06 August 2015

DECEMBER 10, 1936

King Edward as he abdicated his throne for the woman he loved.
It was raining that day in Atlanta. 

The little girl on the right facing the camera is the present-day Queen Elizabeth

As an incurable romantic all my life, the story of the king who gave it all up for the woman he loved has always been a source of never-ending fascination.  In later years, the more I read and the more I heard, it seemed that their idyllic lifestyle of gallivanting around Europe and being the style-setters for the rich and famous of their day may not have been quite as lovely as the public was so eager to believe.  A new book or movie pops up from time to time, and as the event is now eighty years ago in history, the re-telling becomes either more fanciful or more gritty, take your pick.

The Duke of York, father of Elizabeth as the new king

Today we popped into an estate sale preview in between the monsoons, mainly because I had seen on the gallery some incredible silver and china, and "I just wanted to look."  I have nowhere to put any more, no need for any more, but I always find these sales so intriguing. It seems that this dear little lady might have been a children's librarian or teacher.  There were a couple of rooms dedicated to books, walls and walls of books.  Boxes and boxes of books.  Hallways of shelves of books.  There were a few earnest young women, presumably newly minted teachers themselves, sitting on the floor stacking many of these little gems into smaller more totable boxes, after carefully checking them over.  There were several sets of children's encyclopedias, too, and the rooms were infused with that lovely musty smell that only comes from old books.

A glamour shot of Mrs. Simpson.
She was a serious clotheshorse. 

My eyes fell upon a very yellowed old newspaper, which had been scattered carelessly about over yet another folding table of little books.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing!  

These photos of the coronation were a few months later, in April, from another paper.
Elizabeth is fourth from the right.
The public loved her even as a child.
Notice in the upper right "Pictures Flown by Merrill across Atlantic"
Now we just click and they are there.
Ah, nostalgia.

It was an amalgam of several Atlanta newspapers proclaiming the news of the abdication of the King of England on December 10, 1936, because he found the crown too heavy to wear without the woman he loved by his side to support him. He had begged Parliament to circumvent the rules, making her his consort not his queen, but because she was American, twice-divorced and had a racy reputation, his pleas were thwarted.  He threw in the towel because he hadn't wanted to be king in the first place, gladly letting his brother have the crown with the stroke of his pen, and which he signed with "R.I." (Rex Imperatus) for the last time.

QEII's mother, the woman we all knew as the "Queen Mum"

Since we got home today, I have read through these almost-eighty year old papers with great delight.  I have even read the ads, too, incredulous at the low, low prices for food, goods and services.  Keep in mind that this was during The Great Depression, so many people probably couldn't buy the things being offered even at these almost giveaway prices.  The paper is large, yellowed and torn, and it made me so hungry for that feel of a real newspaper in my hands again.  The longing for a morning paper is palpable at times when I smell coffee because as an adult, I always read two or three newspapers every morning before beginning my day.  They have mostly gone the way of the dodo bird now.  In fact, we refer to our local pitiful rag as "the birdcage liner" and don't bother any more. I read the news online, now, just like everybody else.

Next time, I will share some of those ads.  I think you will enjoy those, too.

The little piece at the lower left says that Wallis Warfield Simpson was so overcome at his big announcement that she took to her bed, but then she rallied and partied on.  Click on the link and at the bottom of that page, you will find a list of the many books and films about this pair who still fascinate us after all these years.  


  1. On Ellen, what a wonderful find. I love reading about things like this - it is always so interesting. Its hard to believe that prices were once so low, but times are changing.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. Fascinating! What a thrilling find!

  3. How interesting and I can't believe you found these papers. I have heard he story, but never really looked into it. Now, I want to read a book about it. Recommend a good one, somewhere between fanciful and gritty?

  4. I love old newspapers,too! My 94 year old mom is always given newspapers from all over the country, and sometimes the world from travelers that know how much she likes to read papers from other places. I am more fascinated by the ads. I love how reading one thing will spark one's interest to go full throttle and find everything there is to read about that topic.

  5. Ellen, what a treasure you have found! Yes, after all these years it still intriques us. My mother was a follower of anything to be seen or read about the royal family and I first remember hearing this story from her when I was a teen. Most recently I read how Winston Churchhill despised Edward. He saw him as weak and inept and one who could be manipulated by Hitler. He was delighted when he abdicated the throne.

    I no longer follow blogs that aggravate me with pop-up ads. It's simply not worth my time. Besides, who wants to see the same piece of furniture chalk painted over every three months?

  6. I've always loved this story too, and how it changed the path of the royal family forever. And as someone who writes for a real live newspaper, bless you!

    1. I seriously miss my newspaper. I was a journalism major for about 15 minutes.

  7. I no so little about this intriguing romance, I can see why you are fascinated! Finding that newspaper is so amazing, isn't it interesting that was a kept and valued possession? I must admit, I don't miss newspapers, they made a mess and got your hands dirty, and it seemed like I was forever picking them up and straightening~ I am a TV news-aholic, and try to check al.com daily for local. Thanks for piquing my interest, I look forward to reading more about this romance!

  8. What a great find, and it was a fascinating story in history. Have you seen the movie The King's Speech? We love that movie!

    1. Yes -- a couple of times. I thought it was fantastic.

  9. Hi Ellen,
    What a treasure to find. Could not have happened to a better steward of the craft. Dianne

  10. I was always intrigued with this story and found it so interesting. I to love a good estate sale, like you mostly looking these days. You never know what you may come home with. Thanks for sharing these interesting papers and a look back at some interesting history.
    Have a great week..........

  11. I bet those two would never have blogged just for income, whadya bet? Party, though, they did. They were frequent visitors to WV's Greenbrier Hotel in the '40s and '50s.Love your description of today's newspapers too.


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