Famous Marriages King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson Part 2

About the marriage between English King Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Simpson, history of their courtship, wedding, and marriage.


King Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Simpson

Nothing in the British Constitution prevented Edward VIII from marrying a commoner or a divorced woman; he could marry whomever he wanted, except a Roman Catholic. Knowing this, he informed Baldwin of his resolution to marry Wallis. A veteran of British politics, Baldwin knew that, even though there was no legal barrier to the marriage, politically it could be blocked. Baldwin threatened to resign, leaving the country without a government, unless the king changed his mind. As a compromise, Edward VIII suggested a morganatic marriage, in which his wife would not become the queen. Led by Baldwin, Parliament firmly rejected this proposal and, as public opinion turned against him, Edward VIII realized he had only two choices: renounce his intention of marrying Wallis or abdicate. He chose the latter.

Winston Churchill stood almost alone in championing his king. Edward later wrote: "He [Churchill] strode into the House of Commons . . .undaunted and quite alone, to launch his attack. Hardly was he on his feet before hostility smote him like a great wave.

"The memorable scene of Mr. Churchill being howled down has often been described . . . I am proud . . . that of all Englishmen it was Mr. Churchill who spoke up to the last for the king, his friend."

No choice was left. On Dec. 10, 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated.

Proposal: Although Wallis and Edward were in love before his ascension to the throne, he had made no formal proposal of marriage. It was only after scheduling his first formal dinner at York House that he asked Wallis to be there, because, as he said, "Sooner or later, my prime minister must meet my future wife."

That statement pledged their troth.

Wedding: Edward, now titled Duke of Windsor, and Wallis Simpson were married on June 3, 1937, at Chateau de Cande near Tours, France.

When the Church of England refused to sanction the union, a Yorkshire Episcopalian, Rev. Robert Jardine, offered to perform the full church ceremony, and the duke happily accepted his services.

For her wedding, Wallis wore a floor-length cocktail dress with a fitted jacket, wrist-length gloves, high-heeled sandals, and a tiny skull-type hat, all colored "Wallis blue." The same hue prevailed in her trousseau of 80 dresses and 40 hats.

The duke wore formal black morning clothes.

After a civil ceremony in the salon, performed by the mayor, the couple retired to the music room, where noted French organist Marcel Dupre played background music as they were united in holy matrimony by Reverend Jardine. At last the years of frustration were over; finally they were husband and wife.

Their honeymoon was spent in the fairylike Castle Wasserloenburg, in the village of Noestch, Austria. The duke carried his bride over the threshold without stumbling, which, according to local legend, foretold a long and happy marriage.

Happily Ever After: The duke and duchess resided chiefly in France, except from 1940 to 1945, when he was governor of the Bahama Islands. He had only one regret--the slighting of his wife by his mother, who would never receive her, and by his brother, George VI, who meanly denied her official address as "Her Royal Highness."

When the duke died in Paris on May 28, 1972, the duchess was finally invited to Buckingham Palace, by Queen Elizabeth II, to arrange for the duke's burial at Frogmore Cemetery near Windsor Castle.

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