Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor

King Edward VIII was the eldest child of Britain's King George V and Queen Mary. In the early 1930s, while he was still Prince of Wales, Edward met an American woman named Wallis Warfield Simpson. Her first marriage had ended in divorce, and when she met the prince she was married to her second husband, Ernest Simpson. The prince, who was single and had a reputation as a playboy, fell deeply in love with Mrs. Simpson.

George V died in January 1936, and Edward VIII succeeded him as king. Mrs. Simpson divorced her husband later that year. The king was determined to marry her, but he could not convince the royal family or government officials to accept a divorced woman as his queen. In December, Edward VIII officially abdicated. In a radio broadcast that evening, he explained his decision to the public, saying, "I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love." His younger brother succeeded him as King George VI and granted Edward the title Duke of Windsor.

The Duke of Windsor married Wallis on June 3, 1937, but she was never accepted by the royal family. For the rest of their lives the couple lived abroad, mostly in France. In 1940, during the Second World War, the Duke became governor of the Bahamas. In 1945, he and his wife returned to France. The Duke wrote an autobiography, A King's Story, which was published in 1951. The Duchess of Windsor's autobiography, The Heart Has Reasons, was published in 1956.

The Duke of Windsor died in Paris on May 28, 1972. The Duchess remained in Paris until her own death on April 24, 1986. They are buried at the royal Frogmore cemetery at Windsor Castle in England.

-- Royalty.nu, The World of Royalty