Wind the clocks back 70 years today (a Friday) and the Duke of Windsor was on the offensive, following a robbery at his country home, in which it was reported some £250,000 worth of jewellery was stolen.
The Duke railed: “There is absolutely no truth in the published statement that the value of the jewellery was £250,000. Its value was not more than £20,000 and you can say that I said so.
“I can understand that a quarter of a million makes better reading than £20,000 but £20,000 was the value.”
Scotland Yard chased up well known thieves and ‘fences’.
The robbery took place at Ednam Lodge, Sunningdale, London on the previous Wednesday evening. Ednam Lodge was the home of the Earl and Countess of Dudley but in October 1946 they took up temporary lodgings at Claridges so the Duke and Duchess of Windsor could make a private visit to England.
It was the first return for the Duchess since 1936, when King Edward VIII abdicated to marry her and they began life in exile. It was meant to be low key, but it took three Army lorries to transport their luggage from France. One theory suggested a gang of international jewel thieves followed the Duke and Duchess from France, waiting for the right moment to pounce. It was thought one of the gang climbed a drainpipe in order to gain access to an open window. The jewels - which would be worth £13m today - were never recovered and no-one was ever caught.
In 2003, then the records were published by the National Archive at Kew, it revealed Scotland Yard did have a suspect - Arthur Charles Holmes - but could never make a strong enough case against him. It was believed he buried the jewels somewhere, fearful of selling them on... and they may still be there today.