THIS DAY IN HISTORY Jun 3, 1937 Duke of Windsor weds American divorcee socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson.
In France, the duke of Windsor–formerly King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Northern Ireland–marries Wallis Warfield, the American divorcee for whom he abdicated the British throne in December 1936.
Edward, born in 1896, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. He served as a staff officer during World War I and in the 1920s made extensive goodwill trips abroad as Prince of Wales, a title bestowed on male heirs to the British throne. During the Depression, he helped organize work programs for the nation’s unemployed and was highly regarded by the public in the years leading up to his father’s death.
Edward, still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, socialized with the fashionable London society of the day and frequently entertained at Fort Belvedere, his country home. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1896 and brought up in Maryland, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward’s married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died on January 20, 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.