Edward, Prince of Wales Royal Presentation Cigarette Case, 1934
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cigarette case: 6.5cm (2.5 in) x 8.5cm (3.3in)
Provenance: Mr H.J. Crisp, Valet to King Edward VIII
Silver. Of rectangular form with arched top and bottom, the engine turned hinged lid applied in the top left corner with the cypher of Edward, Prince of Wales in gold, comprising P.oW. feathers and the Garter encircling the initial 'E’. Gilt interior. Maker’s mark of R&R. Hallmarked London 1934. Contained in its original velvet and silk lined fitted box of the Royal warrant holder Alfred Clark Ltd, 49 Davies Street, London, the deep burgundy morocco exterior bearing the gilt tooled ‘E’ cypher of the Prince. Complete with the original Christmas gift tag bearing the name ‘Mr. Jack CRISP’ in typescript and autograph signed ‘Edward P’.
Horace Jack Crisp (1901-1985) entered the service Edward, Prince of Wales in 1919 and remained with him as valet for 17 years. Where many departed in the wake of Wallis Simpson’s arrival and forthright ways, Crisp stood by his master throughout the abdication crisis of 1936. It was thus to Edward’s astonishment that Crisp informed him that he would not be accompanying to France only hours before the King-Emperor was due to give up the crown and abandon Britain for a new life abroad. As Crisp succinctly put it many years later - ‘He gave up his job, I gave up mine’. Crisp was under no illusion as to the awfulness of Mrs Simpson, having witnessed the self-centered excesses of the couple during an Adriatic cruise aboard the 250-foot yacht Nahlin that horrified Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and his ministers. The official biographer of Edward VIII however noted that Edward was a good employer when it came to servants, always taking the trouble remember names of even the most junior and to show himself capable of undressing, bathing and ‘be on his way downstairs in tails and Garter star with three minutes’, with minimal input from his manservants. All that changed when the twice married Mrs Simpson entered the king’s life. Determined to assert herself, Crisp recalled how she once strode from room to room at Fort Belvedere, snapping off the tip of every pencil she could find, with the sole aim of creating work for the staff. In 1936 Crisp was promoted to Page of the Presence, taking over from the long serving Frederick Finch, who packed his bags after refusing to mix cocktails in the American manner, with ice.
With a family background rooted in royal service - his father was a gardener on the Sandringham estate and his brother, a groom - Crisp was immediately re-employed in the service of George VI. He later became Page of the Backstairs and Steward of the Queen Mother’s household at Clarence House.