Skip to main content

Edward VIII

Edward VIII was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary and was born on 23rd June 1894. In 1910 he was created Prince of Wales. Educated at the Royal Naval College and Magdalen College Oxford he undertook many popular overseas tours. At Westminster Abbey in 1926 he unveiled the memorial to the Million War Dead of the British Empire who fell in the 1914-1918 war. 

He succeeded his father as king in January 1936 and became Sovereign of the Order of the Bath, so his stall plate still remains in the Lady Chapel. He wanted his coronation service to be shortened or not to happen at all but the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted it take place. As the elaborate coronation preparations take over a year to arrange he was never crowned as he abdicated the throne on 10th December 1936 before the ceremony could take place. This was so that he could marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson (at this period members of the Royal Family were not permitted to marry a divorced person). His brother Albert, Duke of York succeeded him as King George VI. All arrangements in hand for Edward's coronation went ahead and the set date of 12th May 1937 was kept for George's coronation. 

Edward was created Duke of Windsor and married Mrs Simpson in France in 1937. He died on 28th May 1972 and was brought back to England for burial at Frogmore in Windsor. The Duchess died on 24th April 1986 and was buried with him.

Occupation

King

Edward VIII
Edward VIII in military uniform

Bridgeman Images

Plate showing coat of arms of Edward VIII
Bath stall plate for Edward VIII

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

The biggest challenge we face is maintaining such a large physical collection of material within a historic building – believe it or not, there’s just not enough space for it all.

Matthew - Keeper of the Muniments

Twitter logo Tweet this