Suffolk couple’s royal collection to be sold at auction

The story of Edward VIII, the king who gave up the crown for love, has fascinated historians and romantics for decades.

Now a north Suffolk couple's collection of rare medals and personal items belonging to the late Duke of Windsor is going to be auctioned in London.

Neville and Brenda Ebsworth, who lived in Southwold, were keen collectors and shared a passion for anything relating the the king, who caused a constitutional crisis when he abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Their unique collection, which includes letters, pamphlets and postcards, will go under the hammer at Sotheby's in London on Thursday.

Among the lots are a rare portrait plaque dated 1937 but which was actually produced prior to Edward VIII's abdication and is inscribed Edward The Eighth 1937, one of only 30 plaques ever made.

Other rare items include a gold medal which is thought to relate to Edward's visit to Brazil in 1931 and even an envelope in the then Prince Edward's handwriting addressed to Mrs Dudley Ward, one of the Prince's mistresses, sent from Peru in 1931.

There is also a signed portrait of the Prince in Naval uniform, and another of him in the uniform of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. A bronze statuette of the Prince in the uniform of the Welsh Guards, by the well-known sculptor Sidney March, is estimed to reach between �400 and �600.

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Their granddaughter Jo Watson-Hopkinsons said: 'My grandfather started to write a diary of Edward's life from the day he was born on June 23, 1894. It records Edward's life and where he travelled, and the objects in the collection, which I catalogued after my grandfather's death, are matched to it. After he retired, the diary became his life's work but sadly it remains unfinished.'

As well as collecting for their own pleasure, Mr and Mrs Ebsworth shared space in an antiques shop in Beccles until the early 1990s. Mrs Ebsworth died in 1997 and Mr Ebsworth died in July last year. Their collection of Edward VIII memorabilia is expected to reach between �15,000 and �20,000.

• Viewing is from Mondayy to Wednesday, from 10am to 4.30pm, at Morton and Eden's offices in Maddox Street, London. For more information, contact the auctioneers on 020 7493 5344 or email

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