Bonnier Books UK has acquired a "timely and explosive" new book from Andrew Lownie, which will uncover revelations and history of the royal family through the lens of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Matt Phillips, publisher at Blink and John Blake, acquired UK Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, for Traitor King: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor In Exile from Bill Hamilton at A M Heath.
In Traitor King, Lownie will examine the years following the abdication of Edward VIII when the former king was kept in exile, feuding with his family over status for his wife, Wallis Simpson, and denied any real job. The author will draw on extensive research of unused archives and freedom of information requests, and make the case that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were not the naïve dupes of the Germans but actively intrigued against Britain in both war and peace, says the publisher.
Ultimately, the book will reveal the true story behind the German attempts to recruit the Duke as a British Pétain; the efforts, by Churchill in particular, to cover this up; the reasons why the duke, as governor of the Bahamas, tried to shut down the investigation into the murder of a close friend; and shines light on the relationship between the duke and Wallis, revealing it to be far from the love story it is often assumed to be.
Phillips said: "Andrew Lownie’s book is an intimate portrait of this powerful couple at odds with the monarchy – it’s a story of love, treachery, murder, cover-ups, vanity, sex and infidelity. The recent explosive revelations surrounding Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle have many uncanny parallels with the Windsors’ story from almost a century ago. It’s the perfect moment to be re-exploring this particular part of our national history as it throws further understanding on the themes of freedom and duty, love and family."
Lownie said: "Few books tell the story of what happened to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, after they supposedly walked into the sunset, even though Edward had another 36 years to live and his wife 50. It is a game of two halves and often assumed that all the drama was in the first. Traitor King focuses on the years following the abdication, which are arguably the more dramatic."
Lownie previously published The Mountbattens with Bonnier Books UK in 2019. It was a Waterstones Book of the Year.