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King Edward VIII’s bid to marry Wallis Simpson sparked a major constitutional crisis for the Royal Family and British Empire.

The monarch dramatically abdicated the throne in December 1936 so he could tie the knot with the divorced American socialite.

It came after the couple’s union faced opposition from the British Government, the public, and the Church of England. Edward, who reigned for just 326 days, was succeeded by his younger brother George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, who was not prepared to be King.

George’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was said to have despised Wallis and inflicted revenge on her in May 1937.

Days before she and Edward were due to be married, they were told by the King that although they would subsequently be known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she would not be given the title of Her Royal Highness (HRH) once they tied the knot.

Historian Piers Brendon explained the Queen Mother’s role in stopping Wallis becoming HRH as he spoke for the Netflix documentary, ‘The Royal Wives of Windsor’, in 2018.

“The key element in that vendetta was depriving Mrs Simpson of the title of HRH”, Mr Brendon said.

Anna Sebba, Wallis’ biographer, also spoke for the program.

She said: “The significance of not making Wallace HRH was that nobody would curtsey to Wallace if they came back to England. So actually, this was a real snub, a real humiliation at a number of levels.”

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