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How King Edward VIII abandoned the British Throne



How King Edward VIII abandoned the British Throne


On December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom made an unexpected and stunning radio statement to his subjects.

Edward sought to explain why he was becoming the first British king to resign the throne, noting that he had completed his royal obligations and had now proclaimed his loyalty to his younger brother and soon-to-be King George VI.

Edward VIII, also known as Prince Edward, duke of Windsor (from 1936), king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the British dominions, and emperor of India from January 20 to December 10, 1936, when he abdicated. He was the only British monarch who willingly abdicated the throne.

Wallis Simpson first met King Edward VIII in 1931, while he was still Prince of Wales and she was still married. Despite the royal family’s and British government’s concerns, their romance continued for years. Edward became king and Simpson divorced her husband in 1936. A situation emerged when Edward proclaimed his wish to marry Simpson: he was the leader of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury forbade him from marrying a twice-divorced American, and the British government rejected a scheme in which Edward VIII would stay king, Simpson would be given a lower title than “Queen” and their children would not be successors to the throne. On November 16, the time’s Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, paid a visit to the king, telling him that the nation would never approve their union. Baldwin recommended that the public’s views be taken into account. According to The Times of London, the King said, “I am going to marry Mrs. Simpson, and I am prepared to go.”

As you can expect, Edward VIII’s life was never the same when he decided to forego his royal duties in exchange for a totally different lifestyle. He and Simpson moved to France and only returned to England on rare occasions. They didn’t get to see the royal family very much.

“You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” he explained, referring to the religious and cultural barriers that prevented him from marrying his twice-divorced American lover, Wallis Simpson.


Despite what appeared to be an unified front against him, Edward was unconvinced. He suggested a morganatic marriage in which Wallis would be given no status or property, but Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected the idea on December 2 as impracticable. The issue made the front pages of British newspapers the next day, and it was freely debated in Parliament. On December 10, the king resigned the throne due to a lack of resolve. The abdication document was ratified by Parliament the next day, and Edward VIII’s reign came to an end. George VI, the new monarch, named his older brother Duke of Windsor. The duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield on June 3, 1937, at the Château de Cande in France’s Loire Valley.

Baldwin entered the British parliament on December 10 with a paper in his hand. The prime minister revealed to the House, “A message from His Majesty the King, signed by His Majesty’s own hand.”

According to sources, the following was read aloud with uncommon indications of emotion:

“After long and anxious consideration, I have determined to renounce the throne to which I succeeded on the death of my father, and I am now communicating this, my final and irrevocable decision.”

“I will not enter now into my private feelings but I would beg that it should be remembered that the burden which constantly rests upon the shoulders of a sovereign is so heavy that it can only be borne in circumstances different from those in which I found myself.”

Queen Elizabeth visited her estranged uncle Edward just before he died in 1972.

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