Wikipedia:Today's featured article/July 8, 2008

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Edward VIII

Edward VIII (1894–1972) was King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India from the death of his father, George V, on 20 January 1936, until his abdication on 11 December 1936. As a young man he served in World War I, undertook several foreign tours on behalf of his father, and was associated with a succession of older married women. Only months into his reign, Edward forced a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Although legally Edward could have married Mrs. Simpson and remained king, his various prime ministers opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept her as queen. Edward knew that the ministry of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead; this could have dragged the King into a general election thus ruining irreparably his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Rather than give up Mrs. Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate, making him the only monarch of Britain, and indeed any Commonwealth realm, to have voluntarily relinquished the throne. He is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history, and was never crowned. (more...)

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