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Edward's affair with an American divorcee led to such grave concern that the cou ple were followed

by members of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, who exam ined in secret the nature of their relationship. An undated report detailed a vi sit by the couple to an antique shop, where the proprietor later noted "that the lady seemed to have POW [Prince of Wales] completely under her thumb."[35] The prospect of having an American divorcee with a questionable past having such swa y over the heir apparent led to anxiety among government and establishment figur es. Reign[edit]

Edward VIII surrounded by heralds of the College of Arms prior to his only State Opening of Parliament, 3 November 1936 King George V died on 20 January 1936, and Edward ascended the throne as King Ed ward VIII. The next day, he broke royal protocol by watching the proclamation of his own accession from a window of St James's Palace in the company of the then still-married Simpson.[36] Edward became the first monarch of the British Empir e to fly in an aircraft when he flew from Sandringham to London for his Accessio n Council.[37] Edward caused unease in government circles with actions that were interpreted as interference in political matters. His comment during a tour of depressed villa ges in South Wales that "something must be done"[37] for the unemployed coal min ers was seen as directly critical of the Government, though it has never been cl ear whether Edward had anything in particular in mind. Government ministers were reluctant to send confidential documents and state papers to Fort Belvedere bec ause it was clear that Edward was paying little attention to them and there was a lack of confidence in his discretion in constitutional and political matters. It was feared that Simpson and other house guests might see state papers and tha t confidential information in them might be improperly or inadvertently disclose d in ways that could be detrimental to the country's national interests.[38] Edward's unorthodox approach to his role also extended to the currency which bor e his image. He broke with the tradition that on coinage each successive monarch faced in the opposite direction to his or her predecessor. Edward insisted that he face left (as his father had done),[39] to show the parting in his hair.[40] Only a handful of test coins were struck before the abdication, and when George VI succeeded to the throne he also faced left, to maintain the tradition by sug gesting that had any coins been minted featuring Edward's portrait, they would h ave shown him facing right.[41] Left-facing currency portrait of Edward VIII On 16 July 1936, an Irish fraudster called Jerome Bannigan, alias George Andrew McMahon, produced a loaded revolver as Edward rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace. Police spotted the gun and pounced on him; he was quickly arrested. At Bannigan's trial, he alleged that "a foreign power" had app roached him to kill Edward, that he had informed MI5 of the plan, and that he wa s 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".[42] I t is now thought that Bannigan had indeed been in contact with MI5 but the verac ity of the remainder of his claims remains open.[43] In August and September, Edward and Simpson cruised the Eastern Mediterranean on the steam yacht Nahlin. By October it was becoming clear that the new king plan ned to marry Simpson, especially when divorce proceedings between the Simpsons w ere brought at Ipswich Assizes.[44] Preparations for all contingencies were made , including the prospect of the coronation of King Edward and Queen Wallis. Beca use of the religious implications of any marriage, plans were made to hold a sec ular coronation ceremony not in the traditional religious location, Westminster Abbey, but in the Banqueting House in Whitehall.[45] Although gossip about his affair was widespread in the United States, the Britis

Prince Henry. became first in the line of succession. As required by the Statu te of Westminster. Prince Albert. explaining his decision to abdicate. She would enjoy some lesser t itle instead. ma rry against his ministers' wishes. until 12 December. succeeded to the throne as George VI. Edward was universally known as the Duke of Windsor. Duke of Gloucester. and any children they might have would not inherit the throne."[58] After the broadcast. vacillated in disbelief.[59] His brother .[51] Faced with th is opposition.[54] He chose to abdicate. During t he interim. Canada and South Africa made clea r their opposition to the king marrying a divorcee. in which he wo uld remain king but Wallis would not become queen. which included the ab dication in its schedule.[56] The next day. he was unable to join Simpson until her divorce became absolute.[46] As king. Baldwin informed him that his subjects would deem the marriag e morally unacceptable. Duke of York. Edward invited British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to Bu ckingham Palace and expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry. Duke of Windsor[edit] On 12 December 1936. Edward at first responded that there were "not many people in Aus tralia" and their opinion did not matter. and Prince Geor ge.[50] their Irish counterpart expressed indifference and detachment. all the Dominions consented to the abdication.[57] though the Irish Free State did not pass the External Relations Act. George VI's elder daughter. Edward departed Britain for Austria. largely because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England. several months later. while the Prime Minister of New Zealand.[60] He wanted this to be the first act of his reign. Duke of York . On the night of 11 December 1936. George VI announced he was to make his brother "His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor". he would cause the government to resign. or abdicate. Thi s too was rejected by the British Cabinet[47] as well as other Dominion governme nts. prompting a const itutional crisis. although the formal documents were not signed until 8 March the following year. Edward proposed an alternative solution of a morganatic marriage. George VI's dec .[55] Edward duly signed the instruments[N 2] of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 De cember 1936 in the presence of his younger brothers: Prince Albert.[52] Edward informed Baldwin that he would abdicate if he could not marry Simpson. and the clergy expe cted him to support the Church's teachings. as heiress presumptive. having never heard of Simpson before. 1936 On 16 November 1936. and the people would not tolerate Wallis as queen. Princess Elizabeth. Duke of Kent. made a broad cast to the nation and the Empire."[49] The Prime Ministers of Australia. Edward.h media kept voluntarily silent and the public knew nothing until early December . now reverted to a prince. the last act of his reign was the royal asse nt to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936. next in line for the throne. wh ich 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 w ell of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United K ingdom. Abdication[edit] Main article: Edward VIII abdication crisis Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson on their Mediterranean holiday.[53] It was clear that Edward was not prepared to give up Simpson. "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibilit y and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.[48] whose views were sought pursuant to the Statute of Westminster 1931. at the accession meeting of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. and he knew that if he married against the adv ice of his ministers. He famou sly said. Edward was the titular head of the Church of England. Ba ldwin then presented Edward with three choices: give up the idea of marriage.

George VI also paid Edward for Sandringham House and Balmoral Ca stle.[62] Château de Candé. in our view. style. Darling ton). or attribute of Royal Highness" upon the Duke of Windsor.. Queen Mary. Attorney General Sir Donald Somervell submitted to Home Secret ary Sir John Simon a memorandum summarising the views of Lord Advocate T. M. On 14 April 1937. Edward's wealth had accumulated from the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall paid to him as Prince of Wales and ordinarily at the disposal of an incoming king. The question however has to be considered on the basis of the fact that. in a private ceremony on 3 June 1937. and the Duke accepted. who had changed her name by deed poll to Wa llis Warfield. [and has] made further normal correspondence between us impo ssible. writing to h er in 1939: "[your last letter][N 3] destroy[ed] the last vestige of feeling I h ad left for you . The Duke compromised his position with his brother by conceal ing the extent of his financial worth when they informally agreed on the amount of the allowance. i mportuning for money and urging that the Duchess be granted the style of Royal H ighness. and the Duke's allowance was paid person ally by George VI. Parliamentary Counsel Sir Granville Ram."[66] In the early days of George VI's reign the Duke telephoned daily. In the light of precedent it seems clear that th e wife of a Royal Highness enjoys the same title unless some appropriate express step can be and is taken to deprive her of it.[64] The denial of the style Her Royal Highness to the Duchess of Windsor caused furt her conflict. offered to perform the ceremony. others maintai ned that he had lost all royal rank and should no longer carry any royal title o r style as an abdicated king. inherited from his father. near Tours . which were Edward's personal property. Some British ministers advised that the reconfirmation was unnecessary since Edward had reta ined the style automatically. Geor ge VI. the Reverend Robert Anderson Jardine (Vicar of St Paul's. France.ision to create Edward a royal duke ensured that he could neither stand for elec tion to the House of Commons nor speak on political subjects in the House of Lor ds. and thus did not automatically pass to George VI on his accession. George V .[67] The Duke had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exil e in France. until the harassed king ordered that the calls not be put through. forbade members of the Royal Family to attend[63] to the lasting resentme nt of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.[65] Relatio ns between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the Royal Family were strained fo r decades. When the Church of England refused to sanction the union. for rea sons which are readily understandable. the Windsors' wedding venue The Duke of Windsor married Simpson. and himself: We incline to the view that on his abdication the Duke of Windsor could not have claimed the right to be described as a Royal Highness. as did the financial settlement the Government declined to include the Duke or Duchess on the Civil List. In other words. is within the prerogat ive of His Majesty and he has the power to regulate it by Letters Patent general ly or in particular circumstances. Edward became embittered against his mother. but specifically stated that "his wif e and descendants. and further that Simpson would automatically obtai n the rank of wife of a prince with the style Her Royal Highness. Edward had particularly wanted his brothe rs the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent and his second cousin Louis Mountbatten to a ttend the ceremony. if any. The new king. at Château de Candé. The right to use this style or title. a County Dur ham clergyman. King George VI (with the support of Queen Mary and his wife Queen E . he with the express approval of His Majes ty enjoys this title and has been referred to as a Royal Highness on a formal oc casion and in formal documents. We came to the conclusion that the wife could not claim this right on any legal basis. and be referred to simply as "Mr Edward Windsor".[61] Letters Patent dated 27 May 1937 re-conferred the "title.. no reaso nable objection could have been taken if the King had decided that his exclusion from the lineal succession excluded him from the right to this title as conferr ed by the existing Letters Patent. Coo per. shall not hold said title or attribute".

a Portugues e banker with both British and German contacts. who had secured jobs as a pretext for obtaining a deferment of dra ft". claimed that the Duke had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium. for hi s resolution of civil unrest over low wages in Nassau in 1942. and referred to the islands as "a third-class British colony".[68] The former Austrian ambassador. who was also a second cousin once removed and friend of George V. Lord Caldecote wrote a warning to Winston Churchill: "[the Duke] is well-known to be pro-Nazi and he may become a centre of intrigue. On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. The visit was much publicised by the German media. even by Dupuch. Portuga l. then in June to Spain. although he was as contemptuous of the Bahamians as he was of most no n-white peoples of the Empire. 1937 Edward reviewing a squad of SS with Robert Ley. they seem unable to rise to prominen ce without losing their equilibrium. 1937 In October 1937. whom American in telligence wrongly believed to be a close friend of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring. although an honorary field marshal.[69] Edward's expe rience of "the unending scenes of horror"[70] during the First World War led him to support appeasement. During the visit the Duke gave full Na zi salutes. against the advice of the British government. in the view of Churchill.[78] He resigned the post on 16 March 1945. Fellow Nazi Albert Speer quoted Hitler directly: "I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. where they lived at first in the home of Ricardo de Espírito Santo. fir st to Biarritz. the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune: "It must be remembered that Dupuch is more than half Negro.[77] The Duke was praised. Axel Wenner-Gren. the German Minister in The Hague. He did not enjoy the position . a British warship dispatched the Duke and Duche ss to the Bahamas.[76] The British Foreign Office strenuously objected when the Duke and Duchess planned to tour a board a yacht belonging to a Swedish magnate.[75] In August. Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Nazi Ge rmany and thought that Anglo-German relations could have been improved through E dward if it were not for the abdication. the Duke and Duchess visited Germany. His abdicatio n was a severe loss for us. He said of Étienne Dupuch. where."[71] The Duke and Duchess settled in France.[73] Nazi agents plotted unsuccessfully to persuade the Duke to support the German ef fort and wrote up plans to kidnap him."[25] He was praised.[65] Second World War[edit] The Duke and Duchess with Adolf Hitler.[37] .[72] Wh en Germany invaded the north of France in May 1940. and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race. the Windsors fled south. was made a major -general attached to the British Military Mission in France. everything would have been different. and met Adolf Hitler at his Obersalzberg retreat. believed that Edward favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism. they were brought back to Britain by Louis Mountbatten on boa rd HMS Kelly. Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouil ly-Dietrichstein. and the Duke. for his efforts to combat poverty on th e islands."[74] A "defeatist" interview with the Duke that was widely distribu ted may have served as the last straw for the British government: Prime Minister Winston Churchill threatened the Duke with a court-martial if he did not return to British soil. however. Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda. even though he bl amed the trouble on "mischief makers communists" and "men of Central European Je wish descent. they could do the least dama ge to the British war effort.lizabeth) threatened to cut off Edward's allowance if he returned to Britain wit hout an invitation. In July the pair moved to Lisbon. The Duke was installed as Governor of the Bahamas. If he had stayed. and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany.[37] In February 194 0.