William and Kate want to move to be closer to the Queen, but past events at Fort Belvedere, their potential new residence, almost ended the monarchy years ago after a dramatic love affair
Image: Matt Porteous/REX/Shutterstock)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are planning a move to Berkshire to be nearer the Queen.
Prince William and wife Kate have been looking for a new home after deciding to leave London behind with their family.
This means they are looking to vacate their incredible 20-room apartment within Kensington Palace to live in the Berkshire Countryside.
Sources have confirmed two most likely options for the Cambridges and their three young children – Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, seven and Prince Louis, two – are Adelaide Cottage or the vastly impressive Fort Belvedere, also on the Windsor estate.
But Fort Belvedere has a shocking past, which almost saw the end of the monarchy in what is still to this day the biggest royal scandal to rock The Firm.
In 1929, Fort Belvedere became vacant, and was given to Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, by his father, George V.
During Edward’s occupancy, extensive renovation of the interior and grounds was carried out.
He built a swimming pool at the fort between 1931 and 1932, that replaced an old lily pond, and added a tennis court and developed stables in the grounds of the fort.
Edward added modern conveniences at the fort, many of which were still rare in British homes, including bathrooms adjacent to nearly every room, a steam-room, showers, built-in cupboards and central heating.
The dramatic and shocking relationship between Edward and Wallis Simpson blossomed at Fort Belvedere.
Wallis Simpson, a two-time divorcee, and Edward met and fell in love, and what followed was mass scrutiny and a media berating that led to their eventual exit from England and royal duties, which almost led to the end of the monarchy as we know it.
The couple spent their first weekend at the fort at the end of January 1932, and by early 1935 two rooms had been combined at the fort for her use.
In 1936 Wallis moved permanently to the fort after receiving threatening anonymous letters, and left Fort Belvedere for the final time on 3 December 1936, a week before Edward’s abdication.
Following opposition to the potential of Edward’s marriage to Wallis Simpson from the British government and autonomous Dominions of the British Commonwealth, the fort became the final setting of Edward’s abdication as king.
He held several meetings with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin at Fort Belvedere during the crisis, and on 10 December 1936 signed his written abdication notices at the fort, witnessed by his three younger brothers: Prince Albert, Duke of York (who succeeded Edward as George VI ); Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester; and Prince George, Duke of Kent.
The following day, it was given legislative form by special Act of Parliament: His Majesty’s Declaration of Abdication Act 1936. He retained the visitor’s book from the fort, and it was used at all the subsequent homes he and Wallis Simpson would share.
In 1977 the fort was used extensively for the filming of ‘Edward & Mrs. Simpson’, an ITV serialization of Edward and Wallis’s relationship.
A source said: “Of course the Cambridges would have first refusal on any of the royal homes they may wish to live in.”
Let’s hope that if William and Kate move there, that their time living at Fort Belvedere is less dramatic.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.