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1936: A year when an American lady changes the face of British kingdom

In every monarch there comes a timeline when within span of days, months and even in hours, the whole power gets shifted to other hand. King, queens, kingdom seems puppets in hands of time. Expected outcomes starts appearing as impossible and something unimaginable happens overnight. In the history of British royal ruling, 1936 is considered as one of such year.

Now what happened in 1936 in Britain royal family was not an overnight turnaround. The seeds of this were sown long way far from Britain, in America. No its not some spy stories, it’s a love story where the time was playing harsh with a lady and somehow was pushing her boat towards shore of Britain, where who knows she will change the course of British royal family linage.

Born during reign of queen Victoria, George V became king of British empire and on 6th May 1910. His reign witnessed various social, political and ideological changes. Indian independence movement came to its peak during his time. He visited India in 1911 for Delhi darbar and it was during his visit that capital of India was shifted to Delhi from Calcutta.  His reign saw the first world war from 1914-1918. During first world war, he became seriously injured when he was thrown by his horse during troop review at France. His heavy smoking habit put him in the grasp of pulmonary disease. He died on 20th Jan 1936 after prolonged suffering.

Eldest child of George V, Edward became king on 20th Jan 1936 as Edward VIII. He had served in British army and also had taken part in First world war. Edward personality was very much like playboy. He loves to spend times in cocktail parties with women and wines. He is often described as an ­irresponsible playboy who was not politically shrewd. But there was another, more serious, side to Edward’s character. During the Depression which followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929, he visited poverty-stricken areas of the UK and encouraged 200,000 unemployed men and women to join his back-to-work scheme. His popularity far outstripped that of his distant father.

Wallis Simpson

So the things were going good. A long reign was in front of Edward VIII and he would have ruled. Which implies may be Elizabeth would have never been queen and we won’t even care about whom did prince Harry marry or not. But perhaps circumstances were destined to change and it was fate of Britain that Elizabeth became queen.

So How all these turn around happened?  A woman. Yes, an American woman whose destiny brought her to England, in search of stability and lavish lifestyle. Wallis Simpson. When she met Edward for the first time in a house party, she was twice married and has got divorced from first marriage.  Still charismatic and classy lady whose talk and walk was enough to attract the charming and the most eligible bachelor in the world, prince harry. Something was in the relationship that is often described as some sort of sadomasochistic relationship, that leads to obsession of prince harry for Wallis Simpson.

All these leads to final moment for Edward VIII when he gets stuck in perhaps biggest dilemma of his life either he could remain king and find another wife, or marry Simpson and renounce the throne. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Edward was well aware that he can’t go against British parliament on this and also remain king. Finally, on 10 December 1936, King signs Instrument of Abdication and on 11 December 1936, King broadcasts his decision to the nation on the BBC stating I can’t do this without the support of “the woman I love”.

Post abdication his brother, George VI, father of current queen Elizabeth became king on 11 December 1936. After that British monarch is all about Queen Elizabeth and her generations but if it is really interesting how the circumstances changes and because of one women and a decision.

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