Rolls-Royce allegedly used to smuggle Wallis Simpson into Balmoral for sale
In 1923, the future King Edward VIII commissioned coachbuilders Barker to refinish the chassis of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to create a shooting brake with a difference. Featuring not only walnut effect finishing to its aluminium panels, the bespoke car also included specially commissioned black pull-down silk blinds and it is rumoured that these were installed so he could smuggle guests – and most particularly Wallis Simpson – in and out of Balmoral without their being seen.
The Rolls-Royce – chassis no. 1346 – was used by the royal family until 1940 and after its subsequent sale, the car and the shooting brake coachwork were subsequently separated. Another Silver Ghost – chassis no. 107EM – was then fitted with the discarded ex-Edward VIII Barker coachwork in the 1960s and now that car is set to be auctioned by H&H at the RREC Burghley House sale at Stamford in Lincolnshire on 20th June.
Of the car, Damian Jones of H&H commented:
“When the vehicle was consigned to us, the current owner mentioned in passing that a rumour accompanying the car was that Edward VIII used it to smuggle Wallis Simpson into Balmoral”.
“There is no documentary evidence to validate that, but it’s a tale that’s been passed on from owner to owner. One of the more telling features of this shooting brake is that it had pull-down blinds on all the windows”.
“When you’re out in the middle of an estate with a shotgun it’s hard to see what the need for privacy would have been… Shooting brakes are normally rather utilitarian vehicles that would not normally be associated with privacy, but with this one Edward felt the need to install blinds”.
The car has a guide price of £100,000 to £120,000 ($153,000 to $183,000 or €137,000 to €165,000).
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