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Edward VIII Abdicates

Edward VIII (image from
London, Dec. 10, 1936 (AP)--King Edward VIII abdicated his ancient, mighty throne today. He will marry Wallis Warfield Simpson as a man, not as the monarch. Albert Frederick Arthur George, the tall, 40-year-old Duke of York will rule over the 495-million subjects on the greatest empire on earth.

--> He will reign as George VI.
In a message from His Majesty the King, signed by his own hand," Capt. Edward Algernon Fitzroy, speaker of the House of Commons, announced the abdication to the House of Commons in which tensions and hysteria were breathing, living things.

Around the globe, through sundown and dawn, to those who bear allegiance to England's king, flashed this message from their sovereign:

"After long and anxious considerations, I have determined to renounce the throne to which I succeeded on the death of my father, and I now am communicating this, my final and irrevocable decision."

Rather than give up the twice-divorced American woman who waited today within the rain-splashed walls of a villa on the Cote D'Azur, in France, balked by state and church in his desire of morganatic marriage, Edward VIII signed this morning the decree of abdication.

The Duke of York, his heir and his other two brothers, the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, witnessed the historic deed. And the swift machinery to make a new king began throbbing in London and the Kind, through Fitzroy, told the Parliament assembled:

"My mind is up... further delay cannot but be injurious to the people whom I have tried to serve...

"I can only hope that I shall have the understanding of my peoples..."

Edward, with his younger brother, the Duke of Kent, spent the last fateful moments of his reign at the turreted Fort Belvedere, the country retreat which has been the focal point of the empire's drama. Just before the Parliament heard the word of abdication, the new King and the Duke of Gloucester had left Edward's side, to motor in the direction of Windsor.

Tragic Queen Mary had gone to her second son's home in Picadilly Circus while Commons assembled.

And at Villa Lou Viei at Cannes, even before the world knew the truth, Wallis Simpson, through her spokesman-host, Herman Rogers, said flatly that Edward would not join her there.

The drama of the abdication announcement was enacted in the mellow, theatrical light reflected into Commons from the high glass ceiling.

Outside, the fog brought utter darkness. London's streets were as midnight when the fateful word was flashed to the world.

In the Commons chamber, members squeezed into seats and aisles; ambassadors of many countries gazed down in rapt attention; distinguished visitors listened with bated breath.

The actual abdication papers, it was learned, were signed at Fort Belvedere at 10 am today, with the haggard brothers gathered around their sovereign kinsman.

As the signatures were affixed, the flag of the Duchy of Cornwall, which had been flying over the fort since the crisis began, was lowered on its staff.

Then it was raised--an abdications, some thought, that the King might retain the title, Duke of Cornwall.

The House of Lords received the monarch's messages in absolute silence. The galleries were occupied 90 percent by women, their dress and manner as those at a funeral. Mention of Queen Mary brought tears to the eyes of some of the elderly peeress.

Unofficially, it was stated there would be no alteration in coronation plans or the May 12 date.

By abdication, Edward relinquished all his many titles, but it was expected a special dukedom would be created for him.

Whether he will await April 27--the date Mrs. Simpson's decree of divorce from Ernest Aldrich Simpson becomes final--to marry his betrothed, was not known. Many however, though such a delay likely. There has been no move, as yet, to accelerate the time of finality, which may be accomplished only with the assent of the trial court and the King's proctor.


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