King Edward VIII

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King Edward VIII

Rare Typed Letter of State Signed - 1936

Rare Typewritten Letter of State Signed “Edward R.I.” as King, 1-1/2 pages, folio, on black-bordered mourning stationery embossed with black Royal Arms, Court of St. James [London], April 7, 1936.

He writes to the president of Bolivia, in part:

You will have received Our Letter of the Tenth day of last month, with the afflicting intelligence of the decease of His late deeply-lamented Majesty…together with the announcement of our Accession…In consequence of these events, it becomes one of our first duties to confirm and renew the credentials granted by His late Majesty to…Thomas Joseph Morris…as Our Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic…


Binding holes at left, file stamp at upper right of both pages, otherwise in very good condition. Edward VIII is readily available as Duke of Windsor, but having reigned for less than a full year, his autograph as King is scarce (and unknown to us on a Letter of State); according to American Book Prices Current, only one other known letter sold at auction, in 1999.

Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth and Emperor of India (1894-1972, ruled during 1936); abdicated within a year of becoming King, to marry American divorcee, Mrs. Wallis Simpson, and was created Duke of Windsor.

When George V died on January 20, 1936, Prince Edward became King Edward VIII. Because the monarch is the head of the Church of England and is also expected to set an example of the British way of life, King Edward’s family disapproved of his continued liaison with Mrs. Simpson. Their vacation together aboard a yacht in the summer of 1936 was sensationally reported in the foreign press and caused considerable anxiety in British royal and governmental circles. The crisis began in October 1936, when Wallis Simpson was granted a decree nisi-a divorce that would become final in six months-from Ernest Simpson, a British shipping executive. A few weeks later the king told the prime minister, the staid Conservative Stanley Baldwin, that he wanted to marry Wallis Simpson and that if he could not do so and remain king, he was “prepared to go.”

His brief reign was just 326 days. In a radio speech after renouncing the throne, Edward remarked “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Following his abdication Simpson and Edward were married in France on 3 June 1937. It was Edward’s first marriage, and they had no children.

Upon his abdication his brother Albert ascended the throne as King George VI, and Edward became Duke of Windsor. He served as Governor of the Bahamas from 1940 to 1945, and spent the rest of his life living abroad, mainly in France. After their deaths he and Wallis Simpson were buried on the grounds of Windsor Castle.


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