In 1945, on this day Edward and Wallis Windsor boarded the Benson class destroyer MacKenzie at Naval Station Norfolk and were escorted back to Blighty courtesy of the US Navy.
The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed & Chris OakleyHis controversial decision to wed the American divorcée had triggered an Abdication Crisis which the British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller had exploited to his own ends. But his eight year usurpation as combined Head of State and Government had ended days earlier with his suicide in the smoking bombed-out shell of a bunker in Downing Street.
The victorious American GIs who had won this hard fought victory over totalitarianism would not perish in a Third World War against the Soviet Union. Because instead, a non-combat Cold War would develop, and for that, the US Government desperately needed to build bulwarks to contain Communism. And that objective required figureheads that could lead the rebuilding of vanquished, friendly nations.
To serve this overarching imperative, a decision was made to temporarily re-instate Edward as Prince Regent and of course the White House had no moral hang-ups over addressing an American divorcée as "Her Royal Highness". A few months later and for much the same reasons it was decided to leave Emperor Hirohito of Japan on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Both monarchs would prove unexpectedly resilient and continue to rule into the nineteen seventies. Despite the expedient success of this scheme, there was of course no small irony in the fact that a powerful nation driven by Republican ideals had underwritten such monarchist regimes when even Hiller had risen to power through the operation of democratic processes.
But the new masters of Western Europe would face a much bigger challenge in Spain, were much larger popular objections existed to the continued rule of the Royal Family. Because the defeat of Franco had required the nuclear destruction of the city of Madrid, and Communist forces were now on the very cusp of seizing power...
You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.