British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"
by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann
- Edward's full name was "Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David". The title he was born into was "His Highness Prince Edward of York". When his father became King George V Edward automatically got the titles "Duke of Cornwall" and "Duke of Rothesay" and in addition to that, King George V gave him the titles "Prince of Wales" and "Earl of Chester" as well. When he actually became King, he obviously was referred to as "King Edward VIII" and after his abdication he had the title "Duke of Windsor" until he died.
- Edward definitely supported the Royal Army. When he was 18 years old the First World War broke out and Edward wanted to join the army and actively do something for his country - this was his motivation for joining in. But when he wasn't allowed to serve on the front lines, he even joined the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
- King George V was disgusted to see that his son, the heir to the throne, had a relationship with a married woman and that he somehow wasn't able to find an 'appropriate' wife. King George V was even said to have liked it better, if his second son Albert would become King after him instead of Edward. The whole Royal family never fully accepted Wallis, even after the long lasting and happy marriage with Edward.
- The three options supposed by Stanley Baldwin were: 1. Royal Marriage, 2. Morganatic Marriage or 3. Abdication. King Edward would wave wanted a Morganatic Marriage, but since Edward was not only the King of England, but also of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, the Prime Ministers of these countries had to agree to the possible marriage as well. However, the majority said that they do not see any alternative to option no 3: Abdication. And so ,on 9th of December 1936, King Edward VIII informed the government of his irrevocable decision to abdicate.
- At the beginning of the affair of Edward and Mrs. Simpson the British press remained silent. When Edward and Mrs. Simpson announced their plans for a marriage, the newspapers exploded. The general opinion that was spread by the press was that Mrs. Simpson only wanted to marry the King for the love of money or position in society and not for the love of the King as a person. Mrs. Simpson has always been the 'baddie' who has somehow reached to have complete control over the King. Nobody could really understand why Edward loved that woman - who was not only twice divorced, but also an American! In addition to that Wallis was later accused by the press, the government and finally the British people as well to be a German agent, delivering information to Joachim von Ribbentrop. Furthermore she was even portrayed as a possible Nazi sympathiser.
- I think that it is highly unlikely that Edward regretted his decision to abdicate, because his marriage to Mrs. Wallis Warfield remained happy until his death. In addition to that, Edward always emphasized in his later years that this was the best decision he ever made and that he is happy for his brother, King Geoge VI as well, knowing that he had always wanted to be king. But of course this is just my opinion - the truth can never be found out.