A calendar entry written in Latin on a date that has resoundingly resonated in history was one of the many things I found.

It is ‘Finis’ and it is marked against December 11, 1936, the day that Edward VIII gave up his throne for the love of American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

This was how the former king’s devoted manservant recorded both the tragedy of the Abdication and his own repugnance, with a solitary word meaning ‘the end’.

Horace Jack Crisp was the writer. He served as valet to Edward, the future Prince of Wales, and Page to Edward, the Duke of Windsor, from 1919 to that night in December when Edward went into exile. This occurred amid constitutional crises that threatened the fall of the monarchy.

Now, nearly 85 years later, Crisp’s intimate notes and keepsakes from his years of palace service — he later worked for both George VI and the Queen Mother — have been unearthed. These documents shed new light on this fascinating chapter in royal history.

The documents provide a fascinating insight into below-stairs morality at the time, and the respect shown by royal workers to them.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor pictured in 1937, the year after his abdication. Edward VIII gave up his throne for the love of American divorcee Wallis on December 11, 1936

The 1937 year following his abdication, this is the picture of Edward VIII and his wife Duchess. Edward VIII gave up his throne for the love of American divorcee Wallis on December 11, 1936

Horace Jack Crisp (pictrued in uniform) worked as valet and page to the former Prince of Wales and future Duke of Windsor from 1919 until that December night when Edward sailed into exile

Horace Jack Crisp, pictrued in uniform, served as valet/page to Edward the Great from 1919 until his December escape.

For 17 years, Crisp was the most steadfast of Edward’s employees. He remained faithful even when the others refused to accept Mrs Simpson’s bullying.

Until the end, that is, when, to Edward’s naive astonishment, Crisp informed him that he would not be accompanying him to France, only hours before the king was due to abandon the crown and set sail from Portsmouth for a new life across the Channel.

Crisp’s only comment, uttered years later, was: ‘He gave up his job, I gave up mine.’

He was there at Fort Belvedere, the turreted folly in Windsor Great Park that was Edward’s retreat, for the last hours of the king’s 11-month reign. And, as this treasure trove of memorabilia reveals, it was where he witnessed and took a copy of his master’s last signature as King-Emperor.

That signature was the one the king used on his instrument of Abdication, signing away his rights to the throne because he could not marry ‘the woman I love’, as he declared in his broadcast to an astonished nation.

Auctioneers Spink will be selling the 18-lot collection tomorrow. It also shows that it was sometimes difficult for him to button his lips.

Against the diary entry for August 1936 in which he noted ‘Nahlin trip’ — a reference to the king’s louche sailing holiday with his mistress — Crisp added a one-word verdict: ‘Rotten.’

The backdrop for the Mrs Simpson case was that seven-month-old Edward had succeeded on the throne.

The new King and his love embarked upon a long cruise across the Adriatic on the 250ft Nahlin, a chartered white-hulled yacht (now owned Sir James Dyson, a vacuum cleaner tycoon).

Stanley Baldwin and his British government were horrified when they swam with Nazi leaders, consumed large quantities of alcohol, and made quite a show of it all. The discovery of the Crisp collection by royal commentators reveals the irony of being a servant to a king that even his father had feared would lead to a ruinous monarch.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson during their 1936 Adriatic cruise in the yacht Nahlin. That holiday was the backdrop to the Mrs Simpson affair

Edward VIII, Wallis Simpson and their 1936 Adriatic cruise on the yacht Nahlin. The backdrop for Mrs Simpson’s affair was that holiday.

It was on board the chartered, white-hulled, 250ft yacht Nahlin (pictured above, now owned by vacuum cleaner tycoon Sir James Dyson) that the new king and his lover embarked on an extended cruise around the Adriatic

On board Nahlin (pictured above and now owned by Sir James Dyson), the newly crowned king embarked on a lengthy cruise around the Adriatic.

Against the diary entry for August 1936 in which he noted ¿Nahlin trip¿ ¿ a reference to the king¿s louche sailing holiday with his mistress ¿ Crisp added a one-word verdict: ¿Rotten'

Against the diary entry for August 1936 in which he noted ‘Nahlin trip’ — a reference to the king’s louche sailing holiday with his mistress — Crisp added a one-word verdict: ‘Rotten’

Philip Ziegler, the distinguished official biographer of Edward VIII, said: ‘Mrs Simpson was disliked very much by the staff. She didn’t remember their names nor did she bother to learn them. The king had a great relationship with his staff especially the juniors. He always remembered their names. He was a very tiresome man but he was a good employer, unlike his wife.’

Crisp, he adds, was an important member of the king’s staff.

Crisp, a Norfolk-born man, was enshrined in the royal service. Thomas was his father and Mark was Mark’s brother.

But the relationship between a prince and his valet — the last person he sees at night and the first each morning — is one of the closest in royal service.

The role was one that Prince Charles would later take up as his valet. Michael Fawcett became Prince Charles’s most trusted member of staff while working as his valet.

Crisp joined Edward’s household at the age of 18 and it is clear from the affectionate notes and gifts his employer bestowed on him — now being sold — that the king thought highly of his servant. At least the feelings were mutual. In the 1930s the prince was involved in a string of affairs, usually with married women. Wallis Simpson was introduced by Lady (Thelma Furness), one of his affairs.

‘Be sure to look after him,’ Lady Furness said as she left for a trip to New York. ‘Of course, darling, I will,’ said Wallis. And she did — so well that she took the prince away from Thelma.

Before meeting Wallis, Edward — known as David to the Royal Family — was an unconventional prince who didn’t like to waste time. Crisp once estimated that his master could undress, bathe and ‘be on the way downstairs in tails and Garter star within three minutes’ and needed minimal attention from his manservants.

But all that changed when the twice-married Mrs Simpson entered the king’s life. It was her goal to keep them busy. Crisp remembered how Crisp used to walk from Fort Belvedere room to room, snapping the tips of any pencil she found, in an effort create work for her staff.

Crisp was made Page of the Presence in 1936. He succeeded Frederick Finch who had left after an argument with Mrs Simpson. Crisp refused to make cocktails with ice, and so he packed up his bag.

A post-abdication leter from former King Edward VIII to his valet. It begins: 'I was glad to see you again at Frogmore last Saturday, and wish to thank you for the good care you have taken of all my clothes and personal belongings stored there during the war'

The former King Edward VIII’s post-abdication leaver to his valet. The letter begins with: “I was pleased to see you at Frogmore on Saturday and would like to thank you all for taking good care of my clothing and other personal effects stored there during wartime.”

Relics of royal service: Among the lots to be auctioned tomorrow are an inscribed silver cigarette case given to his valet at Christmas (complete with signed gift tag)

The auction will feature a number of relics from royal service, including an inscribed sterling cigarette case that was given by the Duke to his valet for Christmas.

A stick pin bearing the Prince of Wales feathers, also given as a gift, will be among the 18-lot collection to be auctioned tomorrow

A stick pin bearing the Prince of Wales feathers, also given as a gift, will be among the 18-lot collection to be auctioned tomorrow

Despite finding her ‘simply appalling’, Crisp remained faithful to the king. It was only when told by Edward to pack his things for the Continent that he refused a royal command for the first time: ‘Sorry, but I’m not. I’m staying in England and will be leaving your service when you leave the Fort.’

Within a day of the Abdication, Crisp transferred to the new king’s staff as senior page. Then, following George VI’s premature death in 1952, he became Page of the Backstairs and Steward of the Queen’s Mother’s household at Clarence House, before retiring to Newbury, where he died in 1985.

Although his decorations — he received one of only two Royal Victorian Medals issued during the brief reign of Edward VIII — were sold 23 years ago, his royal souvenirs remained unseen, locked away in a heavy leather suitcase.

These include inscribed silver cigarettes cases, tiepins with Prince of Wales feathers, and engraved picture frames. Edward also hand-wrote gift tags. There are also signed copies of both the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s memoirs.

Other items include Crisp’s meticulously kept inventories of the former king’s possessions that were stored at Frogmore following the Abdication, and notebooks with 39 separate lists of his ceremonial outfit and clothing for every occasion, right down to the number of Aertex vests.

The dramatic events of 1936, starting with the death of George V, are annotated on a calendar divided into sections — morning, afternoon and evening. They plot Edward’s transformation from prince to king to exile.

Crisp knew there would be more drama. Crisp was serving in duty when Princess Margaret left her beloved for Group Captain Peter Townsend in Battle of Britain in October 1955. He served the couple sherry at Clarence House’s ground floor salon as they discussed the future.

Crisp, who is quiet and upright, never talked about the secrets he learned behind palace walls. A sign of just how well he was regarded by the Royal Family came at the servants’ Christmas ball at Buckingham Palace in 1950.

It was the faithful manservant who refused to cross waters with his ex-boss, and was then chosen by her to do the Veleta.