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King Edward VIII had phone tapped by MI5

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Edward and Wallis Simpson

Edward and Wallis Simpson

Edward and Wallis Simpson

The security services listened in on the phone calls of King Edward VIII at the height of the abdication crisis as Whitehall desperately sought to prevent news of his imminent departure from leaking out, according to previously unseen documents.

The extraordinary revelation that MI5 was asked by the Home Secretary in 1936 to intercept all phone calls between the King and London addresses likely to include the home of Wallis Simpson underlines the sense of panic gripping Britain's governing elite at the height of the constitutional meltdown.

The top secret decision to eavesdrop on the monarch also included a request to monitor calls made from Edward VIII's stately home, Fort Belvedere, to "Continental Europe", a likely reference to the south of France where Mrs Simpson was staying at the height of the crisis in December 1936.

The previously unknown royal manoeuvrings by the security services are revealed in documents just released by the National Archives in Kew, west London.

Belfast Telegraph