The Brownlow family who owned Belton House were connected to the Royal family through close service for several generations. Peregrine Adelbert Cust – Perry Brownlow – is the most notable of these.
In 1936 he was involved in the Abdication Crisis.
Peregrine had moved in Edward, Prince of Wales’s, circle for several years staying at Fort Belvedere with his first wife. In turn the Prince of Wales would have also stayed at Belton, often along with Wallis Simpson.
Certainly Perry Brownlow would have known of their affair. His friendship with Edward was so close when Edward succeeded the throne in January 1936, Perry was appointed Lord-in-waiting and would have spent considerable time in the Prince’s company.
Therefore, because Perry was a close friend of the King’s, when rumours of Edward’s intent to marry Wallis Simpson became known, the Royal Family and its advisers turned to Perry, begging him to persuade King Edward against the notion.
Perry tried to persuade the King to let Wallis Simpson live at Belton, near Lincoln, far enough from London for the affair to remain more discreet and close enough for Edward to keep in contact with her.
However this was not to be, on 3rd December 1936 the crisis was aired in the British press and the next day the Government announced that it would not tolerate Wallis Simpson as the wife of a King.
It was Perry Brownlow who took Wallis Simpson away from Britain, to Cannes, to escape public scrutiny.
In Cannes Perry pressured Wallis to give Edward up and she did agree to and issued a statement on 7th December 1936 confirming this: Perry advised her on the wording of this. But the king would not let her go and abdicated on 10th December 1936.
Consequently, due to his close connection with King Edward, and his inability to prevent the abdication, Perry Brownlow was cut by the royal family. The King’s mother would not speak to him.
In the picture of King Edward VIII’s coronation above Lord Perry Brownlow is the one on the right by the railing. You can see the dress he wore on that day on the bed behind the picture.
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