The Abdication of Edward VIII: Legal and Constitutional Perspectives

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy book series (PSMM)


This chapter explores the abdication of Edward VIII, and so the issue of the extent to which the later Duke of Windsor qualifies as a ‘true’ Windsor, given the reasons for his abdication. It explores, also, the extent to which Edward VIII was badly advised, arguing that had the King been more determined to seek alternatives, he could have challenged the opinion of his Prime Minister in particular. The chapter assesses the extent to which, as an unexpected result of the changes instituted by George V, monarchs found themselves faced with a new reality: that their private lives were as much part of the ‘job description’ as their public and ceremonial duties. Drawing also upon the consequences of the way in which the royal family reacted to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the implication here is that the Windsors can, and will, only survive so long as they are perceived publicly to be doing the job—and continue to be willing to accept a high level of popular expectation of intrusion into what might once have been considered ‘private’ matters for individual Windsors.


Prime Minister Ministerial Advice Privy Council Constitutional Issue George Versus 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, King’s College LondonLondonUK

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