On December 11th in 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry the American Wallis Simpson, becoming the Duke of Windsor. After revealing his plans to marry Simpson to British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, his cabinet informed him that the people would not tolerate the divorced woman as queen, as remarriage was opposed by the Church of England. King Edward was faced with three options: to dump Wallis, to go against the wishes of the British government, or to abdicate the throne. Unwilling to give up his fiancée, Edward chose to abdicate. He signed the papers on December 10, and on the evening of December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII, in a speech broadcast around the world via radio, formally abdicated the throne of England, and his brother, George VI became king thereafter. After the change, George granted Edward the title of “Duke of Windsor”. George would be the king that would see England into World War II.
This unnumbered Electro-Vox record was recorded December 11, 1936 in Los Angeles, California from the live radio broadcast of King Edward VIII’s abdication speech in London. This speech was also issued on a variety of other labels, including Brunswick and Columbia. Many of those other issues were on standard sized ten-inch records; this one is a twelve-inch.
Besides the speech, one highlight of this recording is a chance to hear the tolling of Big Ben, all the way back in ’36.