On a cold January morning in 1936, George V was given a king's burial. Following his coffin was his eldest son, the handsome, much loved, Prince of Wales. He was about to be proclaimed the next king of England. He was that exceptional thing: a model royal. He was at ease in every company. Everyone expected him to shake the stuffiness out of the monarchy. But as time passed, as he span between the royal duties, people began to remark that the prince was approaching 40 and still unmarried. Only a privileged few knew that he'd been stepping out with the mysterious American, a woman who was cheating on her husband with the future king of England. This was the lady known as Wallis Simpson, whom he was determined to marry.
So now he was king, but no one could persuade him to give up Wallis. Not even Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin who spoke for the nation when he said Britain did not want an American divorcee for a queen. Ministerial car shuttled between Westminster and Buckingham Palace but the king could not be budged. He was forced to abdicate and all over the country flags flew at half-mast.
In the summer of 1937 there was a quiet wedding in France. The couple looked a bit nervous, especially the groom, but only a year before he'd been a king.

Now he and his wife would be called the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
So now the man who'd given up a kingdom and a woman who'd given up two husbands embarked on their endless round of fun and gaiety. In the war years they'd been trapped in the Bahamas, but emerged every now and then to attend the great cultural festivals where they startled the locals with the brilliance of their attire. But the man who'd been a king found he was now only a celebrity. There were even rumors14 that he and the duchess were breaking up so they had to parade their devotion for the cameras.
Four years later it was the nation's turn to mourn the Duke and to reflect on one man's decision to trade the crown of England for the love of Wallis and the price they had both had to pay.