An album of photographs showing the Duke of Windsor meeting high-ranking Nazis on a trip to Germany in 1937 is set to go on sale at auction.
Described as ‘astonishing and chilling’ by Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorset, the album includes pictures of the former king meeting Adolf Hitler himself.
‘More than 60 photos detail the official visits that the Duke went on with his new wife Wallis Simpson, who was the cause of the abdication crisis the previous year,’ states the Dorchester-based auction house where album goes on sale on 10 March.
Compiled by the Duke of Windsor’s equerry, Sir Dudley Forwood, many of the images are believed to be previously unseen.
Commenting on the historical significance of the album, Timothy Medhurst, an expert from 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.’
The images document trips to a mine, a light-bulb factory and a school, for example.
According to Forwood, who died in 2001, the trip to Germany was arranged to allow the Duke’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’.
The album, along with Forwood’s invitation to the funeral of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986, is expected to fetch £500-£1,000.
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.’