Edward VIII abdication crisis
King-Emperor Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936. The marriage was opposed by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth. Despite the opposition, Edward declared that he loved Simpson and intended to marry her as soon as her second divorce was finalised. The widespread unwillingness to accept Simpson as the King’s consort and Edward’s refusal to give her up led to his abdication in December 1936. He was succeeded by his brother Albert, who became George VI.
About Edward VIII abdication crisis in brief
In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire arose when King-Emperor Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson. The marriage was opposed by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth. Simpson was perceived to be politically and socially unsuitable as a prospective queen consort because of her two previous marriages. Despite the opposition, Edward declared that he loved Simpson and intended to marry her as soon as her second divorce was finalised. The widespread unwillingness to accept Simpson as the King’s consort and Edward’s refusal to give her up led to his abdication in December 1936. He was succeeded by his brother Albert, who became George VI. Edward and Simpson were secretly followed by members of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, who produced reports on the nature of their relationship and their investigations into Simpson’s private life. The prospect of having an American divorcee with a questionable past having such sway over the heir apparent led to anxiety among government and establishment figures. Despite her name appearing regularly in the Court Circular, the name of her husband was conspicuously absent. Edward VIII succeeded his father on 20 January 1936, and he married Simpson the following year. They remained married until his death 35 years later. It is generally accepted that Simpson and the Prince of Wales became lovers in 1934, while Lady Furness was visiting relatives in the United States. Although King George and Queen Mary met Simpson at Buckingham Palace in 1935, they later refused to receive her.
By October 1936, it was rumoured in high society and abroad that Edward intends to marry Simpson asSoon as she was free to do so. At the end of that month, the crisis came to a head when she filed for divorce and the American press announced that marriage between her and the King was imminent. Edward adamantly insisted to his father King George V that he was not physically intimate with Simpson and that it was inappropriate to describe her as his mistress. In the summer of that year, the King eschewed the traditional prolonged stay at Balmoral in favour of a holiday with Simpson in the eastern Mediterranean that was widely covered in the American and continental European press, but not by the British press, which maintained a self-imposed silence. The King invited Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to Buckingham Palace and informed him that such a marriage would not be acceptable to the people. The Queen becomes the choice of a Queen of the country and the voice of the people must be the source of her power. Bishop of Bradford, Alfred Blunt, gave a diocesan conference on 1 December, which alluded to the King and Simpson’s need of divine grace. The British press remained quiet on the subject until the Bishop alluded to his hope of a former King and former Queen in a speech to his former bishop. On the same day that Hardinge wrote to the. King, King Bruce wrote to Baldwin, expressing horror at the idea of a marriage between the Kings and former King of Australia, also a former Prime Minister of Australia.