70 Facts About Edward VIII


Edward VIII, later known as the Duke of Windsor, was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire and Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until his abdication in December of the same year.


Edward VIII was created Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday, seven weeks after his father succeeded as king.


Edward VIII knew the Baldwin government would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have forced a general election and would have ruined his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch.


Edward VIII was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI.


Edward VIII married Simpson in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final.


Edward VIII was born on 23 June 1894 at White Lodge, Richmond Park, on the outskirts of London during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria.


Edward VIII was the eldest son of the Duke and Duchess of York.


Edward VIII's father was the son of the Prince and Princess of Wales.


Edward VIII's mother was the eldest daughter of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge and Francis, Duke of Teck.


Edward VIII was always known to his family and close friends by his last given name, David.


Edward VIII's subsequent crying and wailing would lead the Duke and Duchess to send him and the nanny away.


Edward VIII was amused by the children making tadpoles on toast for their French master as a prank, and encouraged them to confide in her.


Edward VIII was kept under the strict tutorship of Hansell until almost thirteen years old.


Edward VIII took the examination to enter the Royal Naval College, Osborne, and began there in 1907.


Hansell had wanted Edward VIII to enter school earlier, but the prince's father had disagreed.


Edward VIII automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay on 6 May 1910 when his father ascended the throne as George V on the death of Edward VIII VII.


Edward VIII was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester a month later on 23 June 1910, his 16th birthday.


Edward VIII was withdrawn from his naval course before his formal graduation, served as midshipman for three months aboard the battleship Hindustan, then immediately entered Magdalen College, Oxford, for which, in the opinion of his biographers, he was underprepared intellectually.


Edward VIII left Oxford after eight terms, without any academic qualifications.


Edward VIII was officially invested as Prince of Wales in a special ceremony at Caernarfon Castle on 13 July 1911.


Lloyd George invented a rather fanciful ceremony in the style of a Welsh pageant, and coached Edward VIII to speak a few words in Welsh.


Edward VIII had joined the Grenadier Guards in June 1914, and although Edward was willing to serve on the front lines, Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener refused to allow it, citing the immense harm that would occur if the heir apparent to the throne were captured by the enemy.


Edward VIII undertook his first military flight in 1918, and later gained a pilot's licence.


Edward VIII, who was 11 years older than John and had hardly known him, saw his death as "little more than a regrettable nuisance".


In 1919, Edward VIII agreed to be president of the organising committee for the proposed British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Park, Middlesex.


Edward VIII wished the Exhibition to include "a great national sports ground", and so played a part in the creation of Wembley Stadium.


Edward VIII visited poverty-stricken areas of Britain, and undertook 16 tours to various parts of the Empire between 1919 and 1935.


Edward VIII escaped unharmed when the train he was riding in during a tour of Australia was derailed outside Perth in 1920.


Edward VIII's parents refused, due to the age gap, and Frederica instead married Paul of Greece.


Edward VIII was introduced to Parisian courtesan Marguerite Alibert, with whom he became infatuated.


Desperate efforts were made by the Royal Household to ensure that Edward VIII's name was not mentioned in connection with the trial or Alibert.


Edward VIII's second husband, Ernest Simpson, was a British-American businessman.


Edward VIII became the first monarch of the British Empire to fly in an aircraft when he flew from Sandringham to London for his Accession Council.


Edward VIII caused unease in government circles with actions that were interpreted as interference in political matters.


Government ministers were reluctant to send confidential documents and state papers to Fort Belvedere, because it was clear that Edward VIII was paying little attention to them, and it was feared that Simpson and other house guests might read them, improperly or inadvertently revealing government secrets.


Edward VIII broke with the tradition that the profile portrait of each successive monarch faced in the direction opposite to that of his or her predecessor.


Edward VIII insisted that he face left, to show the parting in his hair.


On 16 July 1936, George Andrew McMahon produced a loaded revolver as Edward VIII rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace.


On 16 November 1936, Edward VIII invited Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to Buckingham Palace and expressed his desire to marry Simpson when she became free to remarry.


Edward VIII proposed an alternative solution of a morganatic marriage, in which he would remain king but Simpson would not become queen consort.


Edward VIII would enjoy some lesser title instead, and any children they might have would not inherit the throne.


Edward VIII informed Baldwin that he would abdicate if he could not marry Simpson.


Edward VIII duly signed the instruments of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 December 1936 in the presence of his younger brothers: Prince Albert, Duke of York, next in line for the throne; Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester; and Prince George, Duke of Kent.


Edward VIII departed Britain for Austria the following day; he was unable to join Simpson until her divorce became absolute, several months later.


Some British ministers advised that the reconfirmation was unnecessary since Edward VIII had retained the style automatically, and further that Simpson would automatically obtain the rank of wife of a prince with the style Her Royal Highness; others maintained that he had lost all royal rank and should no longer carry any royal title or style as an abdicated king, and be referred to simply as "Mr Edward VIII Windsor".


Edward VIII had particularly wanted his brothers the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent and his second cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten to attend the ceremony.


Edward VIII compromised his position with his brother by concealing the extent of his financial worth when they informally agreed on the amount of the allowance.


Edward VIII'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.


Edward VIII had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exile in France.


The former Austrian ambassador, Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, who was a second cousin once removed and friend of George V, believed that Edward VIII favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism, and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany.


Hitler considered Edward VIII to be friendly towards Germany and thought that Anglo-German relations could have been improved through Edward VIII if it were not for the abdication.


In May 1939, Edward VIII was commissioned by NBC to give a radio broadcast during a visit to the First World War battlefields of Verdun.


In February 1940, the German ambassador in The Hague, Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, claimed that Edward VIII had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium, which the Duke later denied.


In July 1940, Edward VIII was appointed governor of the Bahamas.


Edward VIII did not enjoy being governor and privately referred to the islands as "a third-class British colony".


Edward VIII was praised for his efforts to combat poverty on the islands, although he was as contemptuous of the Bahamians as he was of most non-white peoples of the Empire.


Edward VIII resigned from the post on 16 March 1945.


In December 1940, Edward VIII gave Fulton Oursler of Liberty magazine an interview at Government House in Nassau.


The interview was published on 22 March 1941 and in it Edward VIII was reported to have said that "Hitler was the right and logical leader of the German people" and that the time was coming for President Roosevelt to mediate a peace settlement.


Edward VIII's allowance was supplemented by government favours and illegal currency trading.


In 1951, Edward VIII produced a memoir, A King's Story ghost-written by Charles Murphy, in which he expressed disagreement with liberal politics.


Edward VIII said that it was contrary to precedent for a Sovereign or former Sovereign to attend any coronation of another.


However, Edward VIII sometimes met his mother and his brother, George VI; he attended George's funeral in 1952.


In 1966 Edward VIII gave the journalist Georg Stefan Troller a TV interview in German; he answered questions about his abdication.


The last royal ceremony Edward VIII attended was the funeral of Princess Marina in 1968.


Edward VIII declined an invitation from Elizabeth II to attend the investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1969, replying that Charles would not want his "aged great-uncle" there.


In late 1971, Edward VIII, who was a smoker from an early age, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent cobalt therapy.


On 28 May 1972, ten days after Elizabeth's visit, Edward VIII died at his home in Paris.


Edward VIII's body was returned to Britain, lying in state at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.


Edward VIII was buried in the Royal Burial Ground behind the Royal Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Frogmore.