Having acceded to the throne early in
1936, King Edward VIII became more concerned with his domestic and personal
affairs than with his official life as the year went on. On November 16th
he announced his intention of marrying the recently divorced American
Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson. Parliament, the people and the Dominions
were against a divorcee beside the Throne and were against a Sovereign’s
morganatic marriage. The King had to go. Early in December the whole story
broke in the British press and on December 10th Edward VIII renounced
the Imperia1 Throne and his abdication was official and final.
On December 11th, by night and by British warship, he left the shores
of Britain to begin his chosen exile. Before he left he made a poignant
broadcast, his famous farewell in which he declared that he could not
discharge his duties as King ‘without the woman I love”.
The news broke so suddenly that the constitutional crisis simply filled
the ordinary issue of the ILN (No. 5095, vol. 189) for December 12th.
For the student of those days that is the issue to refer to, with the
worried face of the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, on nearly every other
The following week, on December 19th, a special
‘Accession Number and Abdication of King Edward VIII’
issue was produced
(Appendix List No. 114).
The front page shows the anxious face of Edward’s brother, the former
Duke of York and now King George VI, as he hurries to London from Fort
Belvedere on December 10th, the day on which King Edward announced his
renunciation of the Throne to the Houses of Parliament. The pages that
follow illustrate King Edward’s message to Parliament being read
by the Speaker, Captain Fitzroy; the Proclamation of the new King on December
12th; the life story of the new King and that of Queen Elizabeth and,
of course, full coverage of the heir presumptive, Princess Elizabeth and
her sister Princess Margaret. Hector Bolitho also wrote a moving personal
record ‘The Tragedy of a Renunciation’, King Edward’s
life, from childhood to constitutional crisis, over 26 pages. This issue
comes with three plates in colour depicting King Edward at various important
stages of his career and one double page photogravure supplement of the
new King and Queen from the painting by Philip de Laszlo.
The cover of the magazine shows a sepia photograph of King George VI dressed
in his Admiral’s uniform with the Queen by his side. The coloured
pictorial surround is the same as that of the Thanksgiving Number of 1929.
This is issue number 5096, vol. 189, pages 1095-1164, measuring 37 x 26
cm. and priced at two shillings.
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