1937 is to be sold at auction.

It was compiled and captioned by Edward's sole equerry, Sir Dudley Forwood, and has been in his family ever since.

The album features pictures - many of them previously unseen - of the former king meeting top ranking Nazis, including Adolf Hitler.

More than 60 pictures detail the official visits the Duke went on with his new wife Wallis Simpson, who had been the cause of the abdication crisis the previous year.

Sir Dudley became the Duke's equerry after the abdication until the outbreak of war, when he returned to his regiment, the Scots Guards.

He later said the Duke's trip to Germany was not to support the Nazi regime as many thought, but so his wife could experience a state visit.

The album is being sold by Duke's of Dorchester along with Sir Dudley's invitation to the funeral of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986.

Timothy Medhurst, an expert from Duke's, said the album is expected to fetch up to £1,000.

"This is an incredible piece of history with impeccable provenance," he said.

"It shows the couple in a relaxed environment being shown around by Nazis who are clearly proud of their nation.

"The photos are neatly compiled in an album with captions written shortly after the visit. Some are quite amusing and include him (Sir Dudley) moaning about having to listen to a school choir for two hours.

"At the end of the concert he says both nations' national anthems were played and he adds, 'The press interest as to whether or not the Duke would follow the example of the Nazis and give their salute was quite funny'.

"He writes about how German firms were encouraged to provide staff with sports grounds and if they didn't they'd get a bad 'Nazi Mark'.

"In one caption he notes how the Duke told (Nazi politician) Dr (Robert) Ley that demolishing a tower so it could be rebuilt solely for aesthetic reasons was a 'waste', to which Ley replied, 'We have the bricks, the mortar and the labour'.

"It is a unique piece of history compiled at a time when the Nazi war machine was preparing for European conquest and the systematic slaughter of millions of people.

"There will be interest from royal collectors but also those with an interest in history and the war.

"It is being auctioned in a sale that includes a number of other items from this period including medals."

Sir Dudley once recalled the Duke telling Hitler: "The Germans and the British races are one. They should always be one. They are of Hun origin."

He added that the Duke must have forgotten about the Norman invasion.

The photographs show the Duke and his wife visiting many places, including a mine, a winter relief headquarters, a lightbulb factory and a school, which Sir Dudley noted was being set up "'to teach the young Germans to become true Nazis. It is run on the lines of an English public school with every type of facilities for games".

Many images record how the couple were shown around by Ley, who was in charge of the visit and a fanatical Nazi.

He remained in Hitler's inner circle until the end and was later arrested, but killed himself while awaiting trial.

The title page of the album, written in German, appears to quote a popular song of the day The Good Comrade, and then On A Beautiful Journey.


The album will be sold on March 10.