King Edward VIII
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Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972), later known as the Duke of Windsor, was
King of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
and the
Dominion The term ''Dominion'' is used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was first accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Un ...

Dominion
s of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...

British Empire
and
Emperor of India Emperor or Empress of India was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British Raj, British India, as its imperial head of state. Royal Procla ...
from 20 January 1936 until his abdication in December of the same year. Edward was born during the reign of his great-grandmother
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until Death and state funeral of Queen Victoria, her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 21 ...

Queen Victoria
as the eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later
King George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until Death and state funeral of George V, his death in 1936. Born duri ...

King George V
and
Queen Mary
Queen Mary
. He was created
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...

Prince of Wales
on his 16th birthday, seven weeks after his father succeeded as king. As a young man, Edward served in the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
during the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father. While Prince of Wales, he engaged in a series of sexual affairs that worried both his father and then-British prime minister
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the Interwar Britain, United Kingdom between the world wars, serv ...
. Upon his father's death in 1936, Edward became the second monarch of the
House of Windsor The House of Windsor is the reigning royal house of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast ...
. The new king showed impatience with court protocol, and caused concern among politicians by his apparent disregard for established constitutional conventions. Only months into his reign, a
constitutional crisis In political science, a constitutional crisis is a problem or conflict in the function of a government that the constitution, political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve. There are several variat ...
was caused by his proposal to marry
Wallis Simpson Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield, later Simpson; June 19, 1896 – April 24, 1986), was an American Socialite#United_States, socialite and wife of the former King Edward VIII. Their intention to marry and her status ...
, an American who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands was politically and socially unacceptable as a prospective queen consort. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as titular head of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
, which, at the time, disapproved of remarriage after divorce if a former spouse was still alive. Edward knew the Baldwin government would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have forced a general election and would have ruined his status as a politically neutral
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises their authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in decision making. Constitutional monarchies dif ...
. When it became apparent he could not marry Simpson and remain on the throne, he abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother,
George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a poli ...

George VI
. With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the
shortest-reigning
shortest-reigning
British monarchs to date. After his abdication, Edward was created
Duke of Windsor Duke of Windsor was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 8 March 1937 for the former monarch Edward VIII, following his Edward VIII abdication crisis, abdication on 11 December 1936. The dukedom takes its name from Winds ...
. He married Simpson in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final. Later that year, the couple toured Nazi Germany, which fed rumours that he was a Nazi sympathiser. During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, Edward was at first stationed with the British Military Mission to France but after the
Fall of France The Battle of France (french: bataille de France) (10 May – 25 June 1940), also known as the Western Campaign ('), the French Campaign (german: Frankreichfeldzug, ) and the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France France (), ...
was appointed
Governor of the Bahamas This is a list of governors of the Bahamas. The first English settlement in the Bahamas was on Eleuthera. In 1670, the king granted the Bahamas to the lord proprietor, lords proprietors of the Province of Carolina, but the islands were left to th ...
. After the war, Edward spent the rest of his life in France. He and Wallis remained married until his death in 1972; they had no children.


Early life

Edward was born on 23 June 1894 at
White Lodge, Richmond Park White Lodge is a Listed building, Grade I listed Georgian architecture, Georgian house situated in Richmond Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Formerly a royal residence, it now houses the Royal Ballet School, Royal Ballet Low ...
, on the outskirts of London during the reign of his great-grandmother
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until Death and state funeral of Queen Victoria, her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 21 ...

Queen Victoria
. He was the eldest son of the
Duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of royalty, or nobility Nobility is a social class found in many societies that have an aristocracy (class), aristocracy. It is normally ranked immediately ...
and
Duchess of York Duchess of York is the principal Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom, courtesy title held by the wife of the duke of York. Three of the eleven dukes of York either did not marry or had already assumed the throne prior to marriage, whilst two of ...
(later
King George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until Death and state funeral of George V, his death in 1936. Born duri ...

King George V
and
Queen Mary
Queen Mary
). His father was the son of the
Prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in s ...
and
Princess of Wales Princess of Wales ( Welsh: ''Tywysoges Cymru'') is a courtesy title used since the 14th century by the wife of the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be di ...
(later
King Edward VII Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India, from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria ...
and
Queen Alexandra Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was List of British royal consorts, Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, from 22 January 1901 t ...
). His mother was the eldest daughter of
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge Princess Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth of Cambridge (27 November 1833 – 27 October 1897), later Duke of Teck#The Teck branch of the Württembergs, Duchess of Teck, was a member of the British royal family. She was one of the first royals ...
and
Francis, Duke of Teck Francis, Duke of Teck, (Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander; 28 August 1837 – 21 January 1900) known as Count Francis von Hohenstein until 1863, was an Austrian-born nobleman who married into the British royal family. His wife, Princess Ma ...
. At the time of his birth, he was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind his grandfather and father. He was baptised ''Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David'' in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge on 16 July 1894 by Edward White Benson,
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally resp ...
. The name "Edward" was chosen in honour of Edward's late uncle
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (Albert Victor Christian Edward; 8 January 1864 – 14 January 1892) was the eldest child of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) and grandson of the ...
, who was known within the family as "Eddy" (Edward being among his given names); "Albert" was included at the behest of Queen Victoria for her late husband
Albert, Prince Consort Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Franz August Karl Albert Emanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the List of British royal consorts, consort of Queen Victoria from Wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and ...
; "Christian" was in honour of his great-grandfather King
Christian IX of Denmark Christian IX (8 April 181829 January 1906) was List of Danish monarchs, King of Denmark from 1863 until his death in 1906. From 1863 to 1864, he was concurrently List of dukes of Schleswig, Duke of Schleswig, List of dukes of Holstein, Holstein ...
; and the last four names –
George George may refer to: People * George (given name) * George (surname) * George (singer), American-Canadian singer George Nozuka, known by the mononym George * George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an Americ ...
, Andrew, Patrick and
David David (; , "beloved one") (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". w ...
– came from, respectively, the
patron saint A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Catholic Church, Catholicism, Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy is regarded as the heavenly advocacy, advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, ...
s of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
,
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
. He was always known to his family and close friends by his last given name, David. As was common practice with upper-class children of the time, Edward and his younger siblings were brought up by nannies rather than directly by their parents. One of Edward's early nannies often abused him by pinching him before he was due to be presented to his parents. His subsequent crying and wailing would lead the Duke and Duchess to send him and the nanny away. The nanny was discharged after her mistreatment of the children was discovered, and she was replaced by
Charlotte Bill Charlotte Jane "Lala" Bill (9 December 1875 – 13 December 1964) was an English nanny to the children of the George V of the United Kingdom, Duke and Mary of Teck, Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary. She was most closely involved ...
. Edward's father, though a harsh disciplinarian, was demonstratively affectionate, and his mother displayed a frolicsome side with her children that belied her austere public image. She was amused by the children making
tadpole A tadpole is the Larva, larval stage in the biological life cycle of an amphibian. Most tadpoles are fully Aquatic animal, aquatic, though some species of amphibians have tadpoles that are terrestrial animal, terrestrial. Tadpoles have some fi ...
s on toast for their French master as a prank, and encouraged them to confide in her.


Education

Initially, Edward was tutored at home by Helen Bricka. When his parents travelled the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...

British Empire
for almost nine months following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, young Edward and his siblings stayed in Britain with their grandparents Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII, who showered them with affection. Upon his parents' return, Edward was placed under the care of two men, Frederick Finch and Henry Hansell, who virtually brought up Edward and his brothers and sister for their remaining nursery years. Edward was kept under the strict tutorship of Hansell until almost thirteen years old. Private tutors taught him German and French. Edward took the examination to enter the
Royal Naval College, Osborne The Royal Naval College, Osborne, was a training college for Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings fro ...
, and began there in 1907. Hansell had wanted Edward to enter school earlier, but the prince's father had disagreed. Following two years at Osborne College, which he did not enjoy, Edward moved on to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. A course of two years, followed by entry into the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
, was planned. Edward automatically became
Duke of Cornwall Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England, traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch, previously the English monarch. The duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in Engla ...
and
Duke of Rothesay Duke of Rothesay ( ; gd, Diùc Baile Bhòid; sco, Duik o Rothesay) is a Substantive title, dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently William, Prince of Wales. William's wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, is the cur ...
on 6 May 1910 when his father ascended the throne as George V on the death of Edward VII. He was created
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...

Prince of Wales
and
Earl of Chester The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England during the Middle Ages, medieval period, from the end of the 5th century through to the start of the ...
a month later on 23 June 1910, his 16th birthday. Preparations for his future as king began in earnest. He was withdrawn from his naval course before his formal graduation, served as
midshipman A midshipman is an officer of the lowest Military rank#Subordinate/student officer, rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Royal Can ...
for three months aboard the battleship ''
Hindustan ''Hindūstān'' ( , from '' Hindū'' and ''-stān''), also sometimes spelt as Hindōstān ( ''Indo-land''), along with its shortened form ''Hind'' (), is the Persian-language name for the Indian subcontinent that later became commonly used b ...
'', then immediately entered
Magdalen College, Oxford Magdalen College (, ) is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Today, it is the fourth wealthiest college, with a financial endowment of £332.1 ...
, for which, in the opinion of his biographers, he was underprepared intellectually. A keen horseman, he learned how to play polo with the university polo club. He left Oxford after eight terms, without any academic qualifications.Parker, pp. 14–16


Prince of Wales

Edward was officially invested as Prince of Wales in a special ceremony at
Caernarfon Castle Caernarfon Castle ( cy, Castell Caernarfon ) – often anglicised as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle – is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environ ...
on 13 July 1911. The investiture took place in Wales, at the instigation of the Welsh politician
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was a Liberal Party (United Kingdom), Liberal Party politician from Wales, known for lea ...
, Constable of the Castle and
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
in the Liberal government.Windsor, p. 78 Lloyd George invented a rather fanciful ceremony in the style of a Welsh pageant, and coached Edward to speak a few words in Welsh. When the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
broke out in 1914, Edward had reached the minimum age for active service and was keen to participate. He had joined the
Grenadier Guards "Shamed be whoever thinks ill of it." , colors = , colors_label = , march = Slow: "Scipione, Scipio" , mascot = , equipment = , ...
in June 1914, and although Edward was willing to serve on the front lines,
Secretary of State for War The Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of Sta ...
Lord Kitchener refused to allow it, citing the immense harm that would occur if the heir apparent to the throne were captured by the enemy. Despite this, Edward witnessed
trench warfare Trench warfare is a type of land warfare using occupied lines largely comprising Trench#Military engineering, military trenches, in which troops are well-protected from the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artille ...
first-hand and visited the front line as often as he could, for which he was awarded the
Military Cross The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level pre-1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) Other ranks (UK), other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth of Na ...
in 1916. His role in the war, although limited, made him popular among veterans of the conflict. He undertook his first military flight in 1918, and later gained a pilot's licence. Edward's youngest brother, Prince John, died at the age of 13 on 18 January 1919 after a severe
epileptic seizure An epileptic seizure, informally known as a seizure, is a period of symptoms due to abnormally excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. Outward effects vary from uncontrolled shaking movements involving much of the body with ...
. Edward, who was 11 years older than John and had hardly known him, saw his death as "little more than a regrettable nuisance".Ziegler, p. 80 He wrote to his mistress of the time that " e hadtold erall about that little brother, and how he was an epileptic. ohns been practically shut up for the last two years anyhow, so no one has ever seen him except the family, and then only once or twice a year. This poor boy had become more of an animal than anything else." He also wrote an insensitive letter to his mother which has since been lost. She did not reply, but he felt compelled to write her an apology, in which he stated: "I feel such a cold hearted and unsympathetic swine for writing all that I did ... No one can realize more than you how little poor Johnnie meant to me who hardly knew him ... I feel so much for you, darling Mama, who was his mother." Throughout the 1920s, Edward, as the Prince of Wales, represented his father at home and abroad on many occasions. His rank, travels, good looks, and unmarried status gained him much public attention. At the height of his popularity, he was the most photographed celebrity of his time and he set men's fashion. During his 1924 visit to the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, '' Men's Wear'' magazine observed, "The average young man in America is more interested in the clothes of the Prince of Wales than in any other individual on earth." Edward visited poverty-stricken areas of Britain, and undertook 16 tours to various parts of the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". The center of the empire (sometimes referred to as the metropole) ex ...
between 1919 and 1935. On a tour of Canada in 1919, he acquired the Bedingfield ranch, near Pekisko, Alberta. He escaped unharmed when the train he was riding in during a tour of Australia was derailed outside
Perth Perth is the list of Australian capital cities, capital and largest city of the Australian states and territories of Australia, state of Western Australia. It is the list of cities in Australia by population, fourth most populous city in Aust ...
in 1920. Edward's November 1921 visit to India came during the
non-cooperation movement The Non-cooperation movement was a political campaign launched on 4 September 1920, by Mahatma Gandhi to have Indians revoke their cooperation from the British government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = H ...
protests for Indian self-rule, and was marked by riots in Bombay. In 1929 Sir Alexander Leith, a leading
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
in the
north of England Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North Country, or simply the North, is the northern area of England. It broadly corresponds to the former borders of Angles, Angle Northumbria, the Anglo-Scandinavian Scandinavian York, K ...
, persuaded him to make a three-day visit to the
County Durham County Durham ( ), officially simply Durham,UK General Acts 1997 c. 23Lieutenancies Act 1997 Schedule 1(3). From legislation.gov.uk, retrieved 6 April 2022. is a ceremonial county in North East England.North East Assembly About North East Eng ...
and Northumberland coalfields, where there was much
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
. From January to April 1931, the Prince of Wales and his brother Prince George travelled on a tour of
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the souther ...
, steaming out on the
ocean liner An ocean liner is a passenger ship primarily used as a form of transportation across seas or oceans. Ocean liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (such as for pleasure cruises or as hospital ships). Ca ...
, and returning via Paris and an
Imperial Airways Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long-range airline, operating from 1924 to 1939 and principally serving the British Empire routes to Union of South Africa, South Africa, British India, India, Australia and the Far East, inclu ...
flight from Paris–Le Bourget Airport that landed specially in
Windsor Great Park Windsor Great Park is a Royal Park of , including a Deer park (England), deer park, to the south of the town of Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. It is adjacent to the private Home Park, Windsor, Ho ...
. Though widely travelled, Edward shared a widely held racial prejudice against foreigners and many of the Empire's subjects, believing that whites were inherently superior. In 1920, on his visit to Australia, he wrote of
Indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians or Australian First Nations are people with familial heritage from, and membership in, the ethnic groups that lived in Australia before History of Australia (1788–1850), British colonisation. They consist of two distin ...
: "they are the most revolting form of living creatures I've ever seen!! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys." In 1919, Edward agreed to be president of the organising committee for the proposed
British Empire Exhibition The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley Park, London England from 23 April to 1 November 1924 and from 9 May to 31 October 1925. Background In 1920 the Government of the United Kingdom, British Government decided ...
at
Wembley Park Wembley Park is a district of the London Borough of Brent, England. It is roughly centred on Bridge Road, a mile northeast of Wembley town centre and northwest from Charing Cross. The name Wembley Park refers to the area that, at its broadest ...
,
Middlesex Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England, southeast England. Its area is almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London and mostly within the Ceremonial counties of ...
. He wished the Exhibition to include "a great national sports ground", and so played a part in the creation of
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium ...
.


Romances

By 1917, Edward liked to spend time partying in Paris while he was on leave from his regiment on the Western Front. He was introduced to Parisian courtesan Marguerite Alibert, with whom he became infatuated. He wrote her candid letters, which she kept. After about a year, Edward broke off the affair. In 1923, Alibert was acquitted in a spectacular murder trial after she shot her husband in the
Savoy Hotel The Savoy Hotel is a luxury hotel located in the Strand, London, Strand in the City of Westminster in central London, England. Built by the impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions, it opened ...
. Desperate efforts were made by the Royal Household to ensure that Edward's name was not mentioned in connection with the trial or Alibert. Edward's womanising and reckless behaviour during the 1920s and 1930s worried Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the Interwar Britain, United Kingdom between the world wars, serv ...
, King George V, and those close to the prince. George V was disappointed by his son's failure to settle down in life, disgusted by his affairs with married women, and reluctant to see him inherit the Crown. "After I am dead," George said, "the boy will ruin himself in twelve months." George V favoured his second son Albert ("Bertie") and Albert's daughter Elizabeth ("Lilibet"), later
King George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until Death and state funeral of George VI, his death in 1952. ...
and
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
respectively. He told a courtier, "I pray to God that my eldest son will never marry and have children, and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne." In 1929, ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' magazine reported that Edward teased Albert's wife, also named Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), by calling her "Queen Elizabeth". The magazine asked if "she did not sometimes wonder how much truth there is in the story that he once said he would renounce his rights upon the death of George V – which would make her nickname come true". In 1930, George V gave Edward the lease of Fort Belvedere in
Windsor Great Park Windsor Great Park is a Royal Park of , including a Deer park (England), deer park, to the south of the town of Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. It is adjacent to the private Home Park, Windsor, Ho ...
. There, he continued his relationships with a series of married women, including Freda Dudley Ward and
Lady Furness Thelma Furness, Viscountess Furness (née Morgan, 23 August 1904 – 29 January 1970), was a mistress of King Edward VIII while he was Prince of Wales. She was supplanted in his affections by Wallis Simpson, for whose sake Edward abdicated and b ...
, the American wife of a British peer, who introduced the prince to her friend and fellow American
Wallis Simpson Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield, later Simpson; June 19, 1896 – April 24, 1986), was an American Socialite#United_States, socialite and wife of the former King Edward VIII. Their intention to marry and her status ...
. Simpson had divorced her first husband, U.S. Navy officer Win Spencer, in 1927. Her second husband,
Ernest Simpson Ernest Aldrich Simpson (6 May 1897 – 30 November 1958) was an United States, American-born British people, British Freight transport, shipbroker, best known as the second husband of Wallis Simpson, later wife of the former King Edward VIII. ...
, was a British-American businessman. Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales, it is generally accepted, became lovers, while Lady Furness travelled abroad, although the prince adamantly insisted to his father that he was not having an affair with her and that it was not appropriate to describe her as his mistress. Edward's relationship with Simpson, however, further weakened his poor relationship with his father. Although his parents met Simpson at Buckingham Palace in 1935, they later refused to receive her. Edward's affair with an American divorcée led to such grave concern that the couple were followed by members of the Metropolitan Police
Special Branch Special Branch is a label customarily used to identify units responsible for matters of national security and Intelligence (information gathering), intelligence in Policing in the United Kingdom, British, Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth, ...
, who examined in secret the nature of their relationship. An undated report detailed a visit by the couple to an antique shop, where the proprietor later noted "that the lady seemed to have POW rince of Walescompletely under her thumb." The prospect of having an American divorcée with a questionable past having such sway over the
heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person; a person who is first in the order of succession but can be displaced by the b ...
led to anxiety among government and establishment figures.


Reign

George V died on 20 January 1936, and Edward ascended the throne as Edward VIII. The next day, accompanied by Simpson, he broke with custom by watching the proclamation of his own accession from a window of
St James's Palace St James's Palace is the most senior royal palace in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. The palace gives its name to the Court of St James's, which is the monarch's royal court, and is located in the City of Westminster in London. Altho ...
. He became the first monarch of the British Empire to fly in an
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. ...
when he flew from Sandringham to London for his Accession Council. Matthew, H. C. G. (September 2004; online edition January 2008
"Edward VIII, later Prince Edward, duke of Windsor (1894–1972)"
, ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, , retrieved 1 May 2010 (Subscription required)
Edward caused unease in government circles with actions that were interpreted as interference in political matters. His comment during a tour of depressed villages in
South Wales South Wales ( cy, De Cymru) is a Regions of Wales, loosely defined region of Wales bordered by England to the east and mid Wales to the north. Generally considered to include the Historic counties of Wales, historic counties of Glamorgan and Mon ...
that "something must be done" for the unemployed coal miners was seen as an attempt to guide government policy, though he had not proposed any remedy or change in policy. Government ministers were reluctant to send confidential documents and state papers to Fort Belvedere, because it was clear that Edward was paying little attention to them, and it was feared that Simpson and other house guests might read them, improperly or inadvertently revealing government secrets. Edward's unorthodox approach to his role also extended to the coinage that bore his image. He broke with the tradition that the profile portrait of each successive monarch faced in the direction opposite to that of his or her predecessor. Edward insisted that he face left (as his father had done), to show the parting in his hair. Only a handful of test coins were struck before the abdication, and all are very rare. When George VI succeeded to the throne he also faced left to maintain the tradition by suggesting that, had any further coins been minted featuring Edward's portrait, they would have shown him facing right. On 16 July 1936, Jerome Bannigan, alias George Andrew McMahon, produced a loaded revolver as Edward rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is a London royal official residence, residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and roya ...
. Police spotted the gun and pounced on him; he was quickly arrested. At Bannigan's trial, he alleged that "a foreign power" had approached him to kill Edward, that he had informed MI5 of the plan, and that he was merely seeing the plan through to help MI5 catch the real culprits. The court rejected the claims and sent him to jail for a year for "intent to alarm". It is now thought that Bannigan had indeed been in contact with MI5, but the veracity of the remainder of his claims remains debatable. In August and September, Edward and Simpson cruised the
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the East, eastern approximate One half, half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea, often defined as the countries around the Levantine Sea. It typically embraces all of that sea's coastal zones, refe ...
on the steam yacht '' Nahlin''. By October it was becoming clear that the new king planned to marry Simpson, especially when divorce proceedings between the Simpsons were brought at
Ipswich Ipswich () is a port town and Borough status in the United Kingdom, borough in Suffolk, England, of which it is the county town. The town is located in East Anglia about away from the River mouth, mouth of the River Orwell and the North Sea. I ...
Assizes The courts of assize, or assizes (), were periodic courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the quarter sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes ex ...
. Although gossip about his affair was widespread in the United States, the British media kept silent voluntarily, and the general public knew nothing until early December.


Abdication

On 16 November 1936, Edward invited Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the Interwar Britain, United Kingdom between the world wars, serv ...
to
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is a London royal official residence, residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and roya ...
and expressed his desire to marry Simpson when she became free to remarry. Baldwin informed him that his subjects would deem the marriage morally unacceptable, largely because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
, and the people would not tolerate Simpson as queen. As king, Edward was the titular
head of the Church Head of the Church is a title given in the New Testament to Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Na ...
, and the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the ter ...
expected him to support the Church's teachings. The
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally resp ...
,
Cosmo Gordon Lang William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth, (31 October 1864 – 5 December 1945) was a Scottish Church of England, Anglican prelate who served as Archbishop of York (1908–1928) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1928–1942). His elev ...
, was vocal in insisting that Edward must go. Edward proposed an alternative solution of a
morganatic marriage Morganatic marriage, sometimes called a left-handed marriage, is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which in the context of royal family, royalty or other List of titles, inherited title prevents the principal's position or privileg ...
, in which he would remain king but Simpson would not become queen consort. She would enjoy some lesser title instead, and any children they might have would not inherit the throne. This was supported by senior politician
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
in principle, and some historians suggest that he conceived the plan. In any event, it was ultimately rejected by the British Cabinet as well as other
Dominion The term ''Dominion'' is used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was first accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Un ...

Dominion
governments. The other governments' views were sought pursuant to the
Statute of Westminster 1931 The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an act of Parliament (UK), act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that sets the basis for the relationship between the Commonwealth realms and the Crown. Passed on 11 December 1931, the statute increase ...
, which provided in part that "any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
." The Prime Ministers of Australia (
Joseph Lyons Joseph Aloysius Lyons (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939) was an Australian politician who served as the List of prime ministers of Australia by time in office, 10th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1932 until his death in 1939. He ...
),
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
(
Mackenzie King William Lyon Mackenzie King (December 17, 1874 – July 22, 1950) was a Canadian statesman and politician who served as the tenth prime minister of Canada for three non-consecutive terms from 1921 to 1926, 1926 to 1930, and 1935 to 1948. A Li ...
) and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
( J. B. M. Hertzog) made clear their opposition to the king marrying a divorcée; their Irish counterpart (
Éamon de Valera Éamon de Valera (, ; first registered as George de Valero; changed some time before 1901 to Edward de Valera; 14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was a prominent Irish statesman and political leader. He served several terms as head of governm ...
) expressed indifference and detachment, while the
Prime Minister of New Zealand The prime minister of New Zealand ( mi, Te pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government of New Zealand. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017. The prime minister (informa ...
( Michael Joseph Savage), having never heard of Simpson before, vacillated in disbelief. Faced with this opposition, Edward at first responded that there were "not many people in Australia" and their opinion did not matter. Edward informed Baldwin that he would abdicate if he could not marry Simpson. Baldwin then presented Edward with three options: give up the idea of marriage; marry against his ministers' wishes; or abdicate. It was clear that Edward was not prepared to give up Simpson, and he knew that if he married against the advice of his ministers, he would cause the government to resign, prompting a constitutional crisis. He chose to abdicate. Edward duly signed the instruments of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 December 1936 in the presence of his younger brothers: Prince Albert, Duke of York, next in line for the throne;
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (Henry William Frederick Albert; 31 March 1900 – 10 June 1974) was the third son and fourth child of King George V and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary. He served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947, ...
; and
Prince George, Duke of Kent Prince George, Duke of Kent, (George Edward Alexander Edmund; 20 December 1902 – 25 August 1942) was a member of the British royal family, the fourth son of King George V and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary. He was a younger brother of kings Edward ...
.Windsor, p. 407 The document included these words: "declare my irrevocable determination to renounce the throne for myself and for my descendants and my desire that effect should be given to this instrument of abdication immediately". The next day, the last act of his reign was the
royal assent Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in other ...
to
His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 (1 Edw. 8 & 1 Geo. 6 c. 3) is the Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that recognised and ratified the abdication of King Edward VIII and passed succession to his broth ...
. As required by the Statute of Westminster, all the Dominions had already consented to the abdication. On the night of 11 December 1936, Edward, now reverted to the title and style of a prince, explained his decision to abdicate in a worldwide
BBC radio BBC Radio is an operational Division (business), business division and service of the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation (which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a BBC Charter, royal charter since 1927). The service provi ...
broadcast. He said, "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 added that the "decision was mine and mine alone ... The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course". Edward departed Britain for
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
the following day; he was unable to join Simpson until her divorce became absolute, several months later. His brother, the Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as
George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a poli ...

George VI
. Accordingly, George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became
heir presumptive An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. ...
.


Duke of Windsor

On 12 December 1936, at the accession meeting of the
Privy Council of the United Kingdom The Privy Council (PC), officially His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the sovereign of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Uni ...
, George VI announced his intention to make his brother the "Duke of Windsor" with the style of ''
Royal Highness Royal Highness is a style (manner of address), style used to address or refer to some members of royal family, royal families, usually princes or princesses. Monarchs and their wiktionary:consort, consorts are usually styled ''Majesty''. When ...
''. He wanted this to be the first act of his reign, although the formal documents were not signed until 8 March the following year. During the interim, Edward was known as the Duke of Windsor. George VI's decision to create Edward a
royal duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, t ...
ensured that he could neither stand for election to the
British House of Commons The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster in London, England. The House of Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 mem ...
nor speak on political subjects in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
.
Letters Patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) (plurale tantum, always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, President (government title), president or other head of state, genera ...
dated 27 May 1937 re-conferred the "title, style, or attribute of Royal Highness" upon the Duke, but specifically stated that "his wife and descendants, if any, shall not hold said title or attribute". Some British ministers advised that the reconfirmation was unnecessary since Edward had retained the style automatically, and further that Simpson would automatically obtain the rank of wife of a prince with the style ''Her Royal Highness''; others maintained that he had lost all royal rank and should no longer carry any royal title or style as an abdicated king, and be referred to simply as "Mr Edward Windsor". On 14 April 1937,
Attorney General In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG or Atty.-Gen) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general. In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have exec ...
Sir Donald Somervell submitted to
Home Secretary The secretary of state for the Home Department, otherwise known as the home secretary, is a senior minister of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom. The home secretary leads the Home Office, and is responsible for all national s ...
Sir John Simon a memorandum summarising the views of
Lord Advocate His Majesty's Advocate, known as the Lord Advocate ( gd, Morair Tagraidh, sco, Laird Advocat), is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolution, ...
T. M. Cooper, Parliamentary Counsel Sir Granville Ram, and himself: The Duke married Simpson, who had changed her name by
deed poll A deed poll (plural: deeds poll) is a legal document binding on a single person or several persons acting jointly to express an intention or create an obligation. It is a deed, and not a contract because it binds only one party (law), party. Et ...
to Wallis Warfield (her birth surname), in a private ceremony on 3 June 1937, at Château de Candé, near
Tours Tours ( , ) is one of the largest cities in the region of Centre-Val de Loire, France. It is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, department of Indre-et-Loire. The Communes of France, commune of Tours had 136,463 ...
, France. When the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
refused to sanction the union, a
County Durham County Durham ( ), officially simply Durham,UK General Acts 1997 c. 23Lieutenancies Act 1997 Schedule 1(3). From legislation.gov.uk, retrieved 6 April 2022. is a ceremonial county in North East England.North East Assembly About North East Eng ...
clergyman, the Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine (Vicar of St Paul's,
Darlington Darlington is a market town in the Borough of Darlington, County Durham, England. The River Skerne flows through the town; it is a tributary of the River Tees. The Tees itself flows south of the town. In the 19th century, Darlington underwen ...
), offered to perform the ceremony, and the Duke accepted. George VI forbade members of the royal family to attend, to the lasting resentment of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Edward had particularly wanted his brothers the dukes of Gloucester and Kent and his second cousin
Lord Louis Mountbatten Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979) was a British naval officer, colonial administrator and close relative of the British royal family. Mountbatten, who was of German ...
to attend the ceremony. The denial of the style Royal Highness to the Duchess of Windsor caused further conflict, as did the financial settlement. The Government declined to include the Duke or Duchess on the
Civil List A civil list is a list of individuals to whom money is paid by the government, typically for service to the state or as honorary pensions. It is a term especially associated with the United Kingdom and its former colonies of Canada, India, New Zeal ...
, and the Duke's allowance was paid personally by George VI. The Duke compromised his position with his brother by concealing the extent of his financial worth when they informally agreed on the amount of the allowance. Edward's wealth had accumulated from the revenues of the
Duchy of Cornwall The Duchy of Cornwall ( kw, Duketh Kernow) is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch obtains possession of the duchy and the ...
paid to him as
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...

Prince of Wales
and ordinarily at the disposal of an incoming king. George VI also paid Edward for
Sandringham House Sandringham House is a English country house, country house in the parish of Sandringham, Norfolk, England. It is one of the List of British royal residences, royal residences of Charles III, whose grandfather, George VI, and great-grandfather, ...
and
Balmoral Castle Balmoral Castle () is a large estate house in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and a List of British royal residences, residence of the British royal family. It is near the village of Crathie, Aberdeenshire, Crathie, west of Ballater and west of Aber ...
, which were Edward's personal property, inherited from his father and thus did not automatically pass to George VI on his accession.Ziegler, pp. 376–378 Edward received approximately £300,000 (equivalent to between £21 million and £140 million in 2021) for both residences which was paid to him in yearly instalments. In the early days of George VI's reign the Duke telephoned daily, importuning for money and urging that the Duchess be granted the style of Royal Highness, until the harassed king ordered that the calls not be put through. Relations between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the royal family were strained for decades. The Duke had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exile in France. King George VI (with the support of Queen Mary and his wife Queen Elizabeth) threatened to cut off Edward's allowance if he returned to Britain without an invitation. Edward became embittered against his mother, Queen Mary, writing to her in 1939: " our last letterdestroy dthe last vestige of feeling I had left for you ... nd hasmade further normal correspondence between us impossible."Ziegler, p. 384 In October 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
, against the advice of the British government, and met
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
at his Berghof retreat in
Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the sec ...
. The visit was much publicised by the German media. During the visit the Duke gave full
Nazi salute The Nazi salute, also known as the Hitler salute (german: link=no, Hitlergruß, , Hitler greeting, ; also called by the Nazi Party , 'German greeting', ), or the ''Sieg Heil'' salute, is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany. Th ...
s. In Germany, "they were treated like royalty ... members of the aristocracy would bow and curtsy towards her, and she was treated with all the dignity and status that the duke always wanted", according to royal biographer Andrew Morton in a 2016 BBC interview. The former Austrian ambassador, Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, who was also a second cousin once removed and friend of George V, believed that Edward favoured German
fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
as a bulwark against
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
, and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany. According to the Duke of Windsor, the experience of "the unending scenes of horror" during the First World War led him to support
appeasement Appeasement in an international context is a diplomacy, diplomatic policy of making political, material, or territorial concessions to an aggressive power (international relations), power in order to avoid conflict. The term is most often appli ...
. Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Germany and thought that Anglo-German relations could have been improved through Edward if it were not for the abdication.
Albert Speer Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer (; ; 19 March 1905 – 1 September 1981) was a German architect who served as the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production, Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany during most of ...
quoted Hitler directly: "I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us." The Duke and Duchess settled in Paris, leasing a mansion in from late 1938.


Second World War

In May 1939, the Duke was commissioned by NBC to give a radio broadcast (his first since abdicating) during a visit to the First World War battlefields of
Verdun Verdun (, , , ; official name before 1970 ''Verdun-sur-Meuse'') is a large city in the Meuse (department), Meuse departments of France, department in Grand Est, northeastern France. It is an arrondissement of the department. Verdun is the b ...
. In it he appealed for peace, saying "I am deeply conscious of the presence of the great company of the dead, and I am convinced that could they make their voices heard they would be with me in what I am about to say. I speak simply as a soldier of the Last War whose most earnest prayer it is that such cruel and destructive madness shall never again overtake mankind. There is no land whose people want war." The broadcast was heard across the world by millions. It was widely regarded as supporting appeasement, and the
BBC #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board exam. ...
refused to broadcast it.Bradford, p. 285; Ziegler, pp. 398–399 It was broadcast outside the United States on shortwave radio and was reported in full by British broadsheet newspapers. On the outbreak of the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
in September 1939, the Duke and Duchess were brought back to Britain by Louis Mountbatten on board HMS ''Kelly'', and Edward, although he held the rank of
field marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually, it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is considered as ...
, was made a
major-general Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...
attached to the British Military Mission in France. In February 1940, the German ambassador in
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a list of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, situated on the west coast facing the North Sea. The Hague is the country's ad ...
, Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, claimed that the Duke had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium, which the Duke later denied. When Germany invaded the north of France in May 1940, the Windsors fled south, first to
Biarritz Biarritz ( , , , ; Basque language, Basque also ; oc, Biàrritz ) is a city on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Departments of France, department in the French Basque Country in Southern France, southwes ...
, then in June to
Francoist Spain Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), or the Francoist dictatorship (), was the period of Spanish history between 1939 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain after the Spanish Civil War with the title . After his death in 1975, Spani ...
. In July the pair moved to
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
, where they lived at first in the home of Ricardo Espírito Santo, a Portuguese banker with both British and German contacts. Under the code name Operation Willi, Nazi agents, principally Walter Schellenberg, plotted unsuccessfully to persuade the Duke to leave Portugal and return to Spain, kidnapping him if necessary. Lord Caldecote wrote a warning to
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
, who by this point was prime minister, that " he Dukeis well-known to be pro-Nazi and he may become a centre of intrigue." Churchill threatened the Duke with a
court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
if he did not return to British soil. In July 1940, Edward was appointed
governor of the Bahamas This is a list of governors of the Bahamas. The first English settlement in the Bahamas was on Eleuthera. In 1670, the king granted the Bahamas to the lord proprietor, lords proprietors of the Province of Carolina, but the islands were left to th ...
. The Duke and Duchess left
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
on 1 August aboard the
American Export Lines American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines, New York, was the leading US-flag shipping company between the U.S. east coast and the Mediterranean from 1919 to 1977, offering both cargo ship and passenger ship services, until it declared bankruptcy and w ...
steamship ''
Excalibur Excalibur () is the Legendary swords, legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes also magic sword, attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Britain. It was associated with the Arthurian legend very early on. E ...
'', which was specially diverted from its usual direct course to
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...
so that they could be dropped off at
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song_type = National song , song = "Hail to Bermuda" , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , mapsize2 = , map_caption2 = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = , es ...
on the 9th. They left Bermuda for Nassau on the Canadian National Steamship Company vessel ''Lady Somers'' on 15 August, arriving two days later. The Duke did not enjoy being governor and privately referred to the islands as "a third-class
British colony The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are the last remna ...
". The
British Foreign Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. Equivalent to other countries' Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ministries of fore ...
strenuously objected when the Duke and Duchess planned to cruise aboard a yacht belonging to Swedish magnate
Axel Wenner-Gren Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren (5 June 1881 – 24 November 1961) was a Swedish people, Swedish entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest men in the world during the 1930s. Early life He was born on 5 June 1881 in Uddevalla, a town on the west coast ...
, whom British and American intelligence wrongly believed to be a close friend of
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial warfare, aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht'' before and during World War II. German Empire, Germany's military air arms during World War I, the ''Luftstreitkräfte'' of the German Army (Ge ...
commander Hermann Göring. The Duke was praised for his efforts to combat poverty on the islands, although he was as contemptuous of the Bahamians as he was of most non-white peoples of the Empire. He said of Étienne Dupuch, the editor of the ''Nassau Daily Tribune'': "It must be remembered that Dupuch is more than half
Negro In the English language, ''negro'' is a term historically used to denote persons considered to be of Black people, Black African heritage. The word ''negro'' means the color black in both Spanish and in Portuguese, where English took it from. T ...
, and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race, they seem unable to rise to prominence without losing their equilibrium." He was praised, even by Dupuch, for his resolution of civil unrest over low wages in Nassau in 1942, even though he blamed the trouble on "mischief makers – communists" and "men of Central European Jewish descent, who had secured jobs as a pretext for obtaining a deferment of draft". He resigned from the post on 16 March 1945. Many historians have suggested that
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
was prepared to reinstate Edward as king in the hope of establishing a fascist
puppet government A puppet state, puppet régime, puppet government or dummy government, is a State (polity), state that is ''de jure'' independent but ''de facto'' completely dependent upon an outside Power (international relations), power and subject to its o ...
in Britain after
Operation Sea Lion Operation Sea Lion, also written as Operation Sealion (german: Unternehmen Seelöwe), was Nazi Germany's code name for the plan for an invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. Following the Battle o ...
. It is widely believed that the Duke and Duchess sympathised with fascism before and during the Second World War, and were moved to the Bahamas to minimise their opportunities to act on those feelings. In 1940 he said: "In the past 10 years Germany has totally reorganised the order of its society ... Countries which were unwilling to accept such a reorganisation of society and its concomitant sacrifices should direct their policies accordingly." During the
occupation of France The Military Administration in France (german: Militärverwaltung in Frankreich; french: Occupation de la France par l'Allemagne) was an military Administration (Nazi Germany), interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during Wor ...
, the Duke asked the German
Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), the ''Kriegsmarine'' (navy) and the ''Luftwaffe'' (air force). The designation "''Wehrmach ...
forces to place guards at his
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), ma ...
and
Riviera ''Riviera'' () is an Italian language, Italian word which means "coastline", ultimately derived from Latin language, Latin , through Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian . It came to be applied as a proper name to the coast of Liguria, in the form ...
homes; they did so. In December 1940, the Duke gave
Fulton Oursler Charles Fulton Oursler (January 22, 1893 – May 24, 1952) was an American journalist, playwright, editor and writer. Writing as Anthony Abbot, he was an author of mysteries and detective fiction. His son was the journalist and author Will Ou ...
of ''
Liberty Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society fr ...
'' magazine an interview at Government House in Nassau. Oursler conveyed its content to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a private meeting at the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...
on 23 December 1940. The interview was published on 22 March 1941 and in it the Duke was reported to have said that "Hitler was the right and logical leader of the German people" and that the time was coming for President Roosevelt to mediate a peace settlement. The Duke protested that he had been misquoted and misinterpreted. The Allies became sufficiently disturbed by German plots revolving around the Duke that President Roosevelt ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited
Palm Beach, Florida Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida. Located on a barrier island in east-central Palm Beach County, the town is separated from several nearby cities including West Palm Beach, Florida, West Palm Beach and Lake Wort ...
, in April 1941. Duke Carl Alexander of Württemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) had told the
Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic Intelligence agency, intelligence and Security agency, security service of the United States and its principal Federal law enforcement in the United States, federal law enforcement age ...
that the Duchess had slept with the German ambassador in London,
Joachim von Ribbentrop Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop (; 30 April 1893 – 16 October 1946) was a German politician and diplomat who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nazi Germany from 1938 to 1945. Rib ...
, in 1936; had remained in constant contact with him; and had continued to leak secrets. Author Charles Higham claimed that Anthony Blunt, an MI5 agent and
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
spy, acting on orders from the British royal family, made a successful secret trip to Schloss Friedrichshof in
Allied-occupied Germany Germany was already de facto military occupation, occupied by the Allies of World War II, Allies from the real German Instrument of Surrender, fall of Nazi Germany in World War II on 8 May 1945 to the establishment of the East Germany on 7 Octo ...
towards the end of the war to retrieve sensitive letters between the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazis. What is certain is that George VI sent the Royal Librarian, Owen Morshead, accompanied by Blunt, then working part-time in the Royal Library as well as for British intelligence, to Friedrichshof in March 1945 to secure papers relating to the German Empress Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria. Looters had stolen part of the castle's archive, including surviving letters between daughter and mother, as well as other valuables, some of which were recovered in Chicago after the war. The papers rescued by Morshead and Blunt, and those returned by the American authorities from Chicago, were deposited in the Royal Archives. In the late 1950s, documents recovered by U.S. troops in
Marburg Marburg ( or ) is a college town, university town in the States of Germany, German federal state (''Bundesland'') of Hesse, capital of the Marburg-Biedenkopf Districts of Germany, district (''Landkreis''). The town area spreads along the valley ...
, Germany, in May 1945, since titled the Marburg Files, were published following more than a decade of suppression, enhancing theories of the Duke's sympathies for Nazi ideologies. After the war, the Duke admitted in his memoirs that he admired the Germans, but he denied being pro-Nazi. Of Hitler he wrote: " he'' Führer'' struck me as a somewhat ridiculous figure, with his theatrical posturings and his bombastic pretensions." In the 1950s, journalist Frank Giles said he heard the Duke blame British Foreign Secretary
Anthony Eden Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 until his resignation in 195 ...
for helping to "precipitate the war through his treatment of
Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
 ... that's what dendid, he helped to bring on the war ... and of course Roosevelt and the Jews". During the 1960s the Duke said privately to a friend, Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, "I never thought Hitler was such a bad chap."


Later life

At the end of the war, the couple returned to France and spent the remainder of their lives essentially in retirement as the Duke never held another official role. Correspondence between the Duke and Kenneth de Courcy, dated between 1946 and 1949, emerged in a U.S. library in 2009. The letters suggest a scheme where the Duke would return to England and place himself in a position for a possible
regency A regent (from Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin: 'for the time being') because the monarch is a minor, absent, incapacitated or unable to discharge the powers and duties of the monarchy, ...
. The health of George VI was failing and de Courcy was concerned about the influence of the
Mountbatten family The Mountbatten family is a British dynasty that originated as an English branch of the German princely Battenberg family. The name was adopted on 14 July 1917, three days before the British royal family changed its name to “Windsor”, by m ...
over the young Princess Elizabeth. De Courcy suggested the Duke buy a working agricultural estate within an easy drive of London in order to gain favour with the British public and make himself available should the King become incapacitated. The Duke, however, hesitated and the King recovered from his surgery. The Duke's allowance was supplemented by government favours and illegal currency trading. The City of Paris provided the Duke with a house at 4 route du Champ d'Entraînement, on the
Neuilly-sur-Seine Neuilly-sur-Seine (; literally 'Neuilly on Seine'), also known simply as Neuilly, is a Communes of France, commune in the Departments of France, department of Hauts-de-Seine in France, just west of Paris. Immediately adjacent to the city, the are ...
side of the
Bois de Boulogne The Bois de Boulogne (, "Boulogne woodland") is a large public park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine. The land was ceded to the city of Paris b ...
, for a nominal rent. The French government also exempted him from paying
income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
,Roberts, p. 53Bradford, p. 446 and the couple were able to buy goods
duty-free A duty-free shop (or store) is a retailing, retail outlet whose goods are exempt from the payment of certain local or national taxes and duty (tax), duties, on the requirement that the goods sold will be sold to travelers who will take them ...
through the
British embassy This is a list of diplomatic missions of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding honorary consulates. The UK has one of the largest global networks of diplomatic missions. UK diplomatic missions to capit ...
and the military commissary. In 1952, they bought and renovated a weekend country retreat, ''Le Moulin de la Tuilerie'' at Gif-sur-Yvette, the only property the couple ever owned themselves. In 1951, the Duke had produced a ghost-written memoir, ''A King's Story'', in which he expressed disagreement with liberal politics. The royalties from the book added to their income. The Duke and Duchess effectively took on the role of celebrities and were regarded as part of café society in the 1950s and 1960s. They hosted parties and shuttled between Paris and New York;
Gore Vidal Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his epigrammatic wit, erudition, and Patrician (ancient Rome), patrician manner. Vidal was bisexual, ...
, who met the Windsors socially, reported on the vacuity of the Duke's conversation. The couple doted on the
pug The Pug is a breed of dog originally from China, with physically distinctive features of a wrinkly, short-muzzled face and curled tail. The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors, most often light brown (Fawn (colour) ...
dogs they kept. For much of their later life, the Duke and Duchess were served by their valet and footman Sydney Johnson. In June 1953, instead of attending the
coronation of Queen Elizabeth II The coronation of Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just unde ...
, his niece, in London, the Duke and Duchess watched the ceremony on television in Paris. The Duke said that it was contrary to precedent for a sovereign or former sovereign to attend the coronation of another. He was paid to write articles on the ceremony for the ''
Sunday Express The ''Daily Express'' is a national daily United Kingdom middle-market newspaper printed in tabloid (newspaper format), tabloid format. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first ...
'' and ''
Woman's Home Companion ''Woman's Home Companion'' was an American monthly magazine, published from 1873 to 1957. It was highly successful, climbing to a circulation peak of more than four million during the 1930s and 1940s. The magazine, headquartered in Springfield, O ...
'', as well as a short book, ''The Crown and the People, 1902–1953''. In 1955, the Windsors visited President
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, ...
at the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...
. The couple appeared on Edward R. Murrow's television-interview show '' Person to Person'' in 1956, and in a 50-minute BBC television interview in 1970. On 4 April of that year President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, he previously served as a United States House ...
invited them as guests of honour to a dinner at the White House with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger,
Charles Lindbergh Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, and activist. On May 20–21, 1927, Lindbergh made the first nonstop flight from New York City to Paris, a distance o ...
,
Alice Roosevelt Longworth Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth (February 12, 1884 – February 20, 1980) was an American writer and socialite. She was the eldest child of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt and his only child with his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt. Lo ...
,
Arnold Palmer Arnold Daniel Palmer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016) was an American professional golfer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic players in the sport's history. Dating back to 1955, he won numerous ev ...
, George H. W. Bush, and
Frank Borman Frank Frederick Borman II (born March 14, 1928) is a retired United States Air Force (USAF) colonel (United States), colonel, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, businessman, and NASA astronaut. He was the commander of Apollo 8, the first missio ...
. The royal family never fully accepted the Duchess. Queen Mary refused to receive her formally. However, Edward sometimes met his mother and his brother George VI; he attended George's funeral in 1952. Queen Mary remained angry with Edward and indignant over his marriage to Wallis: "To give up all this for that", she said. In 1965, the Duke and Duchess returned to London. They were visited by Elizabeth II, his sister-in-law Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and his sister
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary; 25 April 1897 – 28 March 1965), was a member of the British royal family. She was the only daughter of King George V and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary, the sister of Kings ...
. A week later, the Princess Royal died, and they attended her memorial service. In 1966 he gave the journalist Georg Stefan Troller a TV interview in German, he answered questions about his abdication. In 1967, they joined the royal family for the centenary of Queen Mary's birth. The last royal ceremony the Duke attended was the funeral of Princess Marina in 1968. He declined an invitation from Elizabeth II to attend the investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1969, replying that
Prince Charles Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of st ...
would not want his "aged great-uncle" there. In the 1960s, the Duke's health deteriorated. Michael E. DeBakey operated on him in
Houston Houston (; ) is the List of cities in Texas by population, most populous city in Texas, the Southern United States#Major cities, most populous city in the Southern United States, the List of United States cities by population, fourth-most pop ...
for an
aneurysm An aneurysm is an outward :wikt:bulge, bulging, likened to a bubble or balloon, caused by a localized, abnormal, weak spot on a blood vessel wall. Aneurysms may be a result of a hereditary condition or an acquired disease. Aneurysms can also b ...
of the
abdominal aorta In human anatomy, the abdominal aorta is the largest artery An artery (plural arteries) () is a blood vessel in humans and most animals that takes blood away from the heart to one or more parts of the body (tissues, lungs, brain etc.). Most ...
in December 1964, and Sir Stewart Duke-Elder treated a detached retina in his left eye in February 1965. In late 1971, the Duke, who was a smoker from an early age, was diagnosed with
throat cancer Head and neck cancer develops from tissues in the lip and oral cavity (mouth), larynx (throat), salivary glands, nose, sinuses or the skin of the face. The most common types of head and neck cancers occur in the lip, mouth, and larynx. Symptoms ...
and underwent cobalt therapy. On 18 May 1972, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Duke and Duchess of Windsor while on a state visit to France; she spoke with the Duke for fifteen minutes, but only the Duchess appeared with the royal party for a photocall as the Duke was too ill.


Death and legacy

On 28 May 1972, ten days after the Queen's visit, the Duke died at his home in Paris, less than a month before his 78th birthday. His body was returned to Britain, lying in state at
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is a castle chapel built in the late-medieval Perpendicular Gothic style. It is both a Royal peculiar, Royal Peculiar (a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch) and the Chapel of the O ...
. The funeral service took place in the chapel on 5 June in the presence of the Queen, the royal family, and the Duchess of Windsor, who stayed at Buckingham Palace during her visit. He was buried in the Royal Burial Ground behind the Royal Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at
Frogmore Frogmore is an estate within the Home Park, adjoining Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a List of British royal residences, royal residence at Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with ...
. Until a 1965 agreement with the Queen, the Duke and Duchess had planned for a burial in a cemetery plot they had purchased at Green Mount Cemetery in
Baltimore Baltimore ( , locally: or ) is the List of municipalities in Maryland, most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland, fourth most populous city in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic, and List of United States cities by popula ...
, where the Duchess's father was interred. Frail, and suffering increasingly from
dementia Dementia is a disorder which manifests as a Syndrome, set of related symptoms, which usually surfaces when the brain is damaged by injury or disease. The symptoms involve progressive impairments in memory, thinking, and behavior, which negativ ...
, the Duchess died in 1986, and was buried alongside her husband. The Duke's will was sealed in London after his death. His estate in England and Wales was valued at £7,845 (or £75,000 in 2022 when adjusted for inflation). In the view of historians, such as Philip Williamson writing in 2007, the popular perception in the 21st century that the abdication was driven by politics rather than religious morality is false and arises because divorce has become much more common and socially acceptable. To modern sensibilities, the religious restrictions that prevented Edward from continuing as king while planning to marry Simpson "seem, wrongly, to provide insufficient explanation" for his abdication.


Honours and arms


British Commonwealth and Empire honours

* KG: Royal Knight of the
Most Noble Order of the Garter The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system, outranked in ...
, ''23 June 1910'' * ISO: Companion of the Imperial Service Order, ''23 June 1910'' * MC:
Military Cross The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level pre-1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) Other ranks (UK), other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth of Na ...
, ''1916'' * GCMG: Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, ''1917''''Kelly's Handbook'', 98th ed. (1972), p. 41 * GBE: Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established o ...
, ''1917'' * ADC:
Personal aide-de-camp Personal Aide-de-Camp to the King (or Queen) is an appointment in the Royal Households of the United Kingdom, Royal Household of the United Kingdom. It is distinct from that of other Aide-de-Camp#United Kingdom, aides-de-camp, in that it is only ...
, ''3 June 1919'' * GCVO: Knight Grand Cross of the
Royal Victorian Order The Royal Victorian Order (french: Ordre royal de Victoria) is a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the British monarch, Monarchy of Canada, Canadian monarch, Mon ...
, ''1920'' * PC: Privy Counsellor of the United Kingdom, ''1920'' * GCSI: Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, ''1921'' * GCIE: Knight Grand Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, ''1921'' *
Royal Victorian Chain The Royal Victorian Chain is a Award, decoration instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII as a personal award of the monarch (i.e. not an award made on the advice of any Commonwealth realm government). It ranks above the Royal Victorian Order, with wh ...
, ''1921'' * KT: Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, ''1922'' * GCStJ: Bailiff Grand Cross of the
Venerable Order of St John The Order of St John, short for Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (french: l'ordre très vénérable de l'Hôpital de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem) and also known as St John International, is a British British monarchy ...
, ''12 June 1926'' ** KStJ: Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of St John, ''2 June 1917'' * KP: Extra Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, ''1927'' * PC: Privy Councillor of Canada, ''1927'' * GCB: Knight Grand Cross of the
Most Honourable Order of the Bath The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I of Great Britain, George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved Bathing#Medieval ...
, ''1936'' * FRS: Royal Fellow of the Royal Society


Foreign honours

* Grand Cross of the
House Order of the Wendish Crown The House Order of the Wendish Crown (german: Hausorden der Wendischen Krone) was an Order of the House of Mecklenburg The House of Mecklenburg, also known as Nikloting, is a North German dynasty of Slavs, Slavic origin that ruled German revolut ...
, with Crown in Ore, ''1 May 1911'' * Knight of the Grand Ducal Hessian Order of the Golden Lion, ''23 June 1911'' * Knight of the
Order of the Golden Fleece The Distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece ( es, Insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro, german: Orden vom Goldenen Vlies) is a Catholic order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1430, to celebrate his marriage ...
, ''22 June 1912'' * Grand Cross of the
National Order of the Legion of Honour The National Order of the Legion of Honour (french: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur), formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour ('), is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon, ...
, ''August 1912'' * Knight of the
Order of the Elephant The Order of the Elephant ( da, Elefantordenen) is a Denmark, Danish order of chivalry and is Denmark's highest-ranked honour. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of consti ...
, ''17 March 1914'' * Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav, with Collar, ''6 April 1914'' * Knight of the
Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation ( it, Ordine Supremo della Santissima Annunziata) is a Roman Catholic order of chivalry, originating in Duchy of Savoy, Savoy. It eventually was the pinnacle of the List of Italian orders of knighth ...
, ''21 June 1915'' *
Croix de Guerre The ''Croix de Guerre'' (, ''Cross of War'') is a military decoration of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions ...
, ''1915'' * Knight of the
Order of St George The Order of Saint George (russian: Орден Святого Георгия, Orden Svyatogo Georgiya) is the highest military decoration of the Russian Federation. Originally established on 26 November 1769 Julian (7 December 1769 Gregorian) a ...
, 3rd Class, ''1916'' * Knight of the
Order of the Royal House of Chakri The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri ( th, เครื่องขัตติยราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันมีเกียรติคุณรุ่งเรืองยิ่งมหาจัก ...
, ''16 August 1917'' *
Order of Michael the Brave The Order of Michael the Brave Michael the Brave ( ro, Mihai Viteazul or ; 1558 – 9 August 1601), born as Mihai Pătrașcu, was the Prince of Wallachia (as Michael II, 1593 – 1601), Prince of Moldavia (1600) and ''de facto'' ruler of Pr ...
, 1st Class, ''1918'' *
War Merit Cross The War Merit Cross (german: Kriegsverdienstkreuz) was a state decoration of Nazi Germany during World War II. By the end of the conflict it was issued in four degrees and had an equivalent Civil awards and decorations, civil award. A "Denazific ...
, ''1919'' * Grand Cordon of the Royal Order of Muhammad Ali, ''1922'' * Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim, ''12 November 1923'' * Collar of the Order of Carol I, ''1924'' *
Order of Merit The Order of Merit (french: link=no, Ordre du Mérite) is an order of merit for the Commonwealth realms, recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by Ki ...
, 1st Class, ''1925'' * Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes, ''1931'' * Grand Cross of the
Order of the Sun of Peru Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Categorization, the process in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated, and understood * Heterarchy, a system of organization wherein the elements have the potential to be ranked a number of d ...
, ''1931'' * Grand Cross of the Sash of the Two Orders, ''25 April 1931'' – during his visit to
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
* Grand Cross of the National Order of the Southern Cross, ''1933'' * Grand Cross of the Order of St Agatha, ''1935''


Military ranks

* ''22 June 1911'':
Midshipman A midshipman is an officer of the lowest Military rank#Subordinate/student officer, rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Royal Can ...
, Royal Navy Cokayne, G.E.; Doubleday, H.A.; Howard de Walden, Lord (1940), ''The Complete Peerage'', London: St. Catherine's Press, vol. XIII, pp. 116–117 * ''17 March 1913'': Lieutenant, Royal Navy * ''18 November 1914'':
Lieutenant A lieutenant ( , ; abbreviated Lt., Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an Military, armed force or Uniformed services, uniformed service. Broadly ...
, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, British Army. (First World War, Flanders and Italy) * ''10 March 1916'':
Captain Captain is a title, an appellative for the commanding officer of a military unit; the supreme leader of a navy ship, merchant ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel; or the commander of a port, fire or police department, election precinct, e ...
, British Army * ''1918'': Temporary
Major Major (Commandant (rank), commandant in certain jurisdictions) is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world. When used unhyphenated and in conjunction with ...
, British Army * ''15 April 1919'':
Colonel Colonel (abbreviated as Col., Col or COL) is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, a colonel was typically in charge o ...
, British Army * ''8 July 1919'':
Captain Captain is a title, an appellative for the commanding officer of a military unit; the supreme leader of a navy ship, merchant ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel; or the commander of a port, fire or police department, election precinct, e ...
, Royal Navy * ''5 December 1922'':
Group Captain Group captain is a senior Officer (armed forces)#Commissioned officers, commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force, where it originated, as well as the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. It is sometimes used as th ...
, Royal Air Force * ''1 September 1930'': Vice-Admiral, Royal Navy;
Lieutenant-General Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second-in ...
, British Army; Air Marshal, Royal Air Force * ''1 January 1935'':
Admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navies. In the Commonwealth nations and the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental ...
, Royal Navy;
General A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, and marines or naval infantry. In some usages the term "general officer" refers t ...
, British Army;
Air Chief Marshal Air chief marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a high-ranking air officer originating from the Royal Air Force. The rank is used by air forces of many Commonwealth of Nations, countries that have historical British influence. An air chief marshal i ...
, Royal Air Force * ''21 January 1936'': Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy;
Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually, it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is considered as ...
, British Army;
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) is the highest rank in the Royal Air Force (RAF). In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom), Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), and to reti ...
* ''3 September 1939'':
Major-General Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...
, British Army


Arms

Edward's coat of arms as the Prince of Wales was the
royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom The royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, or the royal arms for short, is the arms of dominion of the British monarch, currently King Charles III. These arms are used by the King in his official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom. Varian ...
, differenced with a
label A label (as distinct from signage) is a piece of paper, plastic film, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a Packaging and labelling, container or Product (business), product, on which is written or printing, printed information or symb ...
of three points
argent In heraldry, argent () is the tincture (heraldry), tincture of silver (color), silver, and belongs to the class of light Tincture (heraldry), tinctures called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeab ...
, with an
inescutcheon In heraldry Heraldry is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, Imperial, royal and noble ranks, r ...
representing Wales surmounted by a coronet (identical to those of Charles III when he was Prince of Wales). As Sovereign, he bore the royal arms undifferenced. After his abdication, he used the arms again differenced by a label of three points argent, but this time with the centre point bearing an imperial crown. File:Coat of Arms of Edward, Prince of Wales (1910-1936).svg, Coat of arms as Prince of Wales (granted 1911) File:Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg, Coat of arms as King of the United Kingdom File:Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom in Scotland (1837-1952).svg, Scottish coat of arms as King of the United Kingdom File:Coat of Arms of Edward, Duke of Windsor.svg, Coat of arms as Duke of Windsor


Ancestry


See also

* Cultural depictions of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson * Abandoned coronation of Edward VIII * List of prime ministers of Edward VIII * List of covers of Time magazine (1920s)


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Bloch, Michael (1982). ''The Duke of Windsor's War''. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. . * Bradford, Sarah (1989). ''King George VI''. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. . * Donaldson, Frances (1974). ''Edward VIII''. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. . * Godfrey, Rupert (editor) (1998). ''Letters From a Prince: Edward to Mrs Freda Dudley Ward 1918–1921''. Little, Brown & Co. . * Parker, John (1988). ''King of Fools''. New York: St. Martin's Press. . * Roberts, Andrew; edited by
Antonia Fraser Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, (' Pakenham; born 27 August 1932) is a British author of history, novels, biography, biographies and detective fiction. She is the widow of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Laureate in Literature ...
(2000). ''The House of Windsor''. London: Cassell and Co. . * Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John (1958). ''King George VI''. London: Macmillan. * Williams, Susan (2003). ''The People's King: The True Story of the Abdication''. London: Allen Lane. . * Windsor, The Duke of (1951). ''A King's Story''. London: Cassell and Co. * Ziegler, Philip (1991). ''King Edward VIII: The official biography''. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. .


External links

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