Edward VIII would’ve been a ‘useless king’, claims historian

Prince of Wales, who went on to become Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936. Picture: PA
Prince of Wales, who went on to become Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936. Picture: PA
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Edward VIII would have been a “useless king” had he stayed on the throne and his abdication saved the monarchy, a historian has said.

As the 80th anniversary of the constitutional crisis of 1936 approaches, Professor Richard Toye of Exeter University suggested that Edward, later the Duke of Windsor, has become a romanticised figure over his devotion to American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

But the academic argued that, rather than giving up the throne for love, Edward VIII was actually looking for a way out from a role he “fundamentally couldn’t stomach”.

Next weekend marks 80 years since the abdication - one of the most difficult periods in the history of the British monarchy.

The Queen’s uncle renounced the throne in December 1936, after 11 months as sovereign, in order to marry Mrs Simpson, leaving his brother to take over as George VI.