Long before Wallis Simpson entered Edward VIII’s life and created havoc for the Royal family there was Marguerite Meller. Marguerite or Maggie was the French mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales during World War I. Their affair was full of excitement and was quite the learning experience for Edward. Sumptuous and passionate love letters passed through each other’s hands documenting their unknown tryst.
Six years after her dalliance with Edward – Maggie, now known as Princess Fahmy Bey, shot her husband, an Egyptian prince, dead at the Savoy Hotel. Facing murder charges Maggie was desperate to save her life. Using the love letters from the prince she blackmailed the Royal family by threatening to expose her love affair with Edward.
Edward VIII’s Murderous Mistress is based on a book written by historian Andrew Rose. After a decade of research Rose suggests that historically Maggie did not exist. Rose said, “I spoke to six well-known writers on royalty – I think I can name Philip Ziegler, because he’s written Edward’s official biography – but he’s the only one that actually makes any mention of Maggie at all.”
Rose continued, “We think there are about 20 letters which are widely indiscreet. He’s said things about the conduct of the War that might have been misinterpreted, he’s made rude remarks about his father, and there’s commonly a sexual content in them as well. They are not the kind of letters that she would have wanted the world to know about.”
So is this tale of murder, blackmail and Royal scandal real? How far did the Royal establishment go to cover up a brewing scandal and save a woman’s life?
Edward VIII’s Murderous Mistress airs on Channel 4 Tuesday, April 23rd.