Rab’s long-standing status as a naturist centre – the Frkanj peninsula just west of town was established as one of the first naturist resorts in Europe – was popularized by the visit of British King Edward VIII (accompanied by future wife Wallis Simpson) in the summer of 1936. Whether Edward actually got the royal tackle out or not remains the subject of much conjecture, but his stay on Rab provided the inspiration for a recent Croatian musical, Kralj je gol (literally “The King is Naked”, although in colloquial Croatian it means much the same thing as the expression “The Emperor’s New Clothes”). After visiting Rab, Edward and Wallis continued down the Adriatic aboard a luxury yacht packed with sundry toffs and royal hangers-on. Pursued by Europe’s press, the trip turned into the celebrity media-fest of its day, with thousands of locals lining the streets to ogle the couple when they came ashore at Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. The only journalists who failed to follow the cruise were the British – the idea that their monarch was romancing an American divorcee was too mind-bogglingly scandalous to report.

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