World

Britain releases archives on Edward's abdication

Britain has released archives related to the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936.

King Edward VIII wanted to make a radio speech to the British public late in 1936 to seek support for his plan to marry an American divorcee and keep the throne, newly released archives show.

But British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, after consulting with his cabinet and the "dominions" including Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand was opposed.

That set the scene for Edward's abdication on Dec. 10, 1936, one of the great traumas to rock Britain at the time.

aka Mrs. Simpson

Edward married Wallis Warfield, better known as Mrs. Simpson (Simpson was her second husband's name) in June 1937.

Later that year, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, their proper titles, met Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders.

The British government was not amused, especially when the Duchess bragged about the meeting. Speculation at the time suggested they were Nazi sympathizers, but the papers released Wednesday show that was not the case.

The documents do, however, contain Scotland Yard reports showing that Simpson was having an affair with a car dealer at the same time she was seeing the King.

Canada puritanical

As the abdication crisis came to a head, the Canadian government indicated it was opposed to the King marrying a twice-divorced woman and keeping the throne.

Canada was puritanical, and cherished Victorian standards of behaviour, Governor General John Buchan wrote to Baldwin.