The medals awarded to a royal chauffeur who drove King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis have gone on sale for £1,800.

William Figg, a former stable boy from Ashendon (Buckinghamshire), learned to drive the first electrical cars in 1904 to transport the royals.

He was a close friend with Edward’s mother, Queen Mary, and served as her personal driver for over thirty years. He also drove Wallis Simpson to the Prince of Wales in the early stages of their controversial romance.

This meant that he was aware about the courtship long before it became publicly known. In 1936, the royal dramatically abdicated his throne to marry the divorcee after 11 months.  

In 1966, Mr. Figg was 86. His collection of four medals including his Royal Household Faithful Service award medal went under the hammer at London-based auctioneers Dix Nonan Webb next Wednesday.  

The medals awarded to a royal chauffeur who drove King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis have gone on sale for £1,800. William Figg's medal group consists of the Royal Household Faithful Service Medal; Coronation 1911; Jubilee 1935; The Royal Victorian Medal.

The medals awarded to a royal chauffeur who drove King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis have gone on sale for £1,800. William Figg’s group of medals includes the Royal Household Faithful Service Medal and Coronation 1911; Jubilee 1934; The Royal Victorian Medal.

William Figg preparing to chauffeur Queen Mary

Edward and Wallis Simpson on their wedding day in 1937

Left, William Figg preparing to chauffeur Queen Mary. Right, Edward Simpson and Wallis Simpson during their 1937 wedding.

Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII: A scandal which rocked a nation 

January 1931After being introduced by Lady Furness, Wallis meets Prince Edward in January 1931.

1931-34– The American divorcee meets the heir to throne regularly at different parties

August 1934After joining Edward on a cruise, Wallis says Edward and she are more than just friends.

January 1936 – King George V dies. Edward asks Wallis if he can join him from St. James’s Palace for the proclamation announcing his accession.

August 1936– The couple enjoys a cruise on the Adriatic Sea with their friends. American media report on their relationship.

December 11, 1936Edward announces his abdication

June 3, 1937– The couple wed in the south of France. Wallis was known informally as the Duchess and Duchess of Windsor. However, her husband was not permitted to share the title of ‘Royal highness’.

Queen Mary praised Mr. Figg for his ‘fine driving to Balmoral with electric Broughams’. In 1936, he was retired and lived in Kennington, South London, on an estate of the Duchy of Cornwall. 

He was there with his wife at Queen Mary’s funeral in 1953.

The archive, which was consigned by a private collector also contains letters to Mr. Figg from the Royals as well as photos of him driving Queen Mary.

A spokesperson for Dix Noonan Webb said that Figg was made official Chauffeur of Queen Mary after Oscar Humphrey was appointed Head Chauffeur of King George V.

‘He was the Chauffeur to Queen Mary from 1936 until the death King George V. He drove many members of the Royal family, including the King, but he held that position.

‘He also drove King Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, while he was courting Mrs Simpson. He was well aware of his clandestine meetings before they became public.

“He drove King Edward many more times during the abdication crisis’s peak.”

Oliver Pepys is associate director at Dix Noonan Webb and stated: “We are very happy to be selling this Royal Victorian Medal group (RVM) of four belonging to William George Figg.

“Although he started out as a stableboy but he embraced new technology and went on to have an impressive career in the Royal Household. He was a part of some of key historical moments of the first half century.

His medal group includes: The Royal Household Faithful Service Medal; Coronation 11; Jubilee 35; The Royal Victorian Medal.

The sale will take place on November 10.

Edward was made Duke of Windsor by his brother, the new King George VI. This gave him the title of His Royal Highness.

Edward was unhappy with the King’s decision not to issue Letters Patent to Wallis after their marriage and their decision to settle in France.

Edward was granted a tax-free allowance by his brother, which helped him and Wallis to continue their lavish lifestyle. He also made money illegally trading currency. 

Mr Figg (circled) drove electric Broughams and was praised by Queen Mary for his 'fine driving to Balmoral'

Mr. Figg (circled), drove electric Broughams, and was praised for his ‘fine driving towards Balmoral’ by Queen Mary.

Queen Mary is seen above playing hostess to her son when he visited her in 1945, eight years before her death at the age of 85

Queen Mary is seen playing hostess for her son in 1945, eight years prior to her death at 85.

The solemn King Edward VIII giving his abdication broadcast to the nation and the Empire, on December 11th, 1936

On December 11, 1936, the solemn King Edward VIII abdicated and broadcast his abdication to the nation as well as the Empire.

The difficult relationship Edward had with his family following his abdication was well-reported in Peter Morgan’s Netflix drama The Crown.

One month after George’s coronation, Edward married Simpson at the Château de Candé in Monts, France. Four months after their marriage, they visited Germany as Hitler’s guest.  

King George, a wartime monarch, enjoyed a huge popularity and became a figure of stability despite his speech impairment and reputation for being unprepared.

His decision to stay in London during the Blitz, which brought down the capital’s bombs, was a boon for his reputation.   

George died in 1952 from ill health, leaving Elizabeth, 25, to become Queen. This spell has seen Elizabeth become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.  

Love letter from Edward VIII to his OTHER mistress Freda Dudley Ward moaning about ‘pompous’ royal life sells for £7,000 

A love letter from Edward VIII which reflects his disenchantment with life as a royal, years before he met Wallis Simpson, has sold at auction for £7,117.

The four-page letter, written by the then-Prince of Wales in 1919, aged 25, fetched almost 12 times its pre-sale estimate of £400 to £600.

It was purchased by a UK-based telephone bidder who requested to remain anonymous at Cheffins auctioneers, Cambridge today.

Edward wrote the letter while on board HMS Renown, which was taking him on a royal tour through Canada, to Freda Dudley Ward his mistress. 

Pictured: The love letter from Edward VIII which was sent to Freda Dudley Ward and reflects his disenchantment with life as a royal, years before the constitutional crisis over Wallis Simpson

Pictured: Edward VIII’s love letter to Freda Dudley Ward. It reflects his disenchantment about life as a monarch, years before the constitutional crisis involving Wallis Simpson

Their affair continued to 1934, but it ended when Edward was involved with Mrs Simpson, an American socialite. He met Mrs Simpson in 1930.

From January 1936 to December 1936, Edward was king. He then abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson, a divorcee.

Charles Ashton, a Cheffins director, stated that Edward’s 1919 letter addressed to Mrs Dudley Ward provides a glimpse into his ‘disenchantment’ with his life as a monarch.

Edward refers to speeches that he had made in his letter. He writes: ‘What do I think about all this official willk and these cornie pompous tricks? I’ve made no less then 7 speeches today.

He described Robert Borden, the Canadian prime minister, as “such a stick, deadly dull except for re politics, and I can’t deal with him on that topic.”