Culture Magazine

Edward VIII: The Plot to Topple the King Sheds New Light on the Abdication, Say Critics

By Periscope @periscopepost
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson: A new drama sheds light on the abdication

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson: A new drama sheds light on the abdication. Photocredit: Channel 4

The background

The story of the abdication of Edward VIII for his love of Wallis Simpson well-represented in media:  there was the huge success of The King’s Speech; there’s also Madonna’s biopic of Simpson, W.E. Edward VII: The Plot to Topple a King is a Channel 4 docudrama that takes a different perspective on the motivations and details of the event. It chooses to focus on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, who “believed that Edward VIII’s love for Wallis Simpson made a mockery of all that he stood for and threatened the Crown and the Church of England,” said the Channel 4 website. David Calder played the Archbishop; Louise Wardle produced and directed.

The show focuses on what The Telegraph calls “the first media archbishop”. Lang exerted pressure on the editor of The Times to influence the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, to take steps towards ensuring Edward’s abdication, to be replaced by his brother Albert (who became King George VI.) Here’s what the critics think.

“One hopes that whoever succeeds Rowan Williams won’t take their inspiration from Edward VIII: the Plot to Topple a King,” said Iain Hollingshead on The Telegraph.

Tension and intrigue

What’s on TV’s website describes the documentary as “more a conspiracy thriller than a simple retelling of the facts.” This is a view shared by Lucy Mangan from The Guardian, who praises the “wonderful job” done in “recreating the passion and intrigue, as the unholy trinity bent circumstances to their will.” She describes the portrayal of the swift changing of public alliances, after the Archbishop spoke out publicly condemning Edward, as impressive: “So well did the programme capture the intensity of it all that as the credits rolled you had to shake your head a little to clear it.” The Telegraph described this speech as “a spectacularly ill-judged act of hypocrisy” that added “insult to injury” following the abdication.

New evidence

According to Metro the documentary is based on a new perspective to that shown in The King’s Speech. It takes its evidence from “unpublished diaries, personal notes and Lang’s own secret account of the abdication” which were found in Lambeth Palace.

Archbishop of animosity

The critics are united in focusing on the hostility and fervour of the Archbishop in this documentary. The Guardian describes the lengths to which Lang went to effect “a royal coup […] even suggesting that he [Edward] was deranged”: The Radio TimesAlison Graham goes further: Lang “is painted here as a shady power broker and poison-dripper.”

Could he be justified?

The Telegraph’s Iain Hollingshead says that some of Lang’s actions could be justified: ‘some of the Archbishop’s behavior could be excused as the actions of a man trying to do what he fervently thought best – not just for himself, but for the country, the monarchy and the Church,” adding that “ at least everyone from the Duke of Cambridge to Colin Firth to everyone who enjoyed The King’s Speech can be grateful for what he did.”


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • 41 Super Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

    41 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill Everyone’s looking for ways to go green and save a little green these days. A major source of expenditure for all of... Read more

    The 26 May 2015 by   Rinkesh
    ENVIRONMENT
  • Where to Go for Mini-Fitness Adventures

    The types of trips where you move from one lounge chair to another, split your time between a pool and a beach, and take afternoon naps on a hammock are what... Read more

    The 26 May 2015 by   Healthytravelblog
    HEALTH, TRAVEL
  • Wine Tourism in Portugal

    Bespoke recommendations, access to private wineries, heritage hotels, local family dinners, lunches in the middle of the vineyards, your very own personal... Read more

    The 26 May 2015 by   Nelsoncarvalheiro
    FOOD & DRINK, TRAVEL
  • HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams and Lowe's Invite You to #PaintOn

    Just as with our personal style when it comes to fashion, accessories, and now technology, we have come to expect every aspect of our lives to be customized to... Read more

    The 26 May 2015 by   Glasgow Skinner/ My Life On And Off The Guest List
    LIFESTYLE
  • Preview: Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #2 by Hernandez & Oum

    Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #2 Here’s a short, three page preview of Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam #2 by writer Vince Hernandez and artist Siya Oum, on sale June... Read more

    The 26 May 2015 by   Comicscritic
    COMIC BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT
  • Street Messages Book Release

    11 years ago Nicholas Ganz dropped Graffiti World on the book world and it became an international best seller. He’s back with another book and this one is the... Read more

    The 25 May 2015 by   Ukstreetart
    ART & DESIGN, CULTURE

Add a comment