The Windsors in Portugal 1940 - a black comedy
The cast of ‘The Windsors in Portugal’

The Windsors in Portugal 1940 – a black comedy

A new play – centered round extraordinary events that happened in Portugal at the beginning of World War II – is to be staged at São Brás Museum in December.

As millions of refugees fled from Nazi-occupied Europe, many arrived in neutral Portugal. Amongst them were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor staying in Cascais as house guests of a wealthy Portuguese banker.

They found themselves in the company of royalty from Spain, Austria, Hungary and Rumania, all of them residing at nearby hotels. Added to this mix of people was the eccentric art collector Peggy Guggenheim and the black American cabaret performer, Josephine Baker. Freshly arrived in Portugal, her sexy costumes and oddball dancing had brought her notoriety and fame.

These larger than life characters add humorous elements to an intriguing story that replicate experiences that actually happened. Whilst staying in Cascais, the Duke of Windsor was contacted by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s Foreign Minister. Taking his instructions from the Fuhrer, he says that once the Allies are defeated, the plan is to reinstate the Duke as King of England and the Duchess as his Queen. He offers cash incentives and a palatial home to retire to for the duration of the war.

Author and Algarve resident Carolyn Kain has used these crucial facts to construct a very entertaining play. Taken from recently released documents known as the Marburg Papers, the Duke was faced with a dilemma. Wanting to please the Duchess who was infatuated with the idea of becoming Queen, the Duke unexpectedly received a telegram from Winston Churchill. He directed the Duke to take up a new role as Governor of the Bahamas with a passage already booked to cross the Atlantic.

Trying to prevent their departure, the Nazis created a bomb scare aboard the liner on which they were to travel. With Lisbon docks in turmoil and the Duke and Duchess panicking, the play turns into black comedy.

Performances will be raising funds to purchase uniforms and equipment for São Brás Bombeiros.

‘The Windsors in Portugal’, written and directed by Carolyn Kain, will be staged in the English language at São Brás Museum.

The evening performance will take place on Friday, December 13 at 7.30pm, and there will be two matinees on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15 at 4pm
For tickets, call 966 329 073 or email admin@amigos-museu-sbras.pt

Photos: PETER KAIN

The Windsors in Portugal 1940 - a black comedy
The cast of ‘The Windsors in Portugal’
The Windsors in Portugal 1940 - a black comedy
Natalie Galland as the Duchess of Windsor with Simon Tubb as the Duke of Windsor