Wednesday, December 11, 2013


December 11, 2013


London, England (JFK+50) King Edward VIII* signed the instruments of abdication 77 years ago today, December 11, 1936 at Fort Belvedere.

The King officially abdicated before making a radio address informing the people of the British Empire of his decision.

Edward Prince of Wales
June 1932
German Federal Archives
Bundesarchiv, Bild 

In the speech, the King said:

"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burdens of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King...without the help and support of the woman I love."

After giving the speech, Edward left for Austria.

On November 16th, the King had informed Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin of his intention to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.**

Duchess of Windsor
Photo by Toni Frissell

When Edward was informed that this would be unacceptable because remarriage after divorce is opposed by the Church of England, he let it be known that he would abdicate.

Edward's brother, George VI, succeeded to the throne and gave Edward the title Duke of Windsor.

Edward and Wallis Simpson were married in June 1937.

*King Edward VIII (1894-1972) was born at White Lodge, Richmond Park near London during the reign of his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

He was educated at the Royal Naval College and served as a midshipman for 3 months.  Edward was invested as the Prince of Wales in 1911. 

Edward was the 1st Prince of Wales to deliver his address in Welch.  He served in WWI as an aide to Sir John French.  After the war, he traveled worldwide "in the interests of world peace and British trade."

Edward took the throne upon the death of King George V on Jan 20, 1936.  As King, he took an avid interest in the underprivileged and working classes.

Edward and Wallis Simpson
Kitzbuhel, Austria
February 1935

**Wallis Warfield Simpson (1896-1986) was born in Pennsylvania.  She divorced her 1st husband, Earl Spencer, Jr. in 1927 and married Ernest Simpson, a British-American businessman.  She met Edward, Prince of Wales in Jan 1931 and their affair was followed by divorce from Mr. Simpson.


The World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, 1967.