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Today marks the Anniversary of the death of the Duke of Windsor, former King Edward VIII, who died in Paris on this day in 1972. The eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary, he was born 3rd-in-line to the Throne, set to succeed his grandfather and father. The eldest of six children, he was brought up at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate and educated privately before being sent to the Royal Naval Collage at Osbourne, then the Royal Naval Collage at Dartmouth, followed by eight terms as Magdalen College, Oxford, which he left without any academic qualifications. Officially invested as Prince of Wales on his sixteenth birthday, he served in the British Army during the First World War and afterwards undertook a series of extensive Tours of the British Empire, including Canada, India, Australia, and Africa, gaining immense personal popularity. During the Interwar period, while his siblings got married and had children, he conducted a series of affairs with married women, most famously with twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. In 1936, he succeeded to the Thone as King Edward VIII, and while very popular, his disregard for established constitutional conventions caused concerns with the Government, and he caused a constitutional crisis when proposed to marry Wallis Simpson, which was opposed by the Governments of Britain and the dominions, as well as his family and the Church of England, of which he was Head. In December 1936, just eleven months into his Reign, King Edward VIII abdicated because he found it impossible to to do his duty “as I would have wished without the love and support of the woman I love.” The new Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson in France in 1937, and the couple were prevented from returning to Britain, apart from a few short trips, until their deaths. Due to his alleged Nazi sympathies, the Duke was appointed Governor of the Bahamas during the Second World War, and afterwards lived a very social life in France, where he also produced a ghost-written memoir, A King’s Story. In 1972, just 10 days after a visit from the Queen during her State Visit to France, the Duke of Windsor died in Paris, and was buried in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore, where he was joined by the Duchess in 1986.
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Well, I think his “alleged sympathy” for the Nazis is more than alleged. It is well documented. Whether he fully understood what Hitler was about is another story (he wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier). He was very much flattered by Hitler’s attentions and he was delighted to visit Nazi Germany just so that his wife could be given the royal treatment she wouldn’t receive in Britain! That is tantamount to treason! I think the British owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mrs. Simpson for saving them from his reign. I have yet to read anything about him that would indicate a mature man, ready to assume his duties and the responsibilities of kingship. I’m afraid his long life of hedonism, devoid of any real or worthy purpose, was of his own doing. What a pity!