Abdication Speech by King Edward VIII
At long last I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never
wanted to withhold anything, but until now it has not been
constitutionally possible for me to speak.
A few hours ago I discharged my last duty as King and Emperor, and
now that I have been succeeded by my brother, the Duke of York, my
first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with
all my heart.
You all know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the
throne. But I want you to understand that in making up my mind I did
not forget the country or the empire, which, as Prince of Wales and
lately as King, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve.
But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it
impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to
discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help
and support of the woman I love.
And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine
and mine alone. This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself.
The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to
persuade me to take a different course.
I have made this, the most serious decision of my life, only upon
the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all.
This decision has been made less difficult to me by the sure
knowledge that my brother, with his long training in the public
affairs of this country and with his fine qualities, will be able to
take my place forthwith without interruption or injury to the life
and progress of the empire. And he has one matchless blessing,
enjoyed by so many of you, and not bestowed on me -- a happy home
with his wife and children.
During these hard days I have been comforted by her majesty my
mother and by my family. The ministers of the crown, and in
particular, Mr. Baldwin, the Prime Minister, have always treated me
with full consideration. There has never been any constitutional
difference between me and them, and between me and Parliament. Bred
in the constitutional tradition by my father, I should never have
allowed any such issue to arise.
Ever since I was Prince of Wales, and later on when I occupied the
throne, I have been treated with the greatest kindness by all
classes of the people wherever I have lived or journeyed throughout
the empire. For that I am very grateful.
I now quit altogether public affairs and I lay down my burden. It
may be some time before I return to my native land, but I shall
always follow the fortunes of the British race and empire with
profound interest, and if at any time in the future I can be found
of service to his majesty in a private station, I shall not fail.
And now, we all have a new King. I wish him and you, his people,
happiness and prosperity with all my heart. God bless you all! God
save the King!