Rev Jardine was vicar of a parish in Darlington, north England, and volunteered to perform the wedding ceremony of the Duke of Windsor and his newly divorced fiancee. The union was riddled with controversy, as Edward VIII – who was briefly King of England, was outcast from the Royal Family for his decision to abdicate the throne in favour of marrying Mrs Simpson in 1936. Rev Jardine was also viewed with contempt, for his supposed dereliction of duty for his involvement in the scandalous wedding.
His role in the marriage cost him his career in England, as at the time the Church of England did not support it.
Speaking after the scandal, Rev Jardine told the press: “No bishop, however liberated, will offer me a living now – I am as much an exile as Edward.”
But previously unearthed letters, seen exclusively by Express.co.uk, suggest the clergyman was admired for his role in the union.
The first, a handwritten letter to Rev Jardine from Sir Dudley Forwood – the sole equerry to the Duke of Windsor after his abdication, highlights that many people admired the clergyman.
It read: “I am here with enclosing a number of Telegrams which His Royal Highness felt would interest you and would serve us again bring home to you the largest number of people who admire you for your courage.
Secret letters show ‘exiled’ Reverend corresponded with Royals after controversial wedding
Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII married on June 3, 1936
“Hoping we may meet before long. Yours, very Sincerely, Dudley Forwood.”
A second letter, sent to Rev Jardine by Herman Rogers – a close friend of Ms Simpson, reveals the Reverend had garnered support for carrying out the controversial ceremony, which was boycotted by almost the entire British establishment.
An excerpt from the letter, which is three pages long, read: “I do want you to know that my wife and I have immense admiration for you.
“If all the Church were as liberal, fair and courageous as you, there would never again the complaint of a lack of sincere and divested cougregatious.
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Reverend Robert Anderson was sent a letter by Sir Dudley Forwood
“The sympathy of the world is with you, and I am convinced that you have done more for the cause of religion than any man of our time.
“I hope, of course, that you will not be made to suffer for your action, but I know that you were prepared for any consequence before you decided to come to Candé.”
Both letters suggest the Reverend, who was forced to quit the pulpit he had occupied for the past decade just two weeks after the wedding, was strongly admired for defying the Church.
The letters were uncovered by Matthew Wordingham, a part-time antiques and collectables dealer, who stumbled across it just by chance.
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Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine was the clergyman who led the marriage ceremony
Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine was praised by Herman Rogers
Mr Wordingham told Express.co.uk he bid on a box of unknown items and was surprised to discover the letters, among over papers relating to the Royal Family.
He said: “It was a real surprise to find these pieces of ephemera within the box.”
After winning the bid, at less than £10, the collectables dealer said the box appeared to be full of old envelopes and postage stamps.
Mr Wordingham, who usually sells his items in Nostalgia – a collectables shop in Rushden, Northamptonshire, said he didn’t spot the royal ephemera until weeks later.
Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine said after the wedding he was ‘exiled’
Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor lived in France after the abdication
He said: “The Wallis Simpson and Duke of Windsor items were just tucked within a ripped brown envelope at the bottom of the box.”
The collectables dealer plans to take the items onto the Antiques Roadshow, after an auction house valued the letters upwards of £1,000.
He said: “One auction house said that the letters be worth upwards of £1,000 – I imagine there would be a lot of interest in America for them.
“They would make a really nice addition to a museum.”