One of the sensational claims made in a new book about Norway's monarchs during World War II, King Haakon VII and Queen Maud is that the Queen may have been involuntarily euthanased. Norwegian author Tor Bomann-Larsen writes in his book "Æresordet" (Word of Honour) that "Queen Maud had left home strong and healthy and would return in a coffin, without Norwegian doctors having had any connections to what happened."
The evidence for this startling claim is largely circumstantial. Maud was English, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. It was reported that she died of heart failure in 1938 in England, under the care of the most eminent and respected physician of the day, Lord Bertrand Dawson.
However Bormann-Larsen has unearthed documents which suggest that the real cause of death had been cancer. Dawson wrote to his Norwegian counterpart: "When reading this account, you will agree that the Queen's sudden death was a relief and which saved her from these last painful stages of the disease both you and I know only too well."
In the light of Dawson's personal history, these words take on a sinister, if ultimately unverifiable, significance. For he was not only a strong advocate of euthanasia, but two years before he had euthanased the King of England.
This only came to light 50 years later when Dawson's personal papers were opened. On the day of the death of George V he wrote in his diary: "I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr.3/4 and shortly afterwards cocaine gr. 1 into the distended jugular vein."
Why? It appears that the King's death was imminent. However, if he had lingered on for a few more hours, the news would have appeared first in London's sleazy tabloids. Dawson felt that it was more fitting that the death of a sovereign be announced in The Times, the British paper of record. An early death also enabled him to return to his busy practice in London. "There is no reason to think that King George V was the only patient he treated in this way," wrote J.H.R. Ramsay in the BMJ. Why not Norway's queen?
Neither Buckingham Palace nor the Royal Court in Oslo has commented on the allegations. ~ The Foreigner, Nov 4; Dagbladet, Oct 31