Edward was the eldest son of George V and Queen Mary. He was known to his family and close friends, by his last Christian name, David.
Kings and Queens of England & Britain
Although Edward was willing to serve on the front lines, the British government refused to allow it, because of the harm that the capture of the heir to the throne would cause. However, Edward did witness at first hand the horror of trench warfare, and visited the front line as often as he could. His role in the war, although limited, led to his great popularity among veterans of the conflict.
Throughout the s the Prince of Wales represented his father, King George V, at home and abroad on many occasions. He took a special interest in visiting the poorest areas of the country. Abroad the Prince of Wales toured the British Empire, undertaking 13 tours between and There Edward had relationships with a series of married women, including the American Wallis Simpson. Simpson had divorced her first husband in and later married Ernest Simpson.
Edward's relationship with Wallis Simpson further weakened his poor relationship with his father, King George V. Edward, however, had now fallen in love with Wallis and the couple grew ever closer. The next day he broke royal protocol by watching the proclamation of his own accession to the throne from a window of St James's Palace in the company of the still-married Mrs Simpson.
List of monarchs in the British Isles
It was now becoming clear that the new King wished to marry Mrs Simpson, especially when divorce proceedings between Mr and Mrs Simpson were brought at Ipswich Crown Court. Powerful figures in the British government deemed marriage to Mrs Simpson impossible for Edward, even if Wallis obtained her second divorce, because he had become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England which prohibited remarriage after divorce.
On 16 July , an attempt was made on the King's life. Jerome Bannigan produced a loaded revolver as the King rode on horseback at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace. Police spotted the gun and pounced on him, and he was quickly arrested.
The Prime Minister responded by presenting the King with three choices: he could give up the idea of marriage; marry Wallis against his ministers' wishes; or abdicate. It was clear that Edward was not prepared to give up Wallis. By marrying against the advice of his ministers, it was likely that he would cause the government to resign, prompting a constitutional crisis. Faced with this opposition, Edward chose to abdicate.
Edward duly signed an instrument of abdication at Fort Belvedere on 10 December The Free State passed the equivalent External Relations Act, which included the abdication in its schedule, the next day. On the night of 11 December , Edward, now reverted to the title of The Prince Edward, made a broadcast to the nation and the Empire, explaining his decision to abdicate.
He famously said, "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. After the broadcast, Edward left the United Kingdom for France, though he was unable to join Wallis until her divorce became absolute, several months later. None of the British royal family attended. In , the Duke and Duchess visited Germany as personal guests of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, a visit much publicised by the German media.
The couple then settled in France. In July the pair moved to Lisbon. He held the post until the end of World War II in After the war, the couple returned once again to France in Neuilly near Paris, where they spent much of the remainder of their lives in retirement. The Royal Family never accepted the Duchess and would not receive her formally, although the former King sometimes met his mother and a brother after his abdication. The Duke died of throat cancer in in Paris, and his body was returned to Britain for burial at Frogmore near Windsor Castle.
The Welsh ruled over large areas of Britain in the pre- and post-Roman eras, before they were pushed back into Wales itself by the Anglo-Saxons. Caratacus and Boudicca are names that stand out from early tribal states, and Medieval Welsh legends refer to shadowy 'High Kings' who ruled after the Romans left - Vortigern, Ambrosius and of course the enigmatic 'Arthur'. Venning explores these mysterious figures before discussing the kings and queens of each area of what we now know as Wales - the north, the centre and south-west, and the south-east - as well as the short-lived Welsh states in the rest of Britain.
The thirteenth-century unifiers of Wales, Llewelyn 'Fawr' and his grandson Llewelyn 'the Last', were contemporaries of great nation-builders in England, Scotland, and France, but their political achievements did not last. The precarious Welsh state was permanently overrun by the English war-machine. Read more Read less. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Timothy Venning. See all free Kindle reading apps.
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Kings and Princes of Wales
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. The older he got, the more he behaved like a petulant, self-obsessed teenager with a loaded revolver. But although he degenerated from a Renaissance prince into a tyrant, casting off wives and servants with merciless finality, he did make England independent. By breaking with Rome in when the pope refused to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, Henry created the sovereign English nation, living under its own laws and guarded by its own ships. Parliament became his junior partner in this venture, and in the dissolution of the monasteries.
Catherine of Aragon gave birth to a girl, Mary. She was replaced by the much younger and prettier Anne Boleyn , who likewise gave birth to a girl, Elizabeth, before Henry wearied of her and had her beheaded on trumped-up charges. In it reached its ecstatic climax when together they defied the Armada sent by Philip of Spain to subdue them. France descended at this time into the horrors of religious civil war. England did not, because Elizabeth steered a successful course between Roman Catholicism and puritanism. She promoted the Church of England as a compromise between religious extremes, and she was herself tolerant of private differences of belief.
Elizabeth had amorous friendships, but never married. She employed outstanding ministers, but never allowed herself to be dominated. Charles II is, in my view, the wittiest monarch in English history. He was courageous, tolerant, lazy, duplicitous and pleasure-loving: his return from exile in inaugurated the most conspicuous change in manners — from extreme puritanism to unbridled licentiousness — this country has seen. But he conducted the restoration of the Stuart dynasty with such tact, and rode every later crisis with such skill, that he was never in serious danger of being unseated.
His father, Charles I, was executed after refusing to reach a compromise with his opponents. William III is one of the greatest kings of England and yet one of the least remembered. No one could have been more skilful at deposing James II, or at negotiating the terms for a monarchy more acceptable to parliament. But even in his lifetime, this bold, cold, asthmatic Dutchman was not popular. William had timed to perfection his arrival in England in , landing in Devon with a printing press as well as an army. But for him, the Glorious Revolution, as the constitutional settlement reached in —89 came to be known, might not have been very glorious at all.
Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. She rescued the monarchy from the contempt in which it was held for several decades before , and became the grand unifying figure, at once majestic and domestic, in a Britain that dominated the globe.
Here was an empress who had a startling affinity with the middle class: the class to which even the aristocracy felt it must now defer. Her views about politics, and especially about foreign affairs, were so strong, and expressed with such partisan sincerity, that it was impossible to kick her upstairs, to the less exciting region above politics that her successors came to occupy.
But though Victoria was passionate, she possessed also a devout desire for self-improvement, fully shared by her husband, Prince Albert, who was from Coburg. His early death on 14 December led her to retire for many years from public life. Victoria proceeded to rout incipient republicanism by establishing an emotional link with her subjects that no anti-monarchist could rival. During the reign of George V, an alarming number of royal families, including the Romanovs, the Hohenzollerns and the Hapsburgs, were overthrown. George helped to avert that fate by welcoming the Labour party into power.