Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII

In 1936, King Edward VIII of England abdicated the throne for which American socialite?

And the answer: Wallis Simpson.

Simpson was an American socialite whose intended marriage to Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis in England. The consensus from the Church of England was that Edward could not marry a divorced woman who still had two living ex-husbands, so he instead abdicated the throne to his younger brother.

At the time, Wallis and Edward's relationship was highly scandalous. As head of church and state, Edward was imbued with responsibility to both his religion and his country. The Church of England reflected more conservative, long-standing ideals of marriage, and was the authority on any and all royal unions. Without their support, Edward's kingship would mean a breech in the tradition of the monarchy. In addition, the country was hesitant to accept an American queen.

What is more miraculous (and romantic) is Edward's unflinching commitment to love, in place of the throne. Though their lives were routed in an entirely new direction after the abdication, they found success in their social life and other personal interests. The pair became well-traveled socialites, pursuing company and pleasure at every opportunity. They soon were lauded for their gracious hosting and luxurious events.

Edward's "abdication crisis" was brought up anew with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in 2018. Though it seems the national and religious viewpoints have begun to progress, tradition still reigns paramount within the British monarchy.

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