Prince Harry Is Not the First Member To Walk Away From the Royal Family

Andrei Tapalaga
Prince Harry and Prince Edward VIIIPhoto byHistory of Yesterday

Since Buckingham Palace stated that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, will not be returning to royal responsibilities and that Harry will relinquish his honorary military titles, there has been a lot of commotion since some think "this is a first." The truth is that this is not the first time a member of the Royal family has left. Although circumstances vary, the royal family is known for adhering to strict traditions, which Prince Harry did not appreciate. However, it was not only Prince Harry, but also his ancestor King Edward VIII.

The story's origins can be traced back to 1930 when Edward met Simpson. Simpson was still married to her first husband at the time, but the two began an affair. Simpson was not content to be a mistress and wanted to marry Edward as their relationship grew. This was a difficulty because, as King of England, Edward was not permitted to marry a divorced woman.

The Church of England, of which Edward was the head, forbade divorcees from remarrying in church. Furthermore, the British government and people were opposed to the King marrying a divorced woman because it would set a negative example for the country. The British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, stated unequivocally that the government would not sanction the marriage, and many members of the public agreed.

Despite the considerable resistance, Edward was adamant about marrying Simpson. He thought he couldn't be happy without her and that it was his right to marry the woman he adored. He also believed that the British people would eventually accept his decision and that he would be able to continue ruling as king even if he was not married in the Church.

However, as the opposition to marriage got greater, Edward realized that he could not marry Simpson and remain king. He realized that insisting on the marriage would generate a constitutional crisis and would almost certainly lead to his demise. He also realized that the British people were not ready to accept a divorced lady as queen and that stepping aside would be best for the country.

Edward announced his intention to abdicate in December 1936. He gave a famous speech in which he stated that it was difficult for him to bear the heavy load of responsibility and execute his obligations as king without the help and support of the woman he loved. He also stated that he did not want to be king if it meant compromising his happiness and the happiness of the people around him.

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