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Duke, Duchess, And Füfchrer

June 2024
1min read

Oursler, Sr.’s clandestine visit was not the last time FDR heard reports about Windsor’s pro-Nazi leanings, as a couple of notes in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library attest. In 1941 Harry Hopkins, the President’s best friend and closest adviser, tried to shock FDR out of extending his fondness for European royalty to the Windsors, whose ambivalence about a British victory he detested. “Mr. President,” he wrote succinctly, “Here is a copy of a letter I received from Swope about your friends the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.” Attached was an April 21 letter from the great newspaperman Herbert Bayard Swope:

PERSONAL —Dear Harry:

“This is straight. It can be relied upon:

“The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are, by some who know, listed among the appeasers. When they come here they see that type, especially at Palm Beach. Capt. Alastair Mackintosh and Eric Loder (both English, and both away from duty) were their hosts, and they were received by Charlie Munn, Mona Williams and others of that group which properly can be called pro-Nazi.

“Why are the Windsors permitted over here so often? I think The Boss might well suggest that they stay away. After all, they have been shunted to Nassau to get them out of Britain’s way; they should not be permitted to interfere here.

“Personally, from inquiries I have made, I have no doubt that the Duke stands very well with the Nazis. He might be returned to the throne if the impossible of an English defeat were to be achieved.

“Affectionate regard.

“Faithfully, “H.B.S.

“P.S. I need not tell you this letter is animated by the belief that, in directing your attention to the situation, I am doing a public good.”

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