The Man Who Gave Up The Throne For The Woman He Loved  

Edward VIII With The Love Of His Life - Sakshi Post

Edward VIII of Great Britain has a unique place in history. How many monarchs in the world would give up their throne for the love of their lives? Well, this King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India, whose reign lasted less than a year, abdicated his throne for the woman he loved, and a divorcee at that.

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Edward, the eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was a very eligible bachelor as the Prince of Wales. He was also a major attraction for the photographers of the period. He was introduced to Wallis Simpson, who was to become his future wife, by Viscountess Furness, the American wife of a British aristocrat, Marmaduke Furness.

Edward, not the most faithful of men, fell hopelessly in love with the American divorcee. Wallis Simpson had divorced her first husband Win Spencer in the late 20s and had married an American businessman, Ernest Simpson in July 1928. Wallis was married to Simpson when she first met Edward.

Though Edward denied that they were having an affair, rumours of their holidays attracted media attention in the early 30s. After ascending the throne in January 1936, he went on a Mediterranean cruise with Wallis a few months later, as King of England. His actions caused a lot of consternation and disbelief in the upper echelons of Great Britain's aristocracy and government circles, as it became increasingly evident that he would marry the American divorcee. The British media feigned ignorance of the subject, but elsewhere in the world, gossip writers and editors were clucking their tongues.

Eleven months after he became King, the Prime Minister of the time, Stanley Baldwin was invited to Buckingham Palace, and sure enough, Edward spelt out his intention to marry Wallis Simpson, after her divorce with Ernest Simpson came through. The Prime Minister who was probably dreading this moment told him that the King's marriage to Wallis would outrage the moral sensibilities of the people especially because the Church of England was also bitterly opposed to the idea. The subjects would not accept her as the Queen of England, Baldwin is supposed to have told Edward.

The King came up with yet another proposal--it would be a morganatic or left-handed marriage, between people of unequal social ranks. Under such a marriage, he would continue as King, but Wallis Simpson would not become Queen. This proposal too was rejected by the British Cabinet of the time. The King was presented with three choices--give up the idea of marrying Wallis, marry against the wishes of the British Cabinet or abdicate.

Finally, Edward announced that he would give up the throne if he could not marry Simpson as King.

On December 10, 1936, Edward signed what was known as the "instruments of abdication," and from the next morning became Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis Simpson at a private ceremony at Chateau de Cande in France, on June 3, 1937.

In his famous radio broadcast following his abdication, 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."

In 1956, Wallis Simpson published her memoirs, The Heart has its Reasons: The Memoirs of the Duchess of Windsor.

Y. Satyanarayana

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