King Edward VIII was born on the 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972. Edward Reigned as King of the United Kingdom, Ireland and the other British Dominions, and as Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936 . He was the last monarch to serve his entire reign as Emperor of India. His official title during his reign was Edward the Eighth, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.Later, as Duke of Windsor during World War II, he held the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of The Bahamas. No other British monarch has voluntarily relinquished the throne, though several have been “deemed to have abdicated” after fleeing, have suffered execution, or have given up part of their power.
. Edward VIII was born at Richmond, the eldest son of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of York. The Duke of York, who later became King George V, was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.The Duchess of York, formerly Her Serene Highness Princess Mary of Teck, was a great-granddaughter of King George III and a first cousin once removed of Queen Victoria. At the time of his birth, the child stood third in line to the British throne behind his father and grandfather. Edwards immediate family always knew him as David. His father ascended the throne on 6 May 1910.
The new king created him Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 2 June 1910 and officially invested him as such in a special ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in 1911. For the first time since the middle Ages, this investiture took place in Wales. When World War I broke out, David had reached the minimum age for active service and expressed keenness to participate. Although the authorities allowed him to join the army, they kept him well away from any action that might have threatened his safety. After the war ended in 1918, his conduct began to give cause for concern to his ultra-conservative parents, particularly when he enjoyed relationships with a series of married women, including Americans Freda Dudley Ward and Wallis Simpson.Simpson had divorced her first husband in 1927 and subsequently married Ernest Simpson, an Anglo-American businessman. Mrs.
Simpson and the Prince of Wales became lovers. Powerful figures deemed marriage to Mrs Simpson impossible for the king, even after she obtained her second divorce, because he had become de jure head of the Church of England, which prohibited remarriage after divorce. Edward rejected several alternative proposed solutions, including a morganatic marriage: he maintained adamantly that he wished to marry Mrs.Simpson, and he eventually abdicated his throne on December 11, 1936. State papers released in 2003 revealed that during the abdication crisis, as well as King Edward, Mrs. Simpson reportedly had two other lovers, one a car salesman, the other Edward FitzGerald, 7th Duke of Leinster, a close friend of the King. The abdication crisis caused a constitutional upheaval, and the throne passed to the Heir Presumptive, the King’s next oldest brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, who became King George VI of the United Kingdom.
On March 8, 1937, George VI created his brother, the former king, Duke of Windsor (the title lapsed with the Duke’s death). However, letters patent dated May 27, 1937, which reconferred upon the Duke of Windsor the “title, style, or attribute of Royal Highness,” specifically stated that “his wife and descendants, if any, shall not hold said title or attribute. ” Edward was actually granted the title Duke of Windsor on December 12, 1936 the day after his abdication.The Duke mentions in his book, A King’s Story, that it was the first act of George VI’s reign, and it was proclaimed at the new King’s Accession Privy Council that his brother would be known as “His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor” and that he had recreated him a Knight of the Garter. However, the formal letters patent were not signed until March 8, 1937. The Duke of Windsor married Mrs. Simpson in a private ceremony on 3 June 1937 at Chateau de Cande, Monts, France.
None of the British royal family attended.The denial of the style “HRH” to the Duchess of Windsor, as well as the financial settlement, strained relations between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the royal family for decades. The Duke had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exile in France. However, King George VI (with the support of his mother Queen Mary and his wife Queen Elizabeth) threatened to cut off his allowance if he returned to Britain without an invitation. In 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited Germany as personal guests of Adolf Hitler, a visit much publicized by the Nazi media.The couple then settled in France. When the Germans invaded the north of France in May 1940, the Windsors fled south, first to Biarritz, then in June to Spain.
In July the pair moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where they lived at first in the home of a banker with close German Embassy contacts. The British Foreign Office strenuously objected when the pair planned to sail around aimlessly on a yacht belonging to a Swedish magnate, Axel Wenner-Gren, whom American intelligence considered to be a close friend of Hermann Goering, Hitler’s lieutenant.A “defeatist” interview with the Duke that received wide distribution may have served as the last straw for the British government: in August a British warship dispatched the pair to the Bahamas, where the Duke of Windsor became Governor, a post he held until after the end of World War II in 1945. Then the couple retired once again to France, where they spent much of the remainder of their lives. In recent years, some have suggested that the Duke and (especially) the Duchess sympathised with Fascism before and during World War II, and had to remain in the Bahamas to minimize their opportunities to act on those feelings.These revised assessments of his career hinge on some wartime information released in 1996, and on further secret files released by the U. K.
government in 2003. The files had remained closed for decades, as Whitehall judged that they would cause the Queen Mother substantial distress if released during her lifetime. US naval intelligence documents a confidential report of a conference of German foreign officials in October 1941 that found the Duke “no enemy to Germany” and the only English representative with whom Hitler would negotiate any peace terms, “the logical director of England’s destiny after the war”.President Roosevelt had ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida, in April 1941. The former Duke of Wurttemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) convinced the FBI that the Duchess had been sleeping with the German ambassador in London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had remained in constant contact with him, and continued to leak secrets. In later years, the Duke of Windsor met with other members of the royal family on several occasions, but his wife never gained acceptance.He died in 1972 at Paris, and his body was returned to Britain for burial at Frogmore, near Windsor Castle.
The Duchess of Windsor, on her death ten and a half years later, was buried alongside her husband in Frogmore. They had no children. Through the years of Edwards’s life his titles varied changing approximately ten times he was called everything from His Highness Prince Edward of York to His Majesty King Edward VIII And everything in-between.