Orders of the Day — Prince Paul and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 17th November 1942.

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Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

If you are a quisling and you happen to be royalty, it appears that you are automatically trusted and forgiven. I am referring to the British Government's treatment of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and his family, but events have started me wondering 'why King Carol of Rumania, who also collaborated with our enemies, has recently been afforded such assistance and hospitality by the present Government, the circumstances of which are very little known by the general public as yet. King Carol still shares with the gallant Kings of Greece and of Norway the highest British distinction, the honour of the Order of the Bath; but for the time being, I am more concerned with Prince Paul and those around him.

The world knows, and the Government do hot deny, that Prince Paul of Yugoslavia is a quisling. Last Wednesday, nth November, I had a considerable amount to say about this man and his wife, and for the convenience of those who are not aware of the position, before I put some new considerations to the House, I want just to repeat this short summary. Prince Paul has from the very start shown a keen desire to collaborate with the Germans; and he did so. Princess Olga is his loyal wife, and her sympathies were, anyhow, with the Germans because of their enmity towards the Bolsheviks, who have ill-treated her mother, a Russian Grand Duchess. The Princess seldom came to this country, but was constantly in Germany. Her country house was adjacent to the German frontier, and very convenient for Berchtesgaden. She has all along been in a unique position, as an outsider, of being persona grata within that very small inner Nazi circle which surrounds Hitler. She has a sister who lives in Germany and whose husband is a Nazi. In view of these facts, is it not too much to expect of human nature that the Princess should suddenly renounce all her past sympathies and become a sincere and loyal friend of this country? We have deliberately brought this woman over to the British Isles and allowed her, to all intents and purposes, complete freedom. She is in touch with important officials. Who knows that we may not have endangered the lives of countless soldiers, sailors and airmen? What right have we to take a chance with the lives of our fighting men by giving these fantastic privileges to the wife of a dangerous royal enemy?

It was my right and duty, as a Member of Parliament, to draw attention to these facts, which involve important questions of national security and also of principle. The reply that I got from the Government was mainly personal abuse. I am sorry the Under-Secretary is not here. I gave him notice that I was raising the matter.