this day in 1936, Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne of Great
Britain became effective, when Parliament voted to recognise his Instrument of Abdication, signed the previous day. The King, who succeeded his father King George V, abdicated due to his intention to
marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite. The Church of
England did not allow divorced people to remarry, and, as the sovereign is head of the Church, Edward could
not marry Simpson and keep the throne. Choosing his lover over the throne, Edward decided to renounce the crown and pass it on to his younger brother Albert. Edward reigned as king for 326 days before the abdication, but was never officially crowned; he is the only British monarch to have voluntarily
renounced the throne since the Anglo-Saxon period. Albert, who suffered from a stutter and was very reluctant to take the throne, became King George VI, and was one of Britain’s most popular monarchs as he led the nation through the dark days of the Second World War. George VI died in 1952, passing the throne to his daughter Elizabeth, who remains Queen today.