Edward VIII

Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) 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.[lower-alpha 1]

Edward VIII
Duke of Windsor
Edward as Prince of Wales, 1919
King of the United Kingdom
and the British Dominions,
Emperor of India
Reign20 January 11 December 1936
PredecessorGeorge V
SuccessorGeorge VI
BornPrince Edward of York
(1894-06-23)23 June 1894
White Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey, England
Died28 May 1972(1972-05-28) (aged 77)
4 route du Champ d'Entraînement, Paris, France
Burial5 June 1972
Spouse
(m. 1937)
Names
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor
House
FatherGeorge V
MotherMary of Teck
Signature
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch
RankSee list
AwardsMilitary Cross

Edward was born during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria as the eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary. He was created Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday, seven weeks after his father succeeded as king. As a young man, Edward served in the British Army during the First World War and undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father. While Prince of Wales, he engaged in a series of sexual affairs that worried both his father and then-British prime minister Stanley Baldwin.

Upon his father's death in 1936, Edward became the second monarch of the House of Windsor. The new king showed impatience with court protocol, and caused concern among politicians by his apparent disregard for established constitutional conventions. Only months into his reign, a constitutional crisis was caused by his proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, an American 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 a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands was politically and socially unacceptable as a prospective queen consort. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as titular head of the Church of England, which, at the time, disapproved of remarriage after divorce if a former spouse was still alive. Edward 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. When it became apparent he could not marry Wallis and remain on the throne, he abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI. With a reign of 326 days, Edward is the shortest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

After his abdication, Edward was created Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final. Later that year, the couple toured Nazi Germany. During the Second World War, Edward was at first stationed with the British Military Mission to France, but after private accusations that he was a Nazi sympathiser, he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas. After the war, Edward spent the rest of his life in France. He and Wallis remained married until his death in 1972. Wallis died 14 years later.