Fruity Metcalfe

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Edward Dudley Metcalfe
Equerry to the Duke of Windsor
In office
Personal details
Born(1887-01-16)16 January 1887
Died18 November 1957(1957-11-18) (aged 70)
Lady Alexandra Curzon
(m. 1925; div. 1955)
EducationTrinity College, Dublin
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceIndian Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service1907–27 (Army)
1940–42 (RAF)
RankMajor (Army)
Flying officer (RAF)
Battles/warsFirst World War

Edward Dudley Metcalfe MVO MC (16 January 1887 – 18 November 1957), known as Fruity Metcalfe, was an officer in the Indian Army and a close friend and equerry of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor.

Early life[edit]

Metcalfe was born on 16 January 1887. He was educated privately and at Trinity College, Dublin.[1]


He was commissioned on to the Unattached list for Auxiliary Forces (University Candidate) on 27 May 1907. He transferred to the Unattached List, Indian Army on 15 August 1908 but to have seniority from 17 August 1907. He spent a year attached to the 1st battalion Connaught Rangers in India from 8 November 1908 until, on 8 November 1909, being accepted into the Indian Army and joining 3rd Skinner's Horse.[2] He was promoted lieutenant on 17 November 1909.[3]

He attended the 1911 Delhi Durbar with his regiment, and in 1912 attended the Cavalry School at Saugor.[3] On 12 August 1914 he was appointed Adjutant of the Governor's Body Guard, Bombay.[4] He did not hold this position for long as his regiment was mobilised and went to France late in 1914. He was promoted temporary captain 1 September 1915. He served there before being sent back to India in June 1916, from where he volunteered to served with the 7th Meerut Cavalry headquarters which went to Mesopotamia. He was promoted captain 17 August 1916; however this was later antedated to 1 September 1915.[5]

He was mentioned in dispatches, reported in the London Gazette on 15 August 1917, and ten days later come notice that he had been awarded the Military Cross for distinguished service in Mesopotamia.[6]

Pictured in local costume in Japan in 1922 (L-R): Metcalfe, Edward, Prince of Wales. and Louis Mountbatten

In 1918 Metcalfe was attached to the Signal Service, where he remained until January 1920, when he was attached to the 27th Light Cavalry.[7] By early 1921 he was back serving with the 3rd Skinner's Horse.[8]

By July 1921, he was serving with the Indian State Forces of Indore. Metcalfe first met the future Edward VIII when, as Prince of Wales, he was touring India in 1922. Edward was impressed with Metcalfe's knowledge of horses and made him a member of his personal staff, appointing him an aide de camp; he subsequently accompanied the prince on his tour of Japan.[9]

In July 1922, in the wake of the Prince's tour, he was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order, 4th class,[10] and in August 1922 was appointed as temporary equerry to the Prince of Wales.[11] Metcalfe was provisionally promoted to the rank of major on 17 August 1922.[12]

He was appointed an extra aide de camp to His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in India on 4 September 1926 and retired from the Indian Army on 6 September 1927.

With his wife, he attended meetings of the Oswald Mosley organization in the January Club,[13] and, in May 1934, a dinner at London's Savoy Hotel of the British Fascist Blackshirts,[14] of which he was a member.[15]

After the king abdicated on 11 December 1936 and became the Duke of Windsor, Metcalfe was best man at his wedding in France to Wallis Simpson on 3 June 1937. He was his equerry from 1939 in Paris and Antibes until the German invasion of France in 1940 prompted the Windsors' evacuation and the Duke's appointment to govern the Bahamas.[16]

On 10 August 1940, Metcalfe was commissioned as a pilot officer into the Administrative and Special Duties Branch of the Royal Air Force. He was promoted to flying officer on 10 August 1941. He was posted to Cairo in November 1941, returning to Britain at the end of September 1942,[1] but resigned his commission on 17 November 1942.

Personal life[edit]

In 1925, Metcalfe married Alexandra Naldera Curzon ("Baba") (1904–1995),[17] 18 years younger than him, and the third daughter of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, and Lord Curzon's first wife, the American mercantile heiress Mary Victoria Leiter.

They had a son, David Metcalfe, and twin daughters Davina and Linda. They divorced in 1955.[1]

Metcalfe lived at South Hartfield House, Coleman's Hatch, in the Ashdown Forest, Sussex, about 40 miles south of London.[18]


  1. ^ a b c Courcy, Anne de (2002) "The Viceroy's Daughters: the Lives of the Curzon Sisters", W. Morrow, New York,, paperback. Retrieved 23 February 2007
  2. ^ Indian Army List October 1909
  3. ^ a b Indian Army List April 1912
  4. ^ Indian Army List January 1915
  5. ^ "Rank of Captain to be antedated to 1st September, 1915, but without pay or allowances". London Gazette. 6 April 1917. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  6. ^ London Gazette, 25 August 1917
  7. ^ Indian Army List, January 1920
  8. ^ Indian Army List, July 1921
  9. ^ "Milestones: Jun. 8, 1925". Time. 8 June 1925. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
  10. ^ London Gazette, 11 July 1922
  11. ^ Ziegler Philip (2004) "Metcalfe, Edward Dudley", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 24 March 2007 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  12. ^ London Gazette 16 November 1923.
  13. ^ Gottlieb, Julie V. (2003). Feminine fascism: women in Britain's fascist movement. London: I.B.Tauris. p. 322. ISBN 1-86064-918-1. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  14. ^ Higham, Charles (1989). The Duchess of Windsor: the secret life. Charter Books. p. 106. ISBN 1-55773-227-2. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  15. ^ Allen, Martin (2002). Hidden Agenda: How the Duke of Windsor Betrayed the Allies. New York: M. Evans and Co. p. 70. ISBN 0-333-90181-9. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  16. ^ Donaldson, Frances (1976). Edward VIII (1st Omega ed.). London: Futura Publications. ISBN 0860077357. Donaldson quotes extensively from Metcalfe's letters written home to his wife Baba in England.
  17. ^ Tompsett Brian C. (2005) Royal Genealogical Data Index to Royal Genealogical Data[permanent dead link]. Retrieved 17 March 2007
  18. ^ "Good Old Duke". Time. 25 September 1939. Retrieved 4 April 2007.