OK Thom thanks for letting me run away with this for a bit...if this gets into a sourcebook you'll credit me right
Two things worth noting : I'm still working my way into Crimson Skies tech changes. I'm a history nut and a naval history nerd so others may need to translate into Crimson Skies parallel reality terms.
Similarly I'm British, and though I might make some assumptions on what might happen from a British perspective in an 'Edwardian' (as you call it) Commonwealth you would really need an Indian, Canadian or whatever local to give a real look.
Perhaps most important point, Crimson Skies is a bright 1930s adventure pulp story, so I will try and limit any dystopian darkness to possible speculation as to what Lamont Cranston is up to!
The New Edwardian 'Restoration' : The British Empires final death spasm in Crimson Skies
As described in earlier mail, Nazi sympathetic Edward and his wife Mrs Simpson are restored to the British throne in an atempt to delay war with the Germans.
This is a far from an unlikely scenario, ex Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and others have suggested this (or at least an accomodation with Nazi Germany) is exactly what should have happened to lessen the effect of WW 2 on the English speaking world. Here the dashing English bad guy described in The Rocketeer is a far more of a reality than Hollywood speculation.
"Edwardian" is used to describe the world of Britain pre WW1, I would propose that New Edwardian (in the way that New Elizabethan is used in the 1950s), is the polite way to describe the new society, which owes a lot more to Oswald Moseley's British Union of Fascists than it likes to admit in public.
Perhaps the first thing you should look re: Crimson Skies and the British Empire is the Imperial Airship Plan described herehttp://airshipsonline.com/airships/imperial/index.html
Airships or Zepps were heavily promoted as one thing that could keep the Empire together and if not for the incompetent design and disaster of the R101, government investment in the scheme would have been huge. Worth noting that the R100, designed by bouncing bomb genius Barnes Wallis, had (like the Graf Zeppelin), a spotless safety record and was scrapped in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of it's larger, successor airship.
One British incident that might hasten the Crimson Skies world of Zepps - the proposed Royal Flying Corps Attack on the Kaiser's High Seas fleet in 1918 goes ahead and is devastating. We effectively have Pearl Harbour nearly a quarter century early, finishing off the concentration on surface fleets a generation before our world. From the look of CS's Bristol Balmoral politics and inter-service rivalry has retarded tech development ever since.
Assuming Bertie, his wife and the princesses are alive, their location is a huge issue. The most obvious destination, Canada, seems out of the question and in our timeline the US government were none to happy at the prospect of an exiled English monarch resident on North American soil.
I would suggest, in line with the idea of the Australian civil war, that Bertie, the ex queen and the princesses are thought to be hiding in one or the other end of Australia. Perhaps the Canberra government has rejected the Restoration/coup, and the New Edwardian government led by Lord Halifax (Churchill probably kept on side as Head of the Admiralty, for the moment) is covertly supporting the rebels in the north while negotiating to keep Canberra from declaring a republic. Republican sentiment might force the ex Royals to be moved again to New Zealand.
Lots of potential for desperate escapes in this world, and fate of the two young princesses will grab the imagination of the world in the way that the treatment of the Tsars children was a concern two decades before.
First thing that has to be said about India in Crimson Skies is that Indian Princes and Maharajas were shamelessly into cars, planes and plenty else. Indian royals choosing to glide above the poverty below would make attractive targets for pirates from Russia or even Arabia (perhaps led by that famous adventurer and traitor gone native T.E. Lawrence <of Arabia>)
The Indian Air Princes won't be just on the defensive either. Readers/viewers of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will know that Captain Nemo was an Indian Prince turned "pirate". 30-40 years after the setting of Jules Verne's original books the real or imagined heirs of Nemo will almost certainly be in the air and making sure their wealth keeps them technologically one generation ahead of those around them (let's just say a young well funded Frank Whittle could live very comfortably in a secluded valley in Kasmir)
I would imagine in a new authoritarian Britian Indian Independence would have far less sympathy, and despite the absurdity of England trying to govern India there would be some atempt to return to the conditions at the start of the Raj, created just after the Indian Mutiny. What is not fully appreciated by the the pro Empire elements is that at least a third of the military forces employed by the Empire are sourced from India itself.
Brtian is only able to assert influence over India through India's Upper and professional classes, when they do not co-operate the Empire is effectively over. During the Indian Mutiny of the previous century most of India remained loyal and yet such was the devastation, you could regard it almost as the Holocaust of the Victorian age.
Hitlers favourite movie was Lives of a Bengal Lancer (starring Errol Flynn, the model for the villain in Rocketteer) and he reportedly fantasised that "when we get to India they will think the Raj was a holiday". In reality neither the Nazi's, the Japanese Army or a newly cruel British (all together) could keep India under control. I see Ghandi sidelined as the struggle gets brutal, with Nehru or Jinnah leading a slow worsening conflict that looks more and more like Manchuria.
Regarding Africa it was the great plan of arch Imperialist Cecil Rhodes to link Cairo in the north to Cape Town in the south via a transcontinental railroad. Zepps makes this possible, perhaps ensuring a greater level of prosperity and stability . Italian air privateers backed by Mussolini would still be a threat.
In our reality the situation was so desperate for Britain in 1940 that Northern Ireland was offered back to the Irish Republic in exchange for temporary use of ports and airfields on the Irish West coast. In a world were British tabloid Daily Mail is still Herr Hitlers No.1 fan there is no need for the Brits or Germans to solicit support from Irish Republicans. The IRA are desperate and are probably encouraging privateers from Empire State to prey on Atlantic traffic. After centuries of Irish rebellion on the ground both sides would be reluctant to engage again on the ground but foreign backed air war over Ulster is quite possible.
No, Spain is not in the Empire, but happening concurrent with Crimson Skies is the Spanish Civil War, which has huge significance politically and technologically. I could write (another) huge amount about Spain in Crimson Skies but perhaps here I don't have to. Private armies fighting a chaotic balkanised conflict?? It is a tribute to the background feel of Crimson Skies that it gets so much of the atmosphere of Spain right in an American setting. Worth noting there were a huge number of American volunteers fighting in Spain on both sides.
The Spanish Civil War really exposes the nazi sympathies in British society. Though an enfeebled France is persuaded not to interfere in our world, in CS, supported by states in North America, it might support the Republicans against the fascist allies, prompting a rift with Britain and perhaps a French Civil War.
I recommended some outside sources in my last email, and an American or anyone else who needs a view of Spain in the 30s gets a great excuse here to read the greatest war novel ever, Ernest Hemingways For Whom The Bell Tolls. And while we are at it, if you need an insight into the "screw the government, let's do it ourselves" mindset of the 1930s John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath is essential and sadly very topical for all of us.
When these guys created Crimson Skies I wonder if they knew how close we were to returning to the world of the 1930s...