Did you know a top Nazi almost gatecrashed the British Royal Coronation?

The plane Göring commandeered to fly to London in secret
(Photo: Bundesarchiv)
On May 11, 1937, London and the entirety of the British Empire was preparing for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the next day. During the day, Croydon Airport, London’s primary airport at the time, received a request to land from an unexpected aircraft: a German Ju-52 transport painted bright red and named Manfred von Richthofen after the legendary World War I pilot. The plane’s pilot was none else than one of Richthofen’s old squadron mates: General Hermann Göring, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe and one of Nazi Germany’s top officials.
The German Embassy in London in the early 1930s
(Photo: Bundesarchiv)
Göring arrived to represent Hitler at the coronation, and did so against Hitler’s wishes. The designated German representative at the event was Field Marshall Werner von Blomberg, who was already in London, but Göring decided to fly there anyway in an attempt to pull rank.
 
His appearance elicited consternation. He was quickly ushered into a room by the Special Branch (Britain’s national defense and intelligence forces), while Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German ambassador to Britain at the time, hurried to the airport. Göring was then taken to the German Embassy to discuss what to do next. Meanwhile, the British Houses of Parliament also got wind of the top Nazi’s presence with an MP raising her concerns about the visit. Göring was an unpopular figure in Britain, not only because of his status in the Nazi regime, but also due to the actions of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War, including the bombing of the town of Guernica less than two weeks earlier. 
The ruins of Guernica, the bombing of which was one of the reasons why Göring was unwelcome in London
(Photo: Bundesarchiv)
Göring was eventually convinced to give up his plan of attending the coronation, as public protests against his presence very well might have marred the event. He flew back to Germany the next morning, even as crowds were gathering to witness the occasion.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in their coronation robes
(Photo: Rijksmuseum)
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