Wallis Simpson was an American socialite who stole the heart of a king. Famous not only for her three marriages, but also for the fact that king Edward the VIII abdicated his throne for her, Wallis Simpson certainly played her part in the history of the United Kingdom. Due to the fact that in those days the royal family was more conservative, a marriage to a commoner was not allowed, especially an American girl with no ties to royal blood. As Edward followed his heart, his brother Albert was forced to ascend the throne and become George the VI.
They met at various house parties, which Wallis attended with her then-second husband, Ernest Simpson. By January of 1934, rumors concerning an affair between the Prince of Wales and the socialite were abundant. These rumors were soon to be proved true, as by the end of the same year Edward was besotted Wallis and her domineering manner. He even introduced her to his mother, leaving his father King George V outraged, primarily by her marital status – divorced people were generally excluded from court.
As the affair continued, it became more clear that Edward was keen on his relationship with Wallis Simpson. When George V died, in 1936, Edward ascended the throne of the UK. He broke royal protocol the very next day, by watching the proclamation of his accession from a window in St. James’s Palace, accompanied by a still married Wallis.
Crisis at the Court
The Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry if their former spouses were still alive, and Edward VII was the head of the Church, so it was believed that he could not remain king and marry Wallis Simpson. However, Edward declared that he will marry her even if the government did not approve. The opposition was strong and the people refused to accept Wallis as Queen consort.
During this time, Wallis Simpson filed for divorce and it was settled in 1936. Seeing that the people and governments would not accept Wallis as Queen, Edward VIII abdicated his throne, making him the only British monarch to do so willingly. He signed his letter of abdication on December 10th 1936, in the presence of his 3 younger brothers. Albert, or king George VI, granted his brother with the title of Duke of Windsor.
Edward and Wallis Simpson were married in 1937, in France were they lived most of their lives. They remained married for 35 years, until Edward’s death. It seems that this epic love story comes from a novel, not from history. A king left his throne in order to be with the woman he loved. Do you know other similar stories?
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