17. Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
Edward VIII is famous as the monarch who abdicated his throne in order to marry a divorcee and commoner, and perhaps worst of all to the Royal Family, an American. he exasperated his father, King George V, with a series of affairs with married women, many of them carried on with a distinct lack of discretion. When George V died, Edward became King Edward VIII. As King, Edward demonstrated a knack for creating controversy in political affairs as well as societal, breaking with tradition, and creating a scandal by having the as yet not divorced Wallis Simpson accompany him on a Mediterranean cruise. Most of the scandal however was on the American side of the Atlantic, the British press bowed to pressure and failed to inform the public of much of the King’s doings.
That changed when Edward informed the Prime Minister of his intention to marry Wallis once her divorce was finalized. He issued the ultimatum, he would marry Simpson with the support of the government, or he would abdicate the throne. On December 10, 1936. Edward abdicated in favor of his brother, Prince Albert, who reigned as King George VI. Simpson’s divorce was finalized seven months later. In 1937, Edward and Wallis, with the titles Duke and Duchess of Windsor, visited Adolf Hitler at his Berghof home, where the former King of England rendered a full Nazi salute to the Fuhrer. They remained married until Edward’s death in 1972.