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The Windsors I Knew: An American Private Secretary's Memoir of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor Nassau, Bahamas 1940-1944
Paperback - English

This memoir of an American private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor provides a rare, vivid and first-hand account of their day-to-day lives during their time as Royal Governor and First-Lady of the Bahamas during World War II. It is not based upon the second-hand accounts published after the deaths of the famous and controversial royal couple. The memoir does not portray the couple as unsupportive of British war efforts as implied in the Netflix Series "The Crown". Rather, Jean D. Hardcastle-Taylor (nee Drewes) actually lived with the former British King and his American wife in Government House, Nassau, from 1940 to mid-1944. She observed her royal employers with a keen eye, and gives witness and proof of their abiding love for one another as they worked as a team (WE) to improve the living conditions of the Bahamian people while leading lead numerous projects in support of British war efforts. The author finished her 200-page original typescript about 1965 in her home in northern California, while shepherding her four children through high school. This was 20 years after she had left the Windsors in Nassau, and during a period which saw publication of many second-hand accounts of the royal couple's relationships. Most of these, particularly newspaper and magazine articles, and some books, had a loose relationship with actual facts or truth. Some were just salacious chit-chat and rumor. As she typed away over many months, she was often heard saying "I am going to set the record straight about what the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were really like". In 1968 at her eldest son's college graduation, she asked him for help in getting her work published. He said "sure Mom", but the Vietnam War and a long naval career got in the way of keeping this promise. Fortunately, Michael's wife Gloria spotted an article in the San Diego newspaper in 2009 about a large conference of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor Historical Society in nearby Coronado, where the Duchess had lived for four years (1918-1921) with her first husband, USN aviator Lt. Earl Spencer. They gathered up Jean's typescript and Bahamas-era memorabilia, and quite literally crashed the event. Michael made two presentations to the large international group and met the conference's keynote speaker, the eminent English royal historian and author Hugo Vickers, who agreed to edit the work once Michael integrated much of the author's fascinating memorabilia. The work was completed in 2016 with Hugo's expert help all along the way, and to publication that year. Hugo added his Introduction and the book's first sentence which reads, "A girl never knows how her life can suddenly change". As you may read, this was certainly true. Jean Drewes seemed destined for a job only dreamed of by most executive secretaries in 1940's New York. Tipped off about a prestigious position outside the country, she sought and landed her dream job working for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. What was it like to work for the former English King who gave up his throne to marry a twice-divorced American socialite? What was the Duke really like? What qualities did the Duchess possess to cause him to give up the Empire to marry her? How did they carry on within Government House as they managed their daily life and the social and economic challenges of a small tropical colony of the British Empire? As their private secretary, Jean Drewes and the Duchess planned and coordinated the couple's official and social responsibilities. She traveled with them in the Bahamas and their several visits to America and Canada. She was responsible for processing communications between the Duke in Nassau and his government and family in Britain during the war. In his Introduction to the book, Hugo wrote, "Here is a vivid, first-hand of their day-to-day lives. As such, it has value. Jean Drewes has observed her royal employers with a keen eye. I am sure it will be read with great interest in many corners of t

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Publication Date
22.91cm x 15.19cm x 0.91cm
Age Group
NA to NA
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About Author

Vickers, Hugo
Hugo Vickers was born in 1951 and educated at Eton and Strasbourg University. His books include "Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough; Cecil Beaton; Vivien Leigh; Loving Garbo; Royal Orders; The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; "and "The Kiss," which won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen for Non-fiction. He is an acknowledged expert on the royal family, appears regularly on television, and has lectured all over the world. Hugo Vickers and his family divide their time between London and a manor house in Hampshire.

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