The only British sovereign to abdicate voluntarily, Edward stepped down in 1936 to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. He was king for less than a year. However, he is considered to be one of the greatest monarchs of the United Kingdom.
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Edward VIII, Queen Victoria’s great grandson, reigned as King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and as Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 to 11 December of the same year. On 20 January 1936, on the death of his father, Edward succeeded to the throne as King Edward VIII. At ease with his new role, Edward exuded charm and confidence and was well-liked by the British people.
As King, Edward VIII was head of the Church of England and at the time, the Church did not permit the re-marriage of divorcees with living ex-spouses. King Edward VIII realised he would have to choose between the Crown and and his beloved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Following the abdication, Edward was succeeded by his brother George VI. Edward was given the title His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor and, on 3 June 1937, he married Wallis Simpson in a small ceremony at Château de Candé in France. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived in Paris until the outbreak of the Second World War when they fled to Lisbon.
Edward was never crowned; his reign lasted 325 days.