Fact of the day: 3rd June

On this day in 1937 The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson.

Edward became king when his father died in early 1936. He showed impatience with court protocol, and politicians were concerned by his apparent disregard for established constitutional conventions.

Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson, 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 that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen.

Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward’s status as the titular head of the Church of England, which opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their former spouses were still alive.

Edward knew that the government led by prime minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have forced a general election and would ruin his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch.

Choosing not to end his relationship with Simpson, Edward abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regal name George VI.

With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history.wallis_simpson

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One thought on “Fact of the day: 3rd June

  1. I still think Baldwin & co forced the king’s hand. I think the public was more in favour of him staying as king than he was led to believe, as he was a man of the people more than the government. That said, I don’t think he wanted the position, and was happy to take the chance to walk away, especially as he was with the love of his life, who he stayed with until he died some 35 years later.

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