Edward VIII King of the United Kingdom
- Category : 1894-births
- Type : MS
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Prevention 1
British monarch, who reigned as King Edward VIII for less than a year in 1936, as he abdicated the throne on 11 December "to marry the woman I love," Wallis Simpson. He then became the Duke of Windsor. The oldest son of King George V, he was called David by his friends (full name: Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, Prince of Wales). As Edward VIII, he was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India.
In 1917, during the First World War, Edward began a love affair with Parisian courtesan Marguerite Alibert (later Fahmy), who kept a collection of his indiscreet letters after he broke off the affair in 1918 to begin one with an English married woman, Freda Dudley Ward, a textile heiress. Edward's womanising and reckless behaviour during the 1920s and 1930s worried Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, King George V, and those close to the prince. In 1930, George V gave the prince the lease of Fort Belvedere in Windsor Great Park. There, he continued his relationships with a series of married women, including Freda Dudley Ward and Lady Furness, the American wife of a British peer, who introduced the prince to her friend and fellow American Wallis Simpson.
By the end of 1933 they were spending much of their time together. It is thought that the strictly platonic relationship didn't become an affair until sometime in 1934. The Prince had always chafed under the restrictions of Buckingham Palace and her forthright American style convinced him that with her he would be a more creative and useful person. Others thought her a dominating type and since the Prince had been dominated by governesses all his life, he needed a strong woman to keep him in check.
When King George V died on 20 January 1936, Edward became the UK's new King, bringing new scrutiny of his relationship with Wallis Simpson. Sympathetic to the problems of his people, he was a very welcome king. However, behind the scenes his casual attitude toward his job, especially when handling classified state papers, alarmed government ministers.
By the end of 1935 he'd made up his mind to marry Wallis in spite of huge obstacles; she was a divorcee who was still married to her second husband. After he became King, Wallis' husband confronted him in March 1936 and said he would divorce her but only if Edward would marry her and be faithful to her. Edward agreed and by August the Simpson's divorce proceedings had begun.
With the divorce of Simpson and the possibility of their marriage, his cabinet issued an ultimatum: renounce Mrs. Simpson or abdicate. If he insisted on marrying without their consent, the current government would resign and the opposition party would refuse to serve. There was no choice, and by the end of 1936 he officially gave up the throne. Even after giving up the throne, they were legally forbidden to see each other until Simpson's divorce was final. They finally reunited in France on 3 May 1937 and were married on 3 June at the Château de Candé outside of Tours, France. None of the British royal family attended.
After their marriage he and Wallis settled in Paris with his title of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Windsor and hers as the Duchess. His disastrous first attempt at a political life, a trip to Nazi Germany in October 1937, branded the couple as supporters of Hitler and further alienated the duke from his people.
He served as the governor of the Bahamas Islands from 1940-1945, living a lifestyle which was reported as a round of empty social exchanges; they had no children.
In late 1971, the Duke, who was a smoker from an early age, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent cobalt therapy. On 28 May 1972, the Duke died at his home in Paris, less than a month before his 78th birthday. His body was returned to Britain; the funeral service was held on 5 June. He was buried in the Royal Burial Ground behind the Royal Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Frogmore.