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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Britain's Constitutional Crisis

by Richard Vettese

Bedaux continued to develop relationships with government leaders of England and Germany in the 1930’s. With a close friendship established over the years with Wallis Simpson, Charles and Fern were well aware of the constitutional crisis that was to hit England in 1936. With the death of George V in January1936, Edward ascended the throne as King Edward VIII. The King’s relationship with Simpson, who had been married twice before, was very unpopular with the Conservative-led British government as well as distressing for his mother and brother, the Duke of York. Many also wondered about the King’s relationship with Hitler’s government in Germany.

With Simpson’s second divorce granted in October 1936, it now appeared that the King was going to marry her. The constitutional crisis continued with Simpson leaving the country for France to stay with friends. King Edward abdicated his throne on December 10, 1936 with his brother becoming King George VI the next day. Edward gave his famous speech on December 11, 1936, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility, and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.” 

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