Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978): Season 1, Episode 4 - The Divorce - full transcript

As Wallis proceeds with her divorce, away from London, there is increasing concern in official circles as to what the future may hold. The American press are having a field day with the affair but the British press has remained silent. Of greater concern to the Prime Minister is the possibility of a constitutional crisis should the King persist with his intention to marry Wallis. The British media, led by the influential press baron Lord Beaverbrook, agree to cover the divorce in as low key a way as possible. The Prime Minister, who very much likes and supports the new King, expresses his concern to him but the King insists he has the right to have a friend. Mrs. Simpson obtains an interim divorce decree, to be made final in six months time.

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[ "God Save the King" plays ]

[ Up-tempo music plays ]

♫ I've danced with a man
who's danced with a girl ♫

♫ Who's danced
with the Prince of Wales ♫

♫ "It was simply grand,"
he said ♫

♫ "Topping band" ♫

♫ And she said,
"Delightful, sir" ♫

♫ Glory, glory, alleluia ♫

♫ I'm the luckiest of females ♫

♫ For I've danced with a man
who's danced with a girl ♫

♫ Who danced
with the Prince of Wales ♫

[ "God Save the King" plays ]

[ Up-tempo music plays ]

I simply don't understand
this huge fuss

because your name was mentioned
in the Court Circular.

If I'm to believe
the American newspapers,

I'm the most envied woman
in the British Empire.

Goodness gracious.

Why on earth shouldn't it be
known that you were my guest?

Oh, David, don't be upset.

We knew that something like this
was bound to happen.

I suppose so.

But there's no other way
of dealing with the situation

except by being
perfectly straightforward.

I agree, David.

But we do have to be careful

until my divorce
has got through.

[ Sighs ]

David, I shall miss you
while I'm at Felixstowe.

So shall I, darling.

But I shall come up
and see you as often as I can.

And then once you're free,
we can be together always.

[ Bell tolling ]

There you are, Archbishop.

Cuttings and photographs
of the pair of them.

All from American journals,
thank God, not British.

But how long can that last?

And letters of complaint
from all over the world.

I've been receiving
much of the same,

and so has Her Majesty.

This collection
must have been accumulating

for some time, Prime Minister.

May one ask why you didn't
concern yourself

somewhat earlier?

I wasn't very well
during the summer.

They didn't want to worry me

more than they absolutely
had to.

Even so, I should have realized
what was in the wind.

Hardinge tried to tell me
often enough.

Perhaps you thought that this,
uh, infatuation wouldn't last.

I certainly hoped
that it wouldn't.

But the king's appetite
for her...

her company becomes
more conspicuous every day.

Unless it is contained,

one way or another
it must burst into scandal.

Well, I'm glad you're aware
of the danger at last.

A moral scandal
we might weather.

It's a constitutional scandal
we must avoid.

So long as Mrs. Simpson
remains married,

we are more or less safe.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

And so evidence
has now been proved

of your husband's adultery.

The witnesses --
hotel staff, et cetera --

mostly live in Maidenhead.

It would therefore be convenient

if we had the case heard
at Reading.

London would be more convenient
to me.

Yes, and to me, Mrs. Simpson.

But the London courts are fully
booked for the next 15 months.

Reading assizes would be more
convenient to the witnesses.

But Reading assizes are not
taking cases of divorce.

Well, the best we can do,
if you wish to avoid delay...

I do wish to avoid delay.

...is to have the case put down
for hearing at Ipswich,

which is convenient to nobody.

That's certainly true,
Mr. Goddard.

I believe I shall have to take
a house in the area

to have the necessary
residential qualifications.

I congratulate you
on your knowledge of the law.

My knowledge of divorce,
Mr. Goddard.

Now, what I don't like about
having the hearing in Ipswich

is it makes it all seem
very back-street.

Of course I don't wish to court

On the other hand, I don't wish
to seem to be evading it.

And Ipswich makes it seem
just like that.

Ah. Here is one answer to that,
dear lady.

Allow me to present Mr.
Norman Birkett, King's Counsel.

I'm sorry to keep you both.

This is my junior, Frampton,
who will take notes.

-How do you do?

By engaging a barrister
of Mr. Birkett's reputation,

we automatically refute
any charge

of trying to do the thing
on the sly -- or on the cheap.

It's quite straightforward.

But as we all know,
some hard things may be said.

Mrs. Simpson, you're quite sure

that you want to go ahead
with this divorce?

What sort of hard things,
Mr. Birkett?

You can hardly need me to say.

After the divorce,
there's bound to be speculation.

I can only repeat what I've
already said to Walter Monckton,

who's been one of our --

one of my chief advisers
in this matter.

It's ridiculous to imagine

I have any idea
of marrying the king.

But that will not stop people
from imagining it.

Then I shall have to learn
to live in peace

with their imaginings.

If we sell arms
to the insurgents,

we shall be in trouble
at Geneva.

If we sell arms
to the government forces,

we shall annoy Mussolini
and Hitler.

What do you suggest?

We're left
with these alternatives --

either we can sell arms
to both sides,

in which case
we shall be accused

of cynical exploitation
of the Spanish Civil War,

or we can sell arms
to neither side,

the only sensible thing to do.

Am I boring you, Prime Minister?

Tiring me.


Tell me --
Have you received any letters

or other correspondence
about the king?

Yes, I have.

I've been very busy.

We may have difficulties there.

I'd be obliged
if you'd not trouble me too much

with foreign affairs just now.

What do you propose to do
about the king?

Teach him his duty?

He shouldn't need teaching

with the parents and
the upbringing that he's had.

Clearly the gravity
of your attitude is justified.

He does need teaching.

And if he won't listen?

Have you spoken to him?

I think of doing so
all the time, and I dread it.

You once said that he told you

you could always speak to him
about anything.

Perhaps this is the time
to remind him of your privilege.

Kings -- Kings like this one

do not care to be reminded
of other people's privileges.

Well, then they should remember
them of their own accord.

He conferred it.

You must exercise it.

Won't you sit down, Mr. Birkett?

Thank you.

There's no reason

why the case should not be
entirely straightforward, sir.

Yet I feel so much
for Mrs. Simpson.

It's a nasty thing
to sit and listen to.

There's something squalid
about it all.

It is the conventional way, sir.

One of the few ways of advancing
such cases.

The judge will almost certainly
award a decree nisi.

As you probably know, this means
that a definite period --

six months -- must pass before
the divorce becomes absolute.

The idea is that during
the six months,

if anyone should suspect Simpson
of collusion,

they'll have a chance to prove
it and get the divorce quashed.

Well, that all seems
quite straightforward.

Apart from anything else,
we know that Simpson

really means to marry
this woman that he was with.

No, sir. You need have no fears
for your friend Mrs. Simpson --

as far, that is,
as this case is concerned.

Very well, Max.

You propose, you said on the
telephone, to issue a statement.

A statement, Theo,
in the Evening Standard,

about Mrs. Simpson.

Now, what do you know
about Mrs. Simpson?

Well, in the ordinary way
of news-gathering, T.G.,

I know that she has commenced
divorce proceedings

against her husband,

that you are acting
as her solicitor,

and that Norman Birkett
is to be her barrister.

True so far?


And therefore,
undoubtedly, news.

What have you to add?


Indeed I'm going to subtract
from it.

The king's friend
is getting a divorce

from her faithless husband.

It is only news
if she is doing so

in order to become
yet friendlier with the king.

And what makes you think
she isn't?

We have her personal assurance

that she has no intention
of marrying the king.

So her divorce, therefore,
ceases to be news.

Do a favor to an old friend,
Max -- sleep on it.

That much of a favor, T.G.,
I will indeed do --

for an old friend.

And so, sir, I suggest you
get in touch with Beaverbrook

and propose a compromise.

Send for him, sir,

and make it quite clear
that while you have no desire

to stop his reporting
the proceedings in court,

you ask his help

in preventing any press
announcements beforehand.

Send for His Lordship,
do you think?

Well, let's say
a friendly telephone call

and I'll invite him for a drink.

Very good, sir.

After all, the barons of
the press are a formidable crew.

No, I don't want
another Runnymede on my hands.

A drink and a quiet word or two,

Well, what could be
more agreeable?

Oh, not today, sir,
if you will excuse me.

I have a raging toothache,
and I must go to my dentist.


Tomorrow I shall probably
have to spend in bed.

Then, uh, shall we say Friday?

Well, thank you, sir,
for your sympathy.

Good morning, sir.

Miss Pattie,
please ring Mr. Ernest Simpson.

Make an appointment for him
to come and see me...tomorrow.

The king asks you to excuse him,
Prime Minister.

He's just received
a telephone call

which may detain him
for some moments.

I believe he's expecting
to discuss with you

the, uh, review of the fleet.

That is what I've come for.


I'd like you, Prime Minister,

to raise another matter
with the king.

I think you know
what I'm referring to.

Prime Minister,
the day will come very soon

when you'll be forced
to intervene

in this matter of the king
and Mrs. Simpson.

Now, I beg you to address
yourself to this affair now

before you're compelled to.

As long as Mrs. Simpson
remains married, Alec,

we have a formal safeguard.

Yes, but we don't know
how long that may be.

For some time now, I have been
thinking almost continuously

of this predicament.

Prime Minister, I really do
believe it's time to act.

I had hoped that the problem
might be staved off

until after the coronation.

But --
But that's seven months away.

Even if the king were crowned,
how would that help us

if he still preserved his -- his
inclination for Mrs. Simpson?

What exactly is his inclination?

Well, I don't know its
exact extent, Prime Minister,

but it is becoming
steadily more obsessive.

You will speak with him,
Prime Minister?

Good afternoon, Mr. Baldwin.

Shall you be long,
Prime Minister?

I've received a message.

I find I must go down
to Sandringham this afternoon.

I'll not be long, sir.

It might be convenient if
Major Hardinge remained with us.

Alec, would you organize a car
for me, please,

to run me down to Suffolk?

Norfolk, sir.

Sandringham, I thought you said,

Well, what's the odds?
East Anglia.

Are you out of London for long,

Oh, no. Not for long.
Only till tomorrow afternoon.

See about that car right away,
would you, Alec?

Now, Mr. Baldwin, this review.

So sorry I have to hurry you.

EDWARD: I hope it won't be
too dreary for you

down here all alone.

WALLIS: I can always come up
to London for a day or two.


The quieter your life until
the end of October, the better.

We don't want any publicity.


But you'll come again
and see me soon?

Of course I will.

I've got to be terribly careful.

They're watching me like hawks.

They're waiting for me
to put my foot in it.

There's no doubt about it that
some of them would be delighted

to be quit of me.

Oh, David,
you must be imagining things.

They can't get rid of you.

You're much too popular.

The people love you.

Surely there can't be any harm

if you come here
to see me again --

or even stay longer now.

I can't.

I've got to be back in London
before the weekend.


See Beaverbrook, stop him
from publicizing your divorce.

Of course.

[ Sighs ]

Where to after London?

Down to the fort.

But I can come back and see you
on Monday if you like.

I'd like it very much.

I wish to God
all this was settled.

She's been my guest
on the Nahlin.

She's been my guest at Balmoral.

And now that she's to divorce
her husband,

there's notoriety,
which is distressing her.

A divorce must always cause

The notoriety
makes the distress worse.

In this case, it's due to me.

I therefore have a duty
to protect her.

Will you assist me?

In what way, sir?

In the way of reticence.

By all means,
report the divorce proceedings,

but do not anticipate them or
follow them up with speculation.

In fact, the more you could
limit publicity after the event,

the more grateful I should be.

There's bound to be
a lot of public interest, sir,

in the future of, um,
such a lady as this.

But less if you use
your influence, your power,

to discourage it.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

Good evening.

Good of you to see me,
Prime Minister.

Sorry to bother you like this
at the weekend.

There is something vital
I feel you ought to know.

What is it, Alec?

Well, a date has been fixed

for the hearing
of Mrs. Simpson's divorce --

October 27th.

I've confirmed that
with Walter Monckton.

Now, if a decree nisi is awarded
for six months,

it'll become absolute
just before the end of April,

giving the king
a chance to marry her

before his coronation in May.

Surely he can't even dream
of such a marriage.

It would destroy him.

He couldn't crowned with her.

He couldn't be crowned at all.

If, despite everything else,
the country still wanted him --

The archbishop
would not crown him.

What makes you think
he might marry?

Well, it has to be acknowledged
as a possibility.

His attachment to Mrs. Simpson

becomes more obsessive
every day.

Now, this thing can be
contained, Prime Minister,

if you insist first that Mrs.
Simpson's divorce proceedings

be dropped immediately,

and second that he should cease
to be so public

in his attentions towards her.

Now, Prime Minister,
it is absolutely essential

that you warn the king

and urge him to prevent
this divorce from going through.

I must say
I don't relish the prospect

of broaching this to the king.

Yes. Well, I can see that,
Prime Minister.

But you are the only person who
can intervene with any effect.

He must not be allowed to say
that he hadn't been warned

about the implications
of Mrs. Simpson's divorce.

I'll think it over, Alec.

Prime Minister, you really must
face up to what has to be done.

It is essential that the king
should not publicly flaunt

this association.

Now, he's going to be
at the fort until tomorrow,

which is Monday, at noon.

If you telephone him there,
you can arrange an appointment.

I wish there was some other way
to handle this matter.

Prime Minister,

if these divorce proceedings
cannot be halted immediately,

the danger to the king,
the danger to the Crown itself

will become greater every day.

[ Exhales deeply ]

Very well, Alec.

I'll do as you suggest.

I'll telephone the king
tomorrow morning.

Thank you, Prime Minister.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

-How are you?
-Very well. You?

Max is convinced, Esmond.

Now we're here to convince you.

After all, you're chairman

of the Newspaper Proprietors'

The king has asked me to help

by suppressing advance publicity
in the Simpson divorce

and in limiting publicity
after it.

The reasons he gave were
that Mrs. Simpson is ill,

unhappy, and distressed
by the thought of notoriety.

Notoriety will attach to her

only because she was his guest
on the Nahlin.

Now, as the publicity

would be due to her association
with himself,

he felt that it was his duty
to protect her.

Now, these reasons
appeared satisfactory to me.

I hope they will to you.

So we're going to suggest
to all newspapers

that they simply report
the proceedings of the court...

...and leave the matter at that.

Now, will you support me,



That's all very well,

but I was at a house party
last weekend,

and at least one person --

well qualified to know what he
was saying on the subject --

gave his opinion
that the king might, after all,

wish to marry Mrs. Simpson.

He might wish to,
but he knows that he can't.

Does he?

He seems pretty fond
of his own way to me.

Goddard has assured me

that there is no possibility
of such a marriage.

So you agree, then?

Only the bare facts of the case
to be reported.

Oh, very well.

I suppose, morally speaking,
one has to believe it.

[ Telephone rings ]

Prime Minister.

I have telephoned the king,
as you suggested, and --

Good. Shall you be seeing him
at the fort or here in London?


They say he's gone
to Sandringham.

At Sandringham,
they say he hasn't arrived yet.

Can you arrange this meeting,

I can't fiddle about
on the telephone all day.

Please make it for tomorrow,
preferably in the morning.

I'll do what I can,
Prime Minister.

Has the king arrived yet?

When are you expecting him?

Very late tonight.

Well, would you please tell him

that both the prime minister
and Major Hardinge

have been trying to contact him
on urgent business

since 9:00 this morning?

And it would be
very much appreciated

if he would communicate
with one or other of us.

[ Indistinct conversation ]

I...must get back.

Of course.

Wish I didn't have to.

David, you must go back.

You've nothing to fear.

Oh, God.

They'll all be waiting.

Alec will be buttoned up
to the chin in disapproval.

Baldwin will be fussing about
like a headmistress

on prize-giving day.

You're a match for both of them.

Remember, David --
You're the king.

Since your message said
it was urgent, Alec,

I hope I needn't apologize
for ringing you so early.


Well, what does he want?

Mrs. Simpson's divorce
is Mrs. Simpson's business.

It's not a matter in which the
prime minister can intervene.

But you may do so, sir.

Let me repeat, Alec,

that Mrs. Simpson's divorce
is Mrs. Simpson's business.

But you can at least discuss
the situation with him, sir.

With respect, sir -- with
the greatest possible respect --

you must receive
the prime minister.

Yes, he'll come to Sandringham,
today if you wish.

I would rather see him
at the fort.

No, Alec, you don't understand!

Tell Stanley Baldwin

that I shall receive him
tomorrow morning at 10:00

at the fort.

Yes, yes.


Good morning, Prime Minister.

-Nice to see you.

-Kind of you to receive me.
-Not at all.

Shall we go for a little walk
before we begin our discussion?

Do you remember, sir,
you once said

that I could always speak freely
to you about anything?

Yes, yes.

It was on the train.
I was Prince of Wales.

And now you are king, sir,

and now there is...
a lady in the case,

does what you said
still hold good?

It does.

Well, Prime Minister?

It's cold out here, sir.

I beg your pardon,
but could we go inside?

The country is in transition,

between the old age and the new.

The country
is always in transition

between one age and another.

Of course.

But you are the sovereign
we need

to see us through
this particular transition.

It's very civil of you
to say so, Mr. Baldwin.

You have all the advantages
a man can have.

You're still young.

You've had the fine example
of your father.

You're fond of your house,
your garden.

You're fond of children.

Everything about you

inclines your people to love
and trust you,

as indeed they have done
ever since you were a boy.

But the years do go on, sir, and
now you have one disadvantage.

You are not married,
and perhaps you should be.

And because you are not married,
there is rumor.

What rumor?

Not in this country so much,
but in America, in Europe,

even in the Dominions --

rumor that you are...seriously
bound to a certain lady.

It is true -- I have a friend.

Sir, do you think I might have
a whiskey and soda?

I do not find this an easy
conversation to carry on.

By all means.

Oh, please, allow me, sir.

Will you help yourself,
Mr. Baldwin?

Thank you, sir.

And you, sir?

Say when.

Thank you, Mr. Baldwin,

but I never take a drink
before 7:00 in the evening.


Of course.

During the past
three generations,

enormous respect has grown up
for the monarchy.

But if...if this kind of rumor
is allowed to do its work,

that respect could dwindle
and vanish.

It could vanish in a matter
of months or even weeks, sir.

And once gone,
I doubt if it could be restored.

What, because the king has
a friend?

You may think me Victorian, sir,
and out of date.

But I think I know
how to interpret the mind

of the British people,
and I say this --

that although standards
have got lower since the war,

it only leads people to expect
a higher standard

from their king.

People are talking, sir,

about you and this
American lady, Mrs. Simpson.

I have had many nasty letters

written by people
who admired your father

but who do not like the way
you are going on.

And now the American papers
are full of it.

Even the Chinese vernacular

The effect of this comment
in the American press

will be to sap the position of
the throne unless it is stopped.

I do not believe, sir,
that you can go on like this

and get away with it.

What do you mean by not get away
with it, Mr. Baldwin?

I think you know our people,

They'll tolerate a lot
in private life,

but they will not stand for
this kind of thing

in the life of a public figure.

Please do.

And when they read
in the Court Circular

of Mrs. Simpson's visit
to Balmoral, they resented it.

The lady is my friend.

I don't wish to let her in
through the back door,

but quite openly.

The importance of the Crown,
sir, is greater than ever before

because it is the last link
of empire.

And I am very anxious
about the effect

of this American criticism
in that respect

and its repercussions
here at home.

You are popular, sir.

But no popularity can stand
against such criticism.

I hope you would agree
that I've...

I've carried out my duties
with dignity.

I do agree, sir,
and all the more because I know

that the duties of royalty
are not much to your liking.

I know that, unlike my father,

I'm not naturally fitted
to be king.

But I have tried
to mix with my people

and to understand their problems

and, in my own way, to carry on
the duties of kingship.

I have nothing but respect, sir,

for the way that you've
carried out your public duties.

And the country would agree
with me there.

Very well, then.
What more can be said?

There is danger in this
coming divorce case, sir.

There will be gossip

during the period
before it is made absolute.

The press may feel
they have to break silence.

The press have agreed to report
the divorce in the usual way --

briefly and without comment.

But you can't keep them quiet
for long.

And when they do give tongue,

it will be a very grave
situation for the country

and an even graver situation
for you, sir.

Can you not have this divorce
put off?

Well, that is the lady's
private business.

I've no right to interfere
in the affairs of an individual.

In fact, it would be wrong

if I attempted to influence
Mrs. Simpson

just because she happens to be
the friend of the king.

If...If if you will not halt

this divorce
of Mrs. Simpson's --

I've said I've no right
to halt it.

If, then, it is to go forward...

everyone will be talking,
and sides will be taken.

There will be factions, sir.

There must not be factions.

And there will not be
if only after the hearing,

Mrs. Simpson will leave
the country for a while.

Will you ask her to go abroad
for six months?

Mr. Baldwin, for Mrs. Simpson,
England is abroad.

She is our guest,
Prime Minister.

She is my guest.

I cannot live without her.

I cannot do my job without her.

And for me, Wallis is
the only woman in the world.

Let us just agree

that you and I will settle
this matter together.

I will not have anyone

Very well, sir.

[ Engine turns over ]

He called her Wallis.

Did you ask him whether he had
any notion of marrying her?

I confined myself to the matters
of the divorce.

So you didn't mention marriage
at all.

No, but his answers
to my questions

about Mrs. Simpson's divorce
indicated that his motives

were not those of a man
who planned to marry her.

And yet he called her
"the only woman in the world."

And said that he could not live
without her.

You see, everywhere there are
doubts, Prime Minister.

If he would see me,
I could try to resolve them.

I'd be only too glad
for someone else to have a go.

If you could warn him firmly

of the dangers inherent in
the slightest idea of marriage,

I would say better for him,
better for all of us.

I only said I could try.

Although I was close
to his father,

I've hardly known this king
since he was a little boy.

I think he quite liked me then,
but time has put us apart.

Archbishop, you have the right

as well as the duty
to warn the king

that this marriage
cannot even be dreamt of.

Should not someone warn her

Well, I've spoken
with Mrs. Simpson's solicitor.

Now, he believes absolutely

that marriage is not envisaged
by the lady.

At least that's what he says.

I suppose we could send him
to her again

in the natural way of business

and get him to sound her out
more fully

to make sure she realizes

that marriage with the king
is absolutely inconceivable.

Very well.
Please do that.

And I shall ask the king
this afternoon

to receive you, Archbishop.


No, no, no, no, no.

We agreed, Mr. Baldwin,

that you and I would settle this
by ourselves.

I will not discuss Mrs. Simpson

with the Archbishop
of Canterbury, and that's flat!

You and you alone
have the right to advise me.

Then will Your Majesty accept
my advice?

Will you persuade Mrs. Simpson

to give up the divorce
proceedings against her husband?

I-I have no more right

to interfere in Mrs. Simpson's
private affairs

than the archbishop has
to interfere in mine!

Mere rumors.

They're doing him harm.

How can they be stopped?

Oh, by withdrawing your suit.

So long as you're still married
to Mr. Simpson, you cannot,

even by the wildest flight of
rumor, be married to the king.

Are you advising me to withdraw?


I'm merely warning you
what is being put about.

But I would ask you once more
to deny it.

Very well, Mr. Goddard.

Once more I repeat --

The very idea of my marrying
with your king

is in every way ridiculous.

Will that stop the rumors?


But it will reassure
the king's friends.

But how can one believe
such reassurances

when one's faced with this?

The, uh, the New York Journal,

-Ah. "King will wed Wally."

It states quite categorically

that the king will marry
Mrs. Simpson

and that after the coronation,
she'll become his consort.

At least they seem to be letting
us off having her as queen.

I wouldn't be altogether sure
of that, Archbishop.

"King Edward believes
that the most important thing

for the peace and welfare
of the world

is an intimate understanding

and relationship
between England and America."

What deplorable prose.

What a deplorable prospect.

What was that, Major Hardinge?

Uh, nothing.
Nothing, Archbishop.

"Marriage with this
very gifted lady

may help to bring about
that beneficial cooperation

between English-speaking

Oh, dear.
Oh, dear.

But after all, gentlemen,

Mrs. Simpson told me personally
only yesterday

that any idea of her marrying
with our king was ridiculous.

-Her word.

This kind of thing
can still do injury.

It does make it rather galling
for the British press,

who've agreed amongst themselves
not to say anything.

But will they stick to that?


Gentlemen, pure speculation.

I suppose others could be
tempted to speculate as well.

Any British paper which went in
for that sort of thing

would achieve
enormous circulation.

Followed by public disgust
with it and with its proprietor.

To say nothing
of the legal consequences.

We pay rather expensive lawyers
a lot of money, Walter,

to keep us on an even keel
with the law.

It is policy which is at issue.

I wonder what the advertisers
would make of it.

Too dangerous a matter
to gamble on.

I don't think you need worry
yourself for the time being.

The press is still quiescent.

The popular press, that is.

But a little bird
has whispered in my ear

that Dawson of The Times
is eager to make a statement.

What kind of a statement?

DAWSON: The Times should make
its position clear.

It should sum the known facts,

make calculations
as to the possible outcome.

Speculations, Dawson.

Therefore The Times
should provide serious comment

on the moral
and constitutional standpoints.

The only trouble is that
we at The Times are ashamed.

What, ashamed to speak?

Ashamed of the matter
of which we should be speaking.

Now, see here, Monckton.

Here's a letter
which I received today

from a British resident
of the United States.

Now, both the tone and substance
of this letter

demonstrate the disgust and
dismay at what the correspondent

has read in the American press
about the king and Mrs. Simpson.

Read it.

MONCKTON: "I am one of those
who had a deep admiration

for the present monarch
when he was Prince of Wales

and looked forward to the day
when he would bring a new vision

and a new inspiration
to the task of kingship.

In common, I fear,
with a great many others,

I have been
bitterly disappointed.

The doings of the king as
reported in the American press

have, in the course
of a few months,

transformed Great Britain

as envisaged
by the average American

from a sober and dignified realm

into a dizzy Balkan
musical comedy

attuned to the rhythm of jazz.

To the American man in
the street, Italy is Mussolini,

Germany is Hitler,
Russia is Stalin,

and for many years,
Great Britain was George V.

But the prevailing
American opinion

is that the foundations of the
British throne are undermined,

its moral authority, its honor,
and its dignity

cast into the dustbin.

To put the matter bluntly,

George V was an invaluable asset
to British prestige abroad.

Edward VIII has proved himself
an incalculable liability."

"But I cannot refrain
from saying

that nothing
would please me more

than to hear that Edward VIII
had abdicated his rights

in favor
of the heir presumptive,

who I am confident
would be prepared to carry on

in the sterling tradition
established by his father.

In my view, it would be well
to have such a change take place

while it is still a matter
of individuals

and before the disquiet
has progressed to the point

of calling in question the
institution of monarchy itself.

Yours faithfully, Britannicus
in partibus infidelium."

Well, gentlemen,

do you wonder that we
of The Times are ashamed?

What will you do?

The other papers
will take their lead from you.

I shall do whatever you wish,
Prime Minister.

I wish you to do nothing.

And we think
that the other papers

will then continue
to do nothing?

Well, Lord Beaverbrook and
Mr. Harmsworth both think so.

The risks are too great.

In any case,
they've agreed to carry nothing

beyond a factual report
of the divorce case

until and unless
they have cause to think

that they've been misinformed
about the king's intention.

And what, can anybody tell me,
is the king's intention?

If I might take that letter
to the king,

it might make him realize
that his time is running out.

Agreement or no agreement,

he can hardly expect the press
to keep silence forever.

I believe it's time
he made himself plain,

both to the kingdom
and to his friends.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

Mr. Justice Hawke.

[ Talking stops ]

Milord, I appear in this case

with my learned friend
Mr. Walter Frampton.

I call on the petitioner
at once.

Will you repeat after me --

"I swear by Almighty God

the evidence I shall give to
this court shall be the truth,

the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth."

I swear by Almighty God

that the evidence I shall give
to the court shall be the truth,

the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.

Mrs. Simpson, is your full name
Wallis Simpson?

How did this case come here?

[ Whispering ]

I see.

I've been told.


Your names are Wallis Simpson,

and you live at Beach House,


Is your London address
16 Cumberland Terrace,

Regent's Park?


And were you married
to the respondent --

The petition alleges
she lives in Bryanston Court.

She has left that address,

Were you married
to Ernest Aldrich Simpson

on July 21, 1928,

in the register office
in the district of Chelsea?

-And I believe afterwards

you lived with him
in 12 Upper Berkeley Street

in Bryanston Court in London.


Has there been any issue
of the marriage?


Did you live happily
with the respondent

until the autumn of 1934?


Was it at this time

that the respondent's manner
towards you changed?

-What was the change?

He was indifferent and often
went away alone on weekends.

-Did you complain about this?
-Yes, I did.

Did he continue to do
what you complain of --

go away alone
and stay away at weekends?


On Christmas Day 1934,

did you find a note
lying on your dressing table?


Is this the note?


Will you hand that to milord?

When did you say
she was married?

July 21, 1928, milord.

The note that's just been passed
to milord --

Was that the note you found
on your dressing table

in Christmas 1934?


You see, milord,
it is in a woman's handwriting.

That is so.

-Is it not, Mrs. Simpson?

It may be
in a woman's handwriting,

but it is not very legible.

Well, here it is typed, milord.

You'll probably find that
easier to follow.

This evidence is against nobody.

I do not understand it.

Oh. It's from a woman, milord,
to Mr. Simpson.

Did the finding of this note
cause you considerable distress?


Did you complain to your husband
at the time?

No, I did not, in the hopes that
the condition would improve.

And did it improve?


Shortly after Easter 1936,
did you receive a second letter?

Look at that.

Is that enveloped addressed
to you?

-Will you pass that to milord?

The letter inside
is to your husband,

but the envelope is addressed
to you.

Did you come to the conclusion
that the letter

was inadvertently placed
in that envelope?


After reading the contents
of the letter,

did you then consult
your solicitor?


What is the importance
of the letter?

If I may say,
with great respect, milord,

the importance of the letter
is merely historical.

She consulted her solicitors
on account of something

which could not be evidenced
in this court.

I agree, milord.

Did they report to you on the
result of their observations?


Did you subsequently
receive information

on which your petition
in this present case is based?


On July 23rd this year...

...did you write that letter
to your husband?


Will you read it out loud,

"Dear Ernest, I've just learned
that while you've been away,

instead of being on business,
as you led me to believe,

you have been staying
at a hotel in Bray with a lady.

I'm sure you realize this is
conduct which I cannot overlook

and must insist you do not
continue to live here with me.

This only confirms

the suspicions I've had
for a long time.

I am therefore instructing
my solicitors

to take proceedings
for divorce."

Do you confirm that you wrote
that letter to your husband?


Will you just look at
this hotel registration form?

In whose handwriting
is the signature on that form?

Mr. Simpson's.

Your husband?


And that is in the name
Ernest Simpson?


Thank you, milord.

Thank you, Mrs. Simpson.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

Archibald Travers, you're
employed as a floor waiter

in the Hotel de Paris at Bray.

Uh, was employed.

On July 21st last,

you were employed
as a floor waiter at the hotel?


One of the rooms in your charge
on that day was room number 4?


And was that the room occupied
by a gentleman and a lady?

Uh, yes.

Did you take in breakfast?


Where were they
when you took in breakfast?

They was in bed together.

Is there one double bed
in the room which they had

or are there two beds together?

One double bed.

On July 23rd, the following day,
you were off duty.


The room was looked after
by my relief.

On July 30th,
did you attend with your relief

at a solicitor's office
in Leadenhall Street?


Was that the lady
who was with the gentleman?


Thank you.

I now call Dante Busclia.

Mr. Busclia, you are employed as
a waiter at the Hotel de Paris.

[ Italian accent ]
Yes, sir.

Did you take in any breakfast
to room number 4 on July 23rd?

Yes, sir.

Whom did you find in the room?

A lady and a gentleman
in the bed together.

Is this the lady?

No, sir.

Thank you, Mr. Busclia.
You may step down.

Thank you.

On that evidence, I ask for
a decree nisi with costs

against the respondent, milord.

Well, I suppose
I must come to the conclusion

that there was adultery
in this case.

There is one question
which is in my mind.

I assume what is in
Your Lordship's mind.

How do you know
what is in my mind?

What is it I have in my mind,
Mr. Birkett?

With great deference, milord,

I thought Your Lordship
might have in mind

what is known as ordinary
hotel evidence,

where the lady's name
is not disclosed.

With respect, milord, I...

I thought that might have been
in Your Lordship's mind.

That is what it must have been,
Mr. Birkett.

I am glad for your help.

The lady's name is disclosed
in the petition, milord.

So I now ask for a decree nisi
with costs

against the respondent.


Costs against the respondent,
I'm afraid,

in these unusual circumstances.

So you may have it with costs.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

A decree nisi, with costs,


I suppose so.

Thank you, milord.

Thank you, Mr. Goddard.

We could hardly have hoped
for better.

Decree nisi to be made absolute
in six months.

This way.

I've had the car go 'round the
back, but we'll have to hurry.

Dogs have found.
Vixen breaks from cover.

She's coming 'round the back!

[ Indistinct shouting ]

[ Horn honking ]

Well, they've kept their word.

Only the bare proceedings.

I'm told a mob of reporters was
outside the courts at Ipswich.

King sent his own car
to carry her away.

Well, if he goes on behaving
like that...

...there'll be more
and more reporters,

and sooner or later there will
be something like this --

a cable from the embassy
in Washington

with the pick
of American headlines.

"King's moll reno'd
in Wolsey's home town."

I never knew Wolsey
came from Ipswich.

Quite a coincidence.

Wolsey had quite a lot to do
with royal intrigue

of this nature.

Life was easier for him
than it is for me, of course.

He could shut people up
in the Tower.

That's where I'd put her
if I could.

Where would you put him,
Prime Minister?


I was so delighted
to hear from Birkett

that it all went so smoothly.

Well, what about the ugly scene
as we drove away?

It won't be mentioned
in the papers?

No, I don't think so.
Very little, anyway.

I've dealt with all that.

Oh, good.

-Would you like a drink?

And, you know,
Max contacted the proprietors

of the independent papers.

They've all agreed
to keep the story to a minimum.

Oh, that's wonderful.

To celebrate my freedom, shall
we spend a quiet evening in?


David, there was an article
about us

in the New York Journal.

What did it say?

"King will wed Wally."


"King will wed Wally."

Well, will he, Wally?