A Brown Shirt at St James

Friday 30th October 1936

The new ambassador of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, presented his credentials to the King at St. James’s Palace. It was some months since his appointment had been announced, but he had delayed his arrival in London to make sure that his position in the Nazi hierarchy in Berlin was as secure as possible before taking the risk of a prolonged absence from the constant intrigues and jockeying for power at Hitler’s court.

Von Ribbentrop greeted the King in the conventional fashion. The obligation on German heads of mission to greet the heads of state to whom they were accredited with the Nazi salute was only introduced the following year, as von Ribbentrop famously demonstrated when he met the new King George VI. Ribbentrop had immense and largely delusional hopes of developing Anglo-German friendship based on King Edward’s supposed pro-German sentiments, but he had missed his moment, if it had ever existed.


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