11 December 1936. The King of England, Edward VIII, has given up his Crown, foregoing his duty for the love of Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. Their courtship has been dogged by controversy and scandal, but with Edward's abdication, they can live happily ever after.

But do they? Beginning his astonishing biography at the moment most turn away, bestselling historian Andrew Lownie reveals the dramatic lives of the Windsors post-abdication. This is a story of a Royal shut out by his family and forced into exile; of the Nazi attempts to recruit the Duke to their cause, and of why the Duke, as Governor of the Bahamas, tried to shut down the investigation into the murder of a close friend. It is a story of a couple obsessed with their status, financially exploiting their position, and manipulating the media to portray themselves as victims.

The Windsors were, in their day, the most glamorous exiles in the world, flitting from sumptuously appointed mansions in the south of France to luxurious residences in Palm Beach. But they were spoiled, selfish people, obsessed with their image and revelling in adulterous affairs. Drawing upon hitherto unexplored archives, Lownie shows how their glittering, brittle world was riddled with treachery and betrayal, and why the Royal family never forgave the Duke for choosing love over duty. 


Andrew Lownie was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was Dunster History Prizeman and President of the Union, before taking his Masters and doctorate at Edinburgh University. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former visiting fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, he has run his own literary agency since 1988. A trustee of the Campaign for Freedom of Information and President of The Biographers Club, he has written for the Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Spectator and Guardian and formerly served in the Royal Naval Reserve.

Praise for The Mountbattens:

'Impressively well-researched... a fresh and dispassionate look' - Daily Mail, biography of the year

'Dares to go where no other Mountbatten biography has gone before' - The Lady

'A complex story, beautifully written - which never felt less like a history lesson, but I learned so much' - Anne Sebba 

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 Praise for Stalin's Englishman, winner of the St Ermin’s Intelligence Book of the Year
'An abundance of vivid detail... a matchless and splendidly exciting read' The Times
'A remarkable and definitive portrait' - Frederick Forsyth 
'Shrewd, thorough, revelatory' - William Boyd 
'[Lownie] manages to convey the charm as well as the turpitude' Craig Brown 
'Exhaustively researched and absorbing book' New Statesman 
'Complicated, revelatory: a superb biography more riveting than a spy novel' Sunday Telegraph

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A Guardian Book of the Year
The Times Best Biography of the Year
Mail on Sunday Biography of the Year
Daily Mail Biography of Year
Spectator Book of the Year
BBC History Book of the Year 

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Praise for John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier

‘Admirably readable, this book will be invaluable to those who are now encountering Buchan’s work for the first time. Lownie’s lucid account of Buchan’s life redefines the
man as infinitely more complex than he thought he was.’ The Sunday Times

‘This formidably detailed study is a labour of love by a devoted Buchanite, a nuanced understanding of a figure who, for too long, has been regarded as an extension of his fictional heroes.’ The Guardian

‘Trumpets should now sound for Buchan; and I will sound one of my own for Andrew Lownie, who has brought this most extraordinary man to life in a way no previous writer has.’ The Independent

Contact Andrew



9 - Wiltshire WI

16 - Durning Library, Kennington

17 - Oxford & Cambridge Club

17 - Chalfont Festival


7 - Savile Club

9 - New Club, Edinburgh

11 - Clevedon

26 - Essex Festival


1 - Portsmouth Festival


25 - Canterbury Festival


9 - Historical Association, Taunton

Meticulously researched ― Spectator

Darkly compelling…hundreds of eye-popping details…Gripping though it is, this is an unrelentingly damning portrait of the Windsors."
― Daily Mail ‘Book of the Week’

Andrew Lownie has a remarkable ability to fashion a compelling narrative from raw archive text and personal reminiscence. His Traitor King (Blink, £25), about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and their questionable cohorts, is every bit as absorbing as his earlier history of the Mountbattens.  Andrew Lycett   Spectator Books of the Year

Lownie reveals Edward not as a dupe of the Nazis, but an active and culpable collaborator...The list of individuals interviewed and archives consulted is formidable. The more impressive then, that this is a wonderfully readable and succinct story ― BBC History Magazine

Lownie gathers convincing evidence of Edward’s collaboration with Germany and amasses a wealth of new material, including intimate details about the Duchess’s affair with American socialite James Donahue. Royal watchers will be riveted.  Publishers Weekly 

Briskly written and compulsively readable...Does Andrew Lownie persuade me that it is worth telling the story again, and that he has made out the case for his unforgiving title? The answer is an unambiguous yes. -- A.N. WilsonTLS 

A remarkably detailed and refreshingly different outlook on their lives 

― Salisbury Journal

This is a page-turner of a biography. Andrew Lownie draws revealing insights from his diligent research…This compelling biography disabuses the reader of any romantic notions once held, not least initially by Churchill, about Edward. Lownie paints a devastating portrait of the duke and duchess…this biography is a timely point of comparison when set against the ongoing trials and tribulations of the House of Windsor…a cautionary tale of a royal whose behaviour, values and standards squandered the respect, loyalty and pride of the people he was call upon to serve. ― The Tablet

Thoroughly researched and compelling narrative of one of the most controversial periods in royal history  Andrew Morton

Urgent reading for royals  Marcus Field Evening Standard

Tremendous. Just when you thought there was nothing new to reveal on the subject! A must read.' Dr Liam Fox MP

This “explosive new royal biography” (front-cover blurb) by the highly regarded author of books about Guy Burgess and the Mountbattens,.. a biographer as serious and scholarly as Andrew Lownie …Lownie gives heft to George Orwell’s famous observation that the England of that time was a family, but one “with the wrong members in control” Times 'Book of the Week'

Andrew Lownie does not pull his punches. His well researched biography
of the former Edward V111, before and after hisabdication, will shock even the most loyal royalist. Sir Christoher Ondaatje

Meticulously researched and with so much new material on one of the most controversial Royals of the 20th century. Lownie reveals shocking new aspects to the life of Edward, Duke of Windsor, and firmly placed the Duke as a traitor to his country Helen FryAspects  of History: Books of 2021

Viewers of 'The Crown' & anyone interested in period will love it. 

Amazon reviewer

A must read for anyone interested in Royal or WW2 history Amazon reviewer

Now also available in paperback