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Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)
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Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)Edward VIII (1936)
Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, was known to the family as 'David'. Charming and informal, he was a popular prince, touring Britain and the empire, fond of golf, tennis, parties and dancing. Wanting to serve in the First World War, he was kept away from the front line lest he be killed or, worse, captured. Later, he was banned from riding in steeple-chases and learning to fly.

The prince found such restraints irksome, while his parents were upset by his refusal to marry and settle down. When the prince's choice fell on a twice-divorced American, Mrs Wallis Simpson, constitutional problems arose. Never steady or strong of will, the prince had to decide between Mrs Simpson and the Crown, which passed to him in 1936 on the death of his father George V. In the event, Edward VIII became the only British sovereign to resign the throne of his own will.
He abdicated on 10 December, broadcasting a memorable farewell message by radio, and left the country to marry Mrs Simpson in France. He was made Duke of Windsor and lived abroad, maintaining friendly if distant links with his relatives until his death in 1972

George VI (1936-52)
George V's second son Albert ('Bertie') was a year younger than the Prince of Wales. Naturally shy, and with a stammer that - until partially mastered - made public speaking an ordeal, the Duke of York was happiest as a naval officer and family man. He fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, was the first royal family member to fly a plane, and enjoyed a happy married life with Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and their two daughters, Elizabeth (born 1926) and Margaret (born 1930).

The abdication crisis of 1936 tossed 'Bertie' into the limelight and onto the throne. He shouldered the unexpected and unwanted burden bravely, especially during the Second World War. For wartime Britain and its empire, George VI and Queen Elizabeth became symbols of quiet defiance. They stayed in London during the Blitz, touring bombed districts and identifying the royal family with the national war effort. Prime Minister Winston Churchill found in the king a trusted ally.

The king, never robust, saw his daughter Elizabeth marry in 1947 but became ill the following year. In 1951 he opened the Festival of Britain, and doctors diagnosed his illness as lung cancer. Although an operation appeared to be successful, the king died suddenly in his sleep after a day's shooting at Sandringham on 6 February 1952.

'Something must he done.' Edward, Prince of Wales, shocked by the plight of the unemployed in South

I’m glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face! Queen Elizabeth in 1940, after Buckingham Palace had been hit by a German daylight raid

At war again
On 3 September 1939, George VI wrote in his diary: 'Today we are at War again, and I am no longer a midshipman in the Royal Navy' - a reference to his youth at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Speaking that evening to his people by radio, the king said: 'We can only do the right as we see the right and reverently commit our cause to God.'

Forever the Prince of Wales
Edward VIII, handsome and popular in youth, was never crowned. After the abdication, he took no significant part in British public life.

Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)

Royal bombshell
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth survey the damage to their London home on the morning of 10 September 1940. Five days later, another bomb landed on the palace.

Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)

A public coronation
George VI's coronation took place in 1937, on the date fixed for the crowning of his older brother. It was the first coronation to be broadcast on radio.

Edward VIII and George VI (1936 - 1952)

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