The Traitor King

The Traitor King

The Traitor King
Friday 24 September 2021, 4.00pm to 4.50pm BST
Past event
Past event
Friday 24 September 2021, 4.00pm to 4.50pm BST
  • Cover of 'Traitor King'
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Exile
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Art and culture, Humanities

11 December 1936. The King of England, Edward VIII, has given up his Crown, foregoing his duty for the love of Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. Their courtship has been dogged by controversy and scandal, but with Edward's abdication, they can live happily ever after. 

But do they? Beginning his astonishing biography at the moment most turn away, bestselling historian Andrew Lownie reveals the dramatic lives of the Windsors post-abdication. A story of a Royal shut out by his family and forced into exile; of the Nazi attempts to recruit the Duke to their cause, and why the Duke, as Governor of the Bahamas, tried to shut down the investigation into the murder of a close friend. It is a story of a couple obsessed with their status, financially exploiting their position, and manipulating the media to portray themselves as victims. 

The Windsors were, in their day, the most glamorous exiles in the world, flitting from sumptuously appointed mansions in the south of France to luxurious residences in Palm Beach. But they were spoiled, selfish people, obsessed with their image and revelling in adulterous affairs. Drawing upon hitherto unexplored archives, Lownie shows how their glittering, brittle world was riddled with treachery and betrayal and why the Royal family never forgave the Duke for choosing love over duty. 



The Traitor King


Andrew Lownie (Magdalene 1981)

Image of author Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie read history at Magdalene, where he was President of the Union, before going on to take a Masters and Doctorate at Edinburgh University and returning to Cambridge as a bye-fellow at Churchill College.  

His books include biographies of the writer John Buchan, spy Guy Burgess, and the Sunday Times bestseller The Mountbatten: Their Lives and Loves

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he is President of the Biographers Club, a trustee of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. Since 1988 has run his own literary agency. 

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