Contrived Solution to Remove the Threat that Mrs. Simpson's Divorce Could be Blocked

Saturday 5th December 1936

Behind the Scenes

Unmentioned in any of the public discussion of the King's affair was the practical problem posed by Mrs. Simpson still being married to Ernest. If the King were to abdicate, he could find himself unable to marry her, if her divorce were overturned between the decree nisi granted at Ispwich in October and the decree final which could not be granted until April 1937 as English law stood then. There was every reason to fear this might occur, given the apparently flagrant adultery committed by Mrs. Simpson with the King. In the course of a long conference at London gentleman's club between senior figures at Downing Street and the King's advisers, a solution was concocted. Two bills would pass through Parliament simultaneously, one giving force to the King's abdication and the other making Mrs. Simpson's divorce absolute. In the nineteenth century, a private Act of Parliament had been the only way to get a divorce, so this was not as outlandish as it seems today.


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