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King Edward VIII (1936)

Name: King Edward VIII
Full Name: Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
Born: June 23, 1894 at White Lodge, Richmond, Surrey
Parents: George V and Mary of Teck
Relation to Charles III: Granduncle
House of: Windsor
Ascended to the throne: Jan 20, 1936 aged 41 years
Crowned: Uncrowned
Married: Ms Wallis Simpson
Children: None
Died: May 28, 1972 at Paris, aged 77 years, 11 months, and 3 days
Buried at: Frogmore
Reigned for: 10 months, 21 days, Abdicated: December 11, 1936
Succeeded by: his brother George VI

Eldest son of King George V he was a popular Prince of Wales seen as a handsome young modernising influence on royal institutions. He served in the Army during World War I but was forbidden to go to the front line. He was known as David to his family, but his relationship with his parents deteriorated as he became a celebrity playboy who failed to settle down and had several affairs with married women.

He became King Edward VIII in January 1936 on the death of his father George V. In November 1936 a constitutional crisis arose when Edward wished to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson; it was felt that, as a she had already divorced her first husband and at the time Edward and Wallis had met she was still married to her second husband, she was pursuing the King because of his wealth and position and would be unacceptable as queen. On 11 December Edward abdicated and left for France, where the couple were married in 1937. He was succeeded by his brother Albert as George VI.

Edward and Wallis became The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, but were ostracised by his family who felt he had let them down and not done his duty. His views of appeasement on the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy and meeting with Adolf Hitler in 1937 led him to be given the role during World War II of Governor of the Bahamas out of the way of the war effort amid concerns of German plots to kidnap and use him. After the war they became mild celebrities in Europe and America but lived mostly in Paris where he died in 1972. They had no children.

King Edward VIII's Signature


‘I wanted to be an up-to-date king. But I didn't have much time.’ - Edward VIII

‘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 of the woman I love.’ - Edward VIII (abdication speech)

‘ ‘Of course, I do have a slight advantage over the rest of you. It helps in a pinch to be able to remind your bride that you gave up a throne for her.’ - Edward VIII

Timeline for King Edward VIII

Year Event
1936Edward VIII succeeds his father, George V, as King on 20 January.
1936Outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
1936Germany, under Adolf Hitler, reoccupies the demilitarized left bank of the Rhine.
1936Britain begins to rearm as political tension increases in Europe and the prospect of military conflict in the region becomes more evident.
1936Fire destroys Crystal Palace, once the home of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park but now located in Sydenham, south London.
1936J.M. Keynes publishes his book General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money an internationally influential study of modern economics.
1936Maiden voyage of luxury ocean liner the Queen Mary takes place.
1936Jarrow crusade of unemployed marches to London
1936The BBC inaugurates the world’s first television service at Alexandra Palace in London.
1936On 10 December Edward signs the Instrument of Abdication over his wish to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson. Witnessed by all his brothers, it is a simple declaration of his intent to renounce the throne for himself and all his descendants. He is subsequently created Duke of Windsor.