March 5, 2000
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Queen Mum wanted peace with Hitler
By Sophie Goodchild,
When Oxford University's Bodleian Library released a tranche of papers relating to the royal family last week, one box of documents was missing, the rapidly notorious Box 24.
Experts assumed that the papers had been suppressed because they contained vitriolic remarks by the Queen Mother about the Duchess of Windsor. This, senior government sources have told the Independent on Sunday, is not the case. The reason that papers were withheld is potentially far more embarrassing: they spell out the true extent of the Queen Mother's pro-appeasement views on the brink of the Second World War.
The papers, part of a collection of letters belonging to the first Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a close friend of Edward VIII, dwell on the relationship between the Queen Mother and the pro-appeasement foreign secretary Lord Halifax (left). The letters are said to show her hostility towards Churchill and her desire that the deeply unpopular Halifax be Prime Minister instead.
The letters, which include private correspondence between the Queen Mother and Halifax himself, suggest the battle to preserve the monarchy was a concern which weighed above all others. As leader, Halifax was likely to have sued for peace with Hitler on the understanding that he allowed the monarchy to continue under a Nazi occupation.
Lord Halifax was foreign secretary between 1939 and 1940 but was sent to Washington by Winston Churchill to be British Ambassador from 1941 to 1946. He died in 1959.
Philip Ziegler, who wrote the official biography of Edward VIII, said he had seen only the letters relating to the abdication but confirmed that the Queen Mother had a close relationship with Halifax. "She was known to be very fond of Halifax indeed," he said.
© 2000 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.