The House of Windsor

Edward VIII

Monarch 1936. Not crowned.
Abdicated 1936 to be succeeded by George VI.

Includes Abdication Speech and Marriage Souvenir Postcard

See also Queen Mother article where the Abdication is covered at length

Kings and Queens of England

The History Zone Index

Edward VIII

From the Empire Broadcast by His Majesty Edward VIII

"I am better known to most of you as The Prince of Wales - as a man who, during the war, and since, has had the opportunity of getting to know the people of nearly every country of the world under all conditions and circumstances. And, although I now speak to you as the King, I am still that same man who has had that experience and whose constant effort will be to continue to promote the well-being of his fellow-men."

King Edward VIII Abdication Speech

December 11th 1936

"At long last, I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never wanted to withhold anything, but until now, it has not been constitutionally possible for me to speak. A few hours ago, I discharged my last duty as King and Emperor, and now that I have been succeeded by my brother, the Duke of York, my first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with all my heart.

"You all know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the throne. But I want you to understand that, in making up my mind, I did not forget the country or the empire, which, as Prince of Wales and lately as King, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve. But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love. And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine and mine alone. This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself. The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course. I have made this, the most serious decision of my life, only upon the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all.

"This decision has been made less difficult to me by the sure knowledge that my brother, with his long training in the public affairs of this country and with his fine qualities, will be able to take my place forthwith without interruption or injury to the life and progress of the empire. And he has one matchless blessing, enjoyed by so many of you, and not bestowed on me -- a happy home with his wife and children.

"During these hard days, I have been comforted by Her Majesty, my mother, and by my family. The ministers of the crown, and in particular, Mr. Baldwin, the Prime Minister, have always treated me with full consideration. There has never been any constitutional difference between me and them, and between me and Parliament. Bred in the constitutional tradition by my father, I should never have allowed any such issue to arise. Ever since I was Prince of Wales, and later on when I occupied the throne, I have been treated with the greatest kindness by all classes of the people wherever I have lived or journeyed throughout the Empire. For that, I am very grateful.

"I now quit altogether public affairs and I lay down my burden. It may be some time before I return to my native land, but I shall always follow the fortunes of the British race and Empire with profound interest, and if at any time in the future I can be found of service to His Majesty in a private station, I shall not fail.

"And now, we all have a new King. I wish him, and you, his people, happiness and prosperity with all my heart.

God bless you all,

God save the King!"


Duke and Duchess of Windsor
Wedding Souvenir

It might seem strange that a postcard should be published to celebrate the marriage of Mrs Simpson to the former Edward VIII, but it was published in France, so perhaps over there they took a different view of the whole episode. If you have any ideas, do let us know by email. To contact us, email Thamesweb.] Here is the postcard.

Marriage souvenir

The postcard above illustrates The Chateau de Candé and inset images of the duke and duchess to celebrate their marriage in the chateau on 3rd June 1937, around six months after the Abdication. S.A. le Duc de Windsor. (S.A. - Son Altesse - His Highness)

For more about the Abdication, see our story about The Queen Mother

Edward VIII as Prince of Wales

King Edward VIII when Prince of Wales, perhaps 11 years of age, riding a favourite pony.

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See also

See also Queen Mother article where the Abdication is covered at length

Kings and Queens of England

The History Zone Index

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To contact us, email Thamesweb.