Unissued stamps of King Edward VIII, autographed by the King

英皇 愛德華八世 (溫沙公爵) 簽名的未發行郵票



As Prince of Wales, Edward VIII (reigned January-December 1936) had successfully carried out a number of regional visits (including areas hit by economic depression) and other official engagements. These visits and his official tours overseas, together with his good war record and genuine care for the underprivileged, had made him popular.

The first monarch to be a qualified pilot, Edward created The King's Flight (now known as 32 (The Royal) Squadron) in 1936 to provide air transport for the Royal family's official duties.

In 1930, the Prince, who had already had a number of affairs, had met and fallen in love with a married American woman, Mrs Wallis Simpson. Concern about Edward's private life grew in the Cabinet, opposition parties and the Dominions, when Mrs Simpson obtained a divorce in 1936 and it was clear that Edward was determined to marry her.

Eventually Edward realised he had to choose between the Crown and Mrs Simpson who, as a twice-divorced woman, would not have been acceptable as Queen. On 10 December 1936, Edward VIII executed an Instrument of Abdication which was given legal effect the following day, when Edward gave Royal Assent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, by which Edward VIII and any children he might have were excluded from succession to the throne. In 1937, Edward was created Duke of Windsor and married Wallis Simpson.

During the Second World War, the Duke of Windsor escaped from Paris, where he was living at the time of the fall of France, to Lisbon in 1940. The Duke of Windsor was then appointed Governor of the Bahamas, a position he held until 1945. He lived abroad until the end of his life, dying in 1972 in Paris (he is buried at Windsor). Edward was never crowned; his reign lasted 325 days. His brother Albert became King, using his last name George.


May 28, 1972


The Duke of Windsor Dies at 77

Abdicated in 1936 to Wed Mrs. Simpson, 'Woman I Love'

By Reuters

LONDON, Sunday, May 28--The Duke of Windsor, who gave up the British throne in 1936 to marry an American divorcee, died in his home near Paris early today, a Buckingham Palace spokesman announced here. The Duke was 77 years old.

A statement from Buckingham Place, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth, the Duke's niece said:

"It is announced with deep regret that his Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor, has died at his home in Paris at 2:25 A.M., Sunday, May 28, 1972.

"A further announcement from the Palace will be made later about the funeral arrangements."

The death announcement reached New York shortly after 1:10 A.M. Eastern daylight time.

The Duke, who reigned for 10 months as King Edward VIII before abdicating, had been ill for some time.

The Duke defied the British Establishment to marry Mrs. Bessie Wallis Warfield Simpson, a twice-divorced American.

The couple lived in virtual self-exile from Britain since the abdication.

Queen Elizabeth visited her ailing uncle at his Paris home during her state visit to France earlier this month. The Duke, who would have been 78 on June 23, was too ill to leave the first-floor sitting room of the house overlooking the Bois de Boulogne.

The Duke underwent a hernia operation earlier this year.

One of his personal physicians, Dr. Arthur Antenucci, of the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, flew to Paris to see him two days ago.

In Paris, a spokesman for the Duke said: "He died peacefully."

Asked what had been the cause of death, the spokesman--the Duke's longtime secretary, John Utter--said: "Just natural causes."

Two weeks before the Queen, Prince Phillip and the Prince of Wales made their teatime call on the Duke and Duchess at their home near Longchamp Racecourse during the royal visit to France this month, the Duke was reported to be "in need of a long rest."

After the 40-minute royal visit, the Duke was said to be in good spirits. Later the Duke's secretary said he was being treated at home for an illness, but its nature and his treatment were not disclosed.

Abdicated in 1936

"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."

With these words, delivered with sadness over the radio on Dec. 11, 1936, to his subjects in Britain, Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor, became the first monarch in British history to voluntarily abdicate his throne, which he did 11 months after assuming it.

A popular king, Edward VIII touched off a sensation at home and abroad with the announcement that he intended to leave the throne to marry Mrs. Bessie Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American who had been twice divorced.

'I Lay Down My Burden'

Edward had been determined to marry Mrs. Simpson, although Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had tried to dissuade him, on the ground that the King, as head of the Church of England, would be violating the church's doctrines against divorce.

In the absence of legislation that would permit the marriage, King Edward chose to abdicate. He was succeeded by his brother, the Duke of York, who became King George VI. The new King made his predecessor the Duke of Windsor.

"I now quit altogether public affairs, and I lay down my burden," Edward said in his broadcast the day after the act of abdication had been signed. Then, on Dec. 12, at 2 A.M., he left England. He married Mrs. Simpson six months later in France.

He remained in virtual exile from Britain ever since, estranged from the royal family until recently. It was not until 1965 that Queen Elizabeth II met the Duchess of Windsor at the bedside of the Duke while he was in London for eye operations.

Two years later, the Duke and Duchess were formally received by the Queen at a memorial ceremony for Edward's mother, Queen Mary. Last May 18, Queen Elizabeth visited her ailing uncle at his Paris home.

After the abdication, the Duke and Duchess attracted wide publicity as they traveled about. They often attended charity balls and other events in New York, where they stayed at the Waldorf- Astoria.

The Duke performed some official duties in World War II, when he was appointed governor and commander in chief of the Bahamas.

Called David at Home

Much of the time in recent years was spent at their home in the Bois du Boulogne on the edge of Paris, where the Duke enjoyed gardening and occasionally received visitors, including Emperor Hirohito of Japan on his world tour last year.

Edward was born on June 23, 1894, in the 57th year of the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria. His mother was the former Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later to be Queen Mary, and his father was the Duke of York, later to become King George V.

He was christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David of the House of Saxe- Coburg-Gotha. In 1917, George V renounced the German name and proclaimed it the House of Windsor.

Edward--whom the royal family referred to by his last given name, David--spent much of his childhood at Sandringham in Norfolk, in a household where his father insisted on stern discipline. "I have often thought," the Duke later wrote, "that my father liked children only in the abstract."

Served in France

In 1907, Edward entered the Royal Naval College at Osborne on the Isle of Wight, where the discipline was rigorous. With the death of his grandfather, Edward VII, in 1910, and the ascension of George V, Edward became heir apparent and was sent to Magdalen College at Oxford for a broader education.

Edward did not excel in academics, but he enjoyed college life, engaging in such extracurricular pursuits as dancing and playing the banjo.

When World War I began, he was transferred to the Grenadier Guards. As a result of his own persistence he was eventually sent to France, where he served on the staff of the commander of the British Expeditionary Force. He was never permitted on the front lines for long, but was under fire several times.

After the war, the Prince of Wales took a series of royal tours around the world that attracted great attention. He was accorded a particularly thunderous welcome in New York in 1919, and newspapers carried headlines stressing his eligibility as a bachelor.

The Prince's genuine friendliness, which allowed him to mingle with people, combined with a somewhat shy, almost wistful manner, convinced those who saw him that he would be a popular king.

In 1930 the Prince met Mrs. Ernest Simpson, wife of an American maritime broker. Mrs. Simpson's first marriage, to E. Winfield Spencer, had ended in divorce.

"In character," the Duke later wrote in his memoirs, "Wallis was, and still remains, complex and elusive, and from the first I looked upon her as the most independent woman I had ever met. This refreshing trait I was inclined to put down as one of the happier outcomes of the events of 1776."

About the time that the Prince of Wales decided that he wanted to marry Mrs. Simpson, his father, George V, died, on Jan. 20, 1936. Two days later, Edward VIII was proclaimed King. In his 11 months on the throne, Edward made it clear through his personal style that his would be an unorthodox approach to the monarchy.

But as it became clear that a marriage to Mrs. Simpson, who had received a preliminary divorce decree that October, could not be accommodated with his own position, Edward VIII decided to abdicate before his coronation. The marriage took place June 3, 1937, at the Chateau de Cande at Monts, near Tours, France.

"I did not value the crown so lightly that I gave it away hastily," he later explained. "I valued it so deeply that I surrendered it, rather than risk any impairment of its prestige."

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