WINDSOR, Edward (Duke) WALLS, (Duchess)
WINDSOR, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David (1894-1972) – King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December the same year.
The eldest son of George V and Mary of Teck. He was named Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday, nine weeks after his father succeeded the throne. As a young man, Edward served in the British Army during the First World War and undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father.
He became king on his father’s death in early 1936. However, he exhibited impatience with court protocol and caused concern among politicians by his apparent disregard for established constitutional conventions. Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to Wallis Simpson, an American who had divorced her first husband was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the UK and the Dominions opposed the marriage arguing that a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands was politically and socially unacceptable as a prospective queen consort. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward’s status as the titular head of the Church of England which, at the time, disapproved of remarriage after divorce if a former spouse was still alive. Edward knew that the British government, led by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have forced a general electkion and would ruin his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. When it became apparent that he could not marry Wallis and remain on the throne, Edward abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother, George VI. With a reign of 326 days, Edward is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history.
Following his abdication, Edward was created Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis in France in June 1937, after her second divorce became final. Later that year, the couple toured Germany. During WWII, he was stationed with the British Military Mission to France but, after private accusations that he held Nazi sympathies, was appointed Governor of the Bahamas. After the war, Edward spent the rest of his life in retirement on the outskirts of Paris.
WALLIS, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; also known by her married names of Wallis Spencer and Wallis Simpson) (1896-1986). In the 1950s and 60s, the Duke and Duchess shuttled between Europe and the United States living a life of leisure as society celebrities. After the Duke’s death in 1972, the Duchess lived in seclusion and was rarely seen in public. Her private life has been a source of much speculation and she remains a controversial figure in British history.
SIG – Pair of signatures — Edward Duke of Windsor, Wallis, Duchess of Windsor — accomplished in black marker pen — on a heavy stock ecru card bearing the heraldic crest and double WW. Professionally double-matted in gilt under-board and top board of rich red damask fabric. Included is a sepia-tone portrait of the royal couple printed on Hannemuhle rag paper and a full-color coat of arms print. Encased in TruVue conservation glass and a gilt wood frame. Stunning display piece.