A couple of weeks ago, I saw The King’s Speech about George VI (Queen Elizabeth’s father), and what a super movie! Albert, called Bertie by his family, chose to be George when he suddenly became King on December 11, 1936 at the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He had never expected to be King, but if Edward had stayed on the throne, Elizabeth II might never have come to reign.

When I was a young girl, Edward VIII (called David by the family) was such a romantic hero that I read anything about him that I could find. He gave up a throne to marry the woman he loved.


“King Edward VIII did something that monarchs do not have the luxury of doing - he fell in love. King Edward was in love with Mrs. Wallis Simpson, not only an American, but also a married woman already once divorced. Yet, in order to marry the woman he loved, King Edward was willing to give up the British throne - and he did.

To some, this was the love story of the century. To others, it was a scandal that threatened to weaken the monarchy. In reality, the story of King Edward VIII and Mrs. Wallis Simpson never fulfilled either of these notions. Instead, the story is about a prince who wanted to be like everyone else.” King Edward VIII. This is quoted from History 1900’s at the link included.
King Edward VIII was born Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David on June 23, 1894:

A few facts about Edward VIII.

Birthplace: White Lodge, Surrey, England
Died: 28-May-1972
Location of death: Bois De Boulogne, Paris, France
Cause of death: Cancer - Throat
Remains: Buried, Frogmore, Windsor, Berkshire, England

He was the first monarch to become a qualified pilot. He created The King's Flight (now known as 32 (The Royal) Squadron) in 1936 to provide air transport for the Royal family's official duties.

The above article goes on to say that Edward had a predilection for married women. In 1918, he met Mrs. Winfred (Freda) Dudley Ward, and for sixteen years she was his mistress. He also had a long term romantic relationship with Viscountess Thelma Furness. It was at the Viscountess’ party that he met Wallis Simpson. For seven years, he and Wallis had a not-very-private affair.

By 1936, it became evident that he would marry her.

However, his family and his Cabinet opposed the match, the government threatening to resign en masse if the relationship continued. As head of the Church, he faced opposition there as well. Eventually, Edward realized that he must choose between the Crown and Mrs. Simpson. A twice-divorced woman would not be acceptable as Queen.

Wallis Simpson didn’t mean for the King to abdicate yet on December 10, 1936, Edward signed the Instrument of Abdication. His brother immediately named him Duke of Windsor.

On June 3, 1937, after her divorce was final, the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson in Paris, France.

He reigned less than a year: January-December 1936.

He was very handsome, blond and blue-eyed, and still, to me, a very romantic figure. I just ordered A King’s Story, the Memoirs of the Duke of Windsor, and can’t wait to read it.

Linda Nightingale, Author of Black Swan, a spicy vampire story.

18 comments

  1. Tamara LeBlanc // March 25, 2011 at 9:36 AM  

    I have always loved the story about Wallis Simpson and her prince.
    How romantic:)
    I haven't seen The King's Speech yet, but it's on my must see list!
    Thank you for all the facts!!!
    Love that era too.
    And the pic was fabulous.
    Have a great day!
    Tamara

  2. Nightingale // March 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM  

    When I was a girl, I was SO in love with the Duke of Windsor. Yes, The King's Speech is a MUST see. The actor who portrays Edward looks remarkably like him.

  3. Beth Trissel // March 25, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

    Everyone must see The King's Speech! Fabulous movie. Glad you chose to do this post, Linda. I so enjoyed it. I love this history stuff and this story is quite a captivating one.

  4. Julia Rachel Barrett // March 25, 2011 at 11:23 AM  

    I'm familiar with the story. I imagine these days, while it might be somewhat scandalous, he wouldn't have to abdicate. I hope the couple lived happily ever after.

  5. Nightingale // March 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM  

    Julia, I hope they were happy too. It's a high price to pay for love.

  6. Mary Marvella // March 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM  

    Thanks, Linda! The movie sounds romantic! I don't see may movies while they are still recent, but I'll put this one on my list.

    Imagine a love so strong! Hmmm. could be a reincarnation story of 2 lovers kept apart before. This time they make the right decision.

  7. Lilly Gayle // March 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

    Great post! The King's Speach is on my must see list.

  8. Mary Ricksen // March 25, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

    He sure was a romantic man. Imagine giving up the throne for a woman!
    that is true love!!!
    I can see why you had a crush!!
    Great blog Linda!!!

  9. Karen Michelle Nutt // March 25, 2011 at 5:47 PM  

    I saw the King Speech and loved it, too.

    What I knew about Wallis Simpson and Edward is what I learned from the movie. Thanks for sharing the information with us.

    By the way, I loved you Black Swan tale. Dark, sexy and original.

    Take care

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 25, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

    Linda, I went with my daughter and a friend to see The King's Speech. We loved it. I think it was the best movie I've seen this year.

  11. Nightingale // March 25, 2011 at 8:13 PM  

    Scarlet, I think it is by far the best movie I've seen this year. I will see it again when it comes out on video. Of course, I'm fascinated with Edward/David's part in the film. Apparently some new papers have been released after the Queen Mother's death, and I may do a sequel blog.

  12. Nightingale // March 25, 2011 at 8:14 PM  

    Karen, THANKS!! You made my day. And thanks for dropping by.

  13. Linda Morris, Romance writer // March 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM  

    I've always loved this story too. (And the jewelry he bought her. Have you seen it? It's insane.) I loved "The King's Speech" too but it did cast a bit of a pall for me on this story. It portrayed Edward as a bit of a fool and Wallis as, well, kind of a manipulator who took advantage of his weakness.

  14. Nightingale // March 25, 2011 at 9:05 PM  

    OOH, Linda, I missed the jewelry. Where do I go to see the Duchess' jewels?

  15. Mona Risk // March 26, 2011 at 10:35 AM  

    The story of Edward VI and Wally Simpsons always sounded romantic to me, until I saw The King's Speech. I loved CVollin Firth so much. I saw the movie twice and realized how selfish David has been. And yes I found Wally to be a manipulator.

  16. Nightingale // March 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

    Though I still am fascinated by him, the more I read, the more it seems he was a romantic and she a manipulator.

  17. Joanne // March 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

    I saw the King's Speech last weekend and loved it. Thanks for an informative post.

  18. Judy // March 28, 2011 at 10:05 AM  

    I saw the movie, too, and I was surprised because,in it, David was not very heroic. His departure had a devastating effect on his brother. One of the things that struck me from the movie was how cold, how unforgiving the family was, and I could well understand why David sought the warmth and acceptance from Mrs. Simpson.