Edward VIII

Edward would make one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the House of Windsor. Long groomed and prepared to become the King of England, once he ascended to the throne he decided to renounce his claim in order that he might marry Mrs Simpson, an American Catholic divorcee. At the time, this created a huge constitutional crisis for the British government. It did not help that the period was diplomatically highly unsettled with the spread of totalitarianism in mainland Europe. Britain could ill afford to have such constitutional uncertaintly with the likes of Hitler and Stalin posturing for influence. As it was, he was forced to abdicate in favour of his younger brother. With the benefit of hindsight, it was probably a good move for Britain as Edward would show a lack of political common sense by touring Fascist Germany and sympathising openly with the totalitarian strongmen. During the Fall of France, Edward and Mrs Simpson had to be evacuated for fear of falling in to the hands of the Germans and being used as potential puppet leaders should Britain fall. They were sent to Bermuda to keep them out of harm's way.
Edward VIII Images
1894 at White Lodge, Richmond
1972 at Bois de Boulogne, Paris
Acceded to Throne
The Abdication and the Askari
John Lawrie Boyd-Wilson explains the unexpected response of his Northern Rhodesia Regiment troops when the abdication of King Edward VIII was announced. They had firm views on the role of a king but felt that they did indeed have a personal relationship to the king that they served.
Further Reading
King Edward VIII: The Official Biography
By Philip Ziegler
An Unauthorized Biography of King Edward VIII
By Victoria Hockfield
King Edward VIII - Duke Of Windsor
By Hector Bolitho
Battle Royal: Edward VIII and George VI - Brother Against Brother
By Kirsty McLeod
The Windsor Story
By Charles J.V. Murphy
Witness: Edward and Mrs Simpson
A BBC audio program
Mrs Simpson
A biography from the ONDB
Whatever happened to the Windsors
David Starkey's Monarchy
Wallis And Edward
Edward And Mrs Simpson


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by Stephen Luscombe