Edward the VIII Abdicates the Throne
(Audio Recording of Radio Speech with Photo Slideshow)

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This speech was delivered December 11, 1936, when Edward publicly announced his decision via radio to a worldwide audience. His younger brother, George VI, took the throne and immediately gave Edward the title, Duke of Windsor.

What Led to this Historic Speech

Edward VIII (1894-1972) became King of England after the death of his father, George V, on January 20, 1936.

Nearly 42-years-old and still a bachelor, Edward made known his desire to marry an American woman named Wallis Warfield Simpson, whom he had known since 1931. He sought the approval of his family, the Church of England, and the political establishment to marry her, but met with strong opposition. She had been married twice and her second divorce was still pending.

This love affair and possible royal marriage resulted in sensational newspaper headlines around the world and created a storm of controversy, but did not sway Edward. On December 10, 1936, King Edward VIII submitted his abdication and it was endorsed by Parliament the next day. He thus became the only British monarch ever to resign voluntarily.

Source: HistoryPlace.com

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