9. Edward VIII Abdicates His Throne
When Edward VIII voluntarily renounced his throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936, it was a surprise to no one but the British public. While the world press reported freely on Edward’s relationship with the twice-divorced Simpson, the British press declined to do so. It was basically self-censorship.
That all changed after the Bishop of Bradford, Dr. Alfred Blunt, took a verbal swipe at the king’s “playboy” lifestyle. Journalists mistook the comment as a public announcement about Edward’s mistress, at which point they ran the story in all its glory in December 1936.
A week later, Edward was no longer king.
As a result, the British public directed their anger at Simpson. Angry citizens smashed the windows of her home, and she received bags full of hate mail. Desperate, she quickly “escaped” to the south of France.
Initially, Edward had hoped that his popularity would eventually permit him to have Simpson as his queen. But in the end, such a marriage wouldn’t be tolerated by the British public or those in positions of power. Edward’s mother, Queen Mary, insisted he put “duty before his heart.” She wanted him to finish his affair with Simpson and choose a more befitting queen. He refused, and on December 10, he abdicated his throne, paving the way for his brother, George, to become the new king.
Edward’s new title was now the Duke of Windsor. He did marry his beloved Wallis Simpson, and they remained together until his death in 1972, at the age of 77.