Edinburgh, Scotland. Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936. Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay. Edward became king when his father died in early 1936. Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson, who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as head of the Church of England, which opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their former spouses were still alive. Edward knew that the government led by British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have dragged the king into a general election and would ruin his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Choosing not to end his relationship with Simpson, Edward abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regnal name George VI. With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history. He was never crowned.
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