Love letter from The Prince of Wales sells for over £7000

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Edward's 1919 letter to Freda has just sold at auction. (PA)

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.

Then then Prince of Wales wrote the four page letter to his mistress, Freda Dudley Ward, in 1919 when he was 25. The missive was bought by a UK-based telephone bidder, who asked to remain private, at Cheffins auctioneers in Cambridge on Thursday, reaching almost 12 times its pre-sale estimate of £400 to £600.

When she received the letter, Freda Dudley Ward was married to Liberal MP William Dudley Ward, and was aboard the ship HMS Renown as it took them on a royal tour of Canada.

Her long affair with the Prince continued until 1934, only ending when Edward became involved with infamous American socialite Wallis Simpson, whom he first met in 1930.

A love letter from Edward VIII is seen at Christies auction house in Rome June 16, 2004. The 14 letters, in which the king tells a still-married American Wallis Simpson [you will never know how much I love you, are part of a collection of photographs, clothing and] royal memorabilia [being sold by the couple's Italian valet. The 187 lots are estimated to fetch up up to 400,000 euros.]
A later love letter from Edward VIII to Wallis at Christies auction house in Rome. (Getty Images)
Edward VIII (1894-1972), Prince of Wales, in Hamilton during his visit to New Zealand, photograph from The Illustrated London News, vol 156, no 4236, June 26, 1920.
Edward VIII (1894-1972), Prince of Wales, photographed in 1920, while he was having an affair with Freda. (Getty Images)

Abdicating the throne in favour of an expat life with divorcee Mrs Simpson, King Edward's brief reign lasted from January 1936 to December that year, and he was never coronated.

The letter, proving Prince Harry is not the only royal to want out, offers a window into Edwards's 'disenchantment with life as a royal', says Charles Ashton, a director at Cheffins.

Read more: The Best Romantic Love Letters Ever Written

In the letter, Edward refers to speeches he has made, writing: “What I think of all this official wonk and these cornie pompous stunts & I’ve made no less than 7 speeches today.”

Watch: Did Meghan Markle honour this fellow American divorcée on her wedding day?

He described Canadian prime minister Robert Borden, whom he had dined with, as “such a stick & deadly dull except re politics & I can’t tackle him on that subject”.

Mr Ashton said: “This letter saw some significant pre-sale interest, with over 20 separate parties leaving absentee bids, as well as a number of telephone bidders and those online.

“The letters between the prince and his married lover are of importance as they shed light on the very personal feelings and passions of the future King Edward VIII, which strong sentiments then re-emerged in no less a way in his love for Wallis Simpson.

English socialite Freda Dudley Ward (1894 - 1983, left) and Lady Birkenhead (1913 - 1992, right) at the christening of Adrian Michael Berry at Gray's Inn Chapel, London, 19th October 1937. Adrian is the son of Lady Birkenhead's brother Michael Berry and his wife Pamela. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English socialite Freda Dudley Ward (1894 - 1983, left) and Lady Birkenhead (1913 - 1992, right) in 1937. The affair was long over and Edward was with Mrs Simpson. (Getty Images)

“Edward VIII was known to be a prolific letter writer, with at least 300 of his letters being offered to the market in a significant sale in 2003.

“The majority of these are now in private hands and very few have surfaced to the market since.

“The market is truly alive and well for autographs and letters, with a significant number of private collectors who were out in force at today’s library sale.”

Read more: How to Write a Love Letter in 12 Possibly Awkward But Very Effective Steps

The great and good (and less so) have often expressed themselves in the form of love letters. Last year, poet TS Eliot's missives to academic Emily Hale were released by Princeton University, revealing a long, passionate and ultimately doomed romance. 

"Praying that I have given no offense," he wrote, "for I see nothing in this confusion to be ashamed of – my love is as pure ... as any love can be.

“If this is a love letter it is the last I shall ever write in my life. And I will sign it.”

A portrait of the American poet and Nobel Prize winner in Literature Thomas Stearns Eliot, better known as T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965), Baltimore, Maryland, 1933. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)
TS Eliot in 1933 (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)

Another famous poet, John Keats, also expressed himself in letter form. The 19th century writer's 1820 letter to his great love, Fanny Brawne, fetched £96 000 at auction recently. 

 It was bought by the City of London corporation, which manages his home as a museum.

Not all love letters are romantic, however. IN 2018, then-president Donald Trump told a rally about his correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 “I was really being tough - and so was he. And we would go back and forth,” he said. 

“And then we fell in love, okay? No, really - he wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters."

How much they'll fetch at auction one day remains to be seen. 

Watch: Yahoo UK speaks to royal author Anna Pasternak

Additional reporting PA Media

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