Queen Elizabeth

Scandalous royal letter details how Queen’s father had affair with married lady

A 103-year-old letter reveals a royal conspiracy. It was written by the Queen’s uncle, Edward VIII, who had abdicated the throne in 1936. In it, he admits to inviting Lady Sheila Loughborough’s husband to a golf game so his brother, George VI, could get time alone with her. This occurred at Lord Loughborough’s home, Lankhills, near Winchester, Hampshire, when Edward and George came to visit. The letter, penned on June 9, 1919, became public after the owner put it up for auction.

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Old Letter Reveals Affair Between George VI and Lady Sheila Loughborough

George, nicknamed Bertie, was allegedly infatuated with Lady Sheila Loughborough, an Australian socialite. However, his father, King George V told him not to see her again. But that didn’t stop him from planning a visit to the Loughborough’s with Edward. In his letter to his lover, Freda Dudley Ward, who was married to someone else, Edward wrote,

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I simply couldn’t hit a ball at golf & Bertie beat my head off, f- him… we motored on to Winchester reaching Lankhills at 5:30. After tea I managed to lure Loughie [Lord Loughborough] away on the pretext of wanting to play a few more holes of golf on the local course, so as to give Sheilie a chance of being alone with Bertie; they said they were tired & we left them  but imagine my horror, darling, when on arriving at the links we found they were closed on Sundays!!

He continued, “However, I kept my head and took Loughie for a walk instead!” [1]

The letter was up for £2,500 at Forum Auctions in London. Simon Luterbacher, a specialist at Forum Auctions, commented on the letter, saying,

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A bit of sibling solidarity was at play as they tried to get George alone with Lady Loughborough. It was a bit conniving on their part, and it is unusual to find a letter which goes into such personal detail. The brothers clearly had a strong bond at the time, but this would change in later years with the abdication.” Keep in mind, the abdication took place in 1936 and George VI married Queen Elizabeth’s mother in 1923. 

Read: Prince Charles Stood by the Palace Window and Wept Over His Broken Dreams the Night Before Marrying Diana, Says Author

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The End of the Affair

Edward, the Prince of Wales, who then became King Edward VIII, had abdicated to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. Their relationship was considered scandalous at the time because she was an American divorcee, leading to Edward leaving royal life for her. 

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“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” Edward said in a radio broadcast at the time.

George and Sheila had first met in 1918 at a dance in Stafford House in London. She was good friends with Edward’s then-lover, Freda Dudley Ward, and the group allegedly dubbed themselves “The Four Do’s.” However, George and Sheila’s affair ended about a year later when King George V, the brother’s father, got wind of it. He offered to make George the Duke of York on his birthday if he stopped seeing Sheila. Their romantic relationship ended, however, the two stayed in contact. [2]

Read: Prince Charles Wants Duchess Camilla To Have Title Of ‘Queen’ — But His Sons Don’t Agree

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The 70-Year Reign of Queen Elizabeth

Then, in 1923, George married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and Queen Elizabeth was born to them in 1926. When George died in 1952 of lung cancer, Elizabeth succeeded the throne at the age of 25. Today, at the age of 95, she has reigned for 70 years.

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As we mark this anniversary, I am pleased to renew the pledge I made in 1947, that my life would be wholly devoted to your service,” she wrote in a hand-signed message published for this anniversary, and signed with “your servant Elizabeth R.” [3]

In the meantime, Sheila divorced Lord Loughborough. She married twice after, to Sir John Milbanke and Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich of Russia. Her popularity as a socialite may be the source of the Australian phrase “a good-looking sheila.” She passed away in 1969, later becoming the subject of Robert Wainwright’s biography Sheila: The Australian Beauty Who Bewitched British Society in 2014.

Keep Reading: When Diana Was Stripped of Her Royal Titles, 15YO William Promised Her “I Will Give It Back to You One Day When I Am King”

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Sources

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  1. “How Queen Elizabeth’s Uncle Helped Her Father Have an Affair with a Married Woman.” People. Stephanie Petit. January 28, 2022
  2. “Scandalous royal letter reveals how Queen’s father had affair with married lady.Mirror. Matthew Dresch. January 28, 2022
  3. “Queen Elizabeth II, At 95, Celebrates 70 Years On The Throne And Prepares Transition.Forbes. Cecilia Rodriguez. February 8, 2022
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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