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King Edward VIII

A Brief History

King Edward VIII was born Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David (called - David) on June 24, 1894.  He was the oldest son of Prince George, the Duke of York (later - King George V) and Mary of Teck, the Duchess of York (later - Queen Mary).

Edward was created the Prince of Wales in 1910, following the accession of his father, King George V.  Edward was a young and charismatic figure.  During the 1920's, he performed many royal duties for his father, including overseas tours and royal visits within the United Kingdom, however his habit of not following proper royal protocols and his rather reckless personal activities caused a lot of friction between himself and the king.

Edward ascended to the throne on January 20, 1936, following the death of his father, King George V.  His eleven month reign was plagued by scandals that were unacceptable to the British government and to the Church of England, as follows:

  • King Edward VIII had problems with his ministers and with Parliament over domestic and foreign policy statements he made, which were not his prerogative as a constitutional monarch.
  • The new King also made clear his intentions to marry a soon-to-be divorced American woman, Wallace Simpson, with whom he had been living.  With the king being the head of the Church of England, it was theologically, legally, and morally forbidden for the monarch to marry a divorced woman whose ex-husband was still alive.
  • It was believed at the time that both King Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson had fascist political leanings, and it was proven that state secrets had been leaked by Wallace Simpson to the German embassy in London.

Faced with the choice of the possible collapse of his government or abdication, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne on December 10, 1936.  His brother, Albert, immediately ascended to the throne as King George VI.

Edward, and later his wife Wallace, were eventually created the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  They spent most of the remainder of their lives living in (luxurious) exile in France.  The Duke of Windsor passed away, in France, in 1972, and the Duchess of Windsor passed away, in France, in 1986.

Following the death of King George VI in January 1952, Queen Consort Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth II partially blamed the premature death of the king on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  It is said though that "time heals all wounds", and to some extent, this did happen.  The remains of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are now interred at the Royal Burial Ground in Frogmore, adjoining Windsor Castle.

British Stamps

Definitives of 1936

Due to the very short reign of King Edward VIII, only four major-type definitive postage stamps were ever issued.

The four definitive British stamps shown above were issued during September 1936.  These stamps were printed photogravure by Harrison and Sons., and they are perforated 15 x 14.  The stamps were issued in sheet, coil, and booklet format.

The Scott catalog attributes are as follows.

  • 1/2 P.  (1936 - Sc. #230) - Dark Green.
  • 1 P.  (1936 - Sc. #231) - Crimson.
  • 1 1/2 P.  (1936 - Sc. #232) - Red Brown.
  • 2 1/2 P.  (1936 - Sc. #233) - Bright Ultramarine.

Examples of two booklet panes are shown above.

The 1/2 P. and 1 P. denominations were issued in panes of six.

The 1 1/2 P. denomination was issued in panes of two, panes of six, and panes of four + two advertising labels.

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King Edward VIII - A Brief History and Issues of 1936