Reign ended for love

IN AN era before TV and celebrity magazines, few figures fascinated the 1930s public as much as the dashing Prince of Wales.

Young and good-looking, Edward Windsor was the world's most eligible bachelor and had caused a sensation when he toured Australia in 1920.

He was mobbed at 110 towns and cities - including Ipswich - and when he became King Edward VIII in January 1936 the nation cheered.

But within months news broke that would bring his glittering reign to a dramatic end.

It was revealed the Prince was in love with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Seventy years ago - when divorce was almost unheard of - it seemed inconceivable that the King could wed a woman who had already been married.

Under pressure from the British Government and Church of England, Edward became the first king to voluntarily abdicate the throne on December 11, 1936.

The Queensland Times broke the news in Ipswich with a special edition - although adverts for Christmas cakes and gifts remained on page one.

We have reproduced two pages from that historic edition in today's paper as part of our Moments in History series, celebrating 150 years of The Queensland Times.

In 1936, the paper was full of admiration for the lost king.

“He was a friend of the masses, and now, in this crucial hour, none will despise or rebuke him,” its editorial stated.

“Wherever he may go, it will be the earnest prayer of the people over whom he ruled that he may be privileged to enjoy happiness and contentment.”

The prince, from then known as the Duke of Windsor, fled Britain after his abdication and lived most of his life in France with his wife until his death in 1972.

She died 14 years later and was buried alongside him at Frogmore, in the UK.

Edward was succeeded by his brother, King George VI, whose daughter still reigns over Australia as Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Turn to pages 15-18 for today's special liftout of The Queensland Times' 1936 abdication edition.


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