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Did MI5 want an assassin to shoot Edward VIII? Newfound dossiers reveal the explosive story of a hard-drinking double agent who claimed the Vatican offered him £150 to kill the king, writes RICHARD KAY

6 4 11
30.06.2020

He was hardly a conventional fit for an assassin. A club foot, a twitch and a nervous disposition all buttoned up inside a shabby brown suit

He was hardly a conventional fit for an assassin. A club foot, a twitch and a nervous disposition all buttoned up inside a shabby brown suit.

Consider also that he had removed the critical bullet from the first chamber of the loaded revolver he hid beneath a newspaper, suggesting that he wanted his shooting to be foiled.

But on a hot July day almost 84 years ago this unremarkable figure stood amid the cheering crowds on Constitution Hill on the verge of a place in history — as the would-be killer of a king.

George McMahon’s target was King Edward VIII, barely six months into his reign and still uncrowned.

The young monarch was on horseback returning to Buckingham Palace after reviewing a colours ceremony of the Brigade of Guards in Hyde Park.

Every so often McMahon turned to look over his shoulder towards the railings of Green Park, an agitated movement that had already caught the attention of another sightseer, a woman called Alice Lawrence.

At 12.25 the sound of distant cheering and applause told the crowd that the King was only moments away.

As Edward drew near behind the massed bands of the Guards regiments, McMahon, whose left hand twitched nervously against his leg, let the newspaper fall to the ground revealing the revolver which he raised and levelled at the King.

With a shout, Mrs Lawrence grabbed his arm while a police constable in front, alerted by her cry, spun round, punching McMahon on his outstretched arm, causing the gun to fly out of his hand.

It flew into the road and struck the King’s horse. Edward, spotting the commotion, assumed it was a bomb and braced himself for the explosion which never came.

He then rode on without another glance. ‘The King rode on in complete calm, not even quickening his horse’s pace,’ his equerry John Aird would later write.

By now after a blow to the chin by an outraged member of the public, McMahon was seized by four policemen and another had pocketed the gun.

One of the first telegrams Edward, who at times........

© Mail Online