Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 and the Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

s of the British Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, and Emperor of India
Emperor of India
Emperor/Empress of India was used as a title by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II, and revived by the colonial British monarchs during the British Raj in India....

, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.

Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 and Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in the peerage of England.The present Duke of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning British monarch .-History:...

 and Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland....

. As a young man, he served in the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 during the First World War and undertook several foreign tours on behalf of his father, George V
George V
George V was king of the United Kingdom and its dominions from 1910 to 1936.George V or similar terms may also refer to:-People:* George V of Georgia * George V of Imereti * George V of Hanover...

. He was associated with a succession of older, married women but remained unmarried until his accession as king.

Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis
Constitutional crisis
A constitutional crisis is a situation that the legal system's constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government...

 by proposing marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson, who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second.

"[The Indian princes’] ceremonies are so irritating and ridiculous" (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 116)

On seeing the great archaeological finds at Taxila, in Punjab, "This place ought never to have been dug up." (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 140)

Of Étienne Dupach, the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune: "It must remembered that Dupach is more than half Negro, and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race, they seem unable to rise to prominence without losing their equilibrium." (Ziegler, King Edward VIII, 448)

To John Kenneth Galbraith, who had been appointed American ambassador to India, "I hear you are going to In-jea. A most interesting country. I had a very good time there in my early youth. You must do the pig-sticking in Rajasthan. And you will find the people most agreeable in their own way. They have been most uncommonly decent to my niece." (Galbraith, Ambassador’s Journal, 36)

To Gore Vidal (who described the Duke as having "always had something of...riveting stupidity to say on any subject"), "British Empire. First trip to India. Glorious. Never would have believed it would all be gone in my lifetime. Not possible, I’d’ve thought. I am the last king-emperor, you know. My brother was, for a time, but had to give it up. I didn’t" (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)

In conversation with Mona Bismarck and Gore Vidal, "Mona said, 'Did you see Gore's new play The Best Man when you were in New York?' 'Of course not.'...'Don't like plays, only shows.' He meant musical comedies." (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206)

Discussing coronation ceremonies with Vidal, "I quickly moved on to...the moment when two masons appear and ask the newly crowned king for instructions as to his tomb. 'Masons? Masons! Yes. You one? I'm one. But I've forgotten all the odds and ends. Dull, really." (Vidal, Palimpsest, 206) all quotations from Godfrey, Letters

Italy: "...they are indeed a repulsive nation these dagoes, both the men and the women & I'm just longing to quit them for good & all !!!" (18 September 1918)

Cologne, Germany: "Claud & I had a stroll in the centre of town afterwards & had great fun making the Hun men civilians get off the pavement for us .... It does one worlds of good to know how humiliating it must be for the Huns" (9 January 1919)

Quebec City, Canada: "A rotten priest-ridden community who are the completest passengers & who won't do their bit in anything & of course not during the war !!" (23 Aug 1919)