A Prince in the Trenches? Edward VIII and the First World War
Recent historiography has begun to explore the ways in which the First World War challenged and destroyed contemporary 1914 European honour cultures.1 Yet, the monarchy, central to the concept of honour in British society in 1914, remains under-researched in the new cultural history of the conflict. The whole British ‘honour’ system was predicated upon the belief that ‘the Crown is the fountain of Honour’, as Lord Stamfordham, King George V’s private secretary, wrote to Lloyd George in a 1917 wartime memorandum.2 As a result, the role of the royal family during the war, their input into mobilization, combat and morale was of crucial importance as it served as a leitmotif for the cultural beliefs built around ideals of honour, for which many Britons in 1914 believed they were fighting. This chapter will explore how honour culture evolved during the war, through an in-depth examination of the role of Edward, Prince of Wales, during the conflict.
KeywordsStaff Officer Royal Family Daily Telegraph George Versus Edward VIII
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