A photo album that shows the Duke of Windsor meeting Adolf Hitler on a trip to Germany in 1937 has outstripped expectations by raising more than five times its pre-auction estimate.
How we reported the upcoming sale last month
The ‘astonishing and chilling’ album bowed out for £5,600 at Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorset yesterday.
Compiled by the Duke of Windsor’s equerry, Sir Dudley Forwood, many of the 60 images were said to be previously unseen.
As we reported last month, the photos detail the Duke of Windsor’s official visits with his new wife Wallis Simpson, who was the cause of the abdication crisis the previous year.
The lot, which had been expected to fetch £500-£1,000, included Forwood’s invitation to the Duchess of Windsor’s funeral in 1986.
Speaking before the sale, Timothy Medhurst, an expert at Duke’s, said: ‘It is a unique piece of history compiled at a time when the Nazi war machine was preparing for European conquest and the systematic slaughter of millions of people.’
According to Forwood, who died in 2001, the trip to Germany was arranged to allow the Duke of Windsor’s wife to experience a state visit, rather than to support the Nazi regime.
In one caption, Forwood wrote that the school was set up ‘to teach the young Germans to become true Nazis. It is run on the lines of an English public school with every type of facilities for games’.
On a visit to a concentration camp that appeared to be deserted, Forwood wrote: ‘We saw this enormous concrete building, which I now know contained inmates. The Duke asked: “What is that?”
Our hosts replied: “It is where they store the cold meat.”
‘In a horrible sense, that was true.’