"Comparing Edward and Harry’s situation is akin to comparing chalk with cheese"

This letter sent to the Star was written by Cyril Olsen, Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5

Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:34 am
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:56 am
Prince Harry

As an admirer of the forthright nature with which Terry Palmer writes his letters to the Star, I was very interested in reading his January 19, letter ‘Almost a copy of Edward’, where he commented on Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s current situation and compared it to that of Edward VIII and his wife.

While there is indeed a similarity with their position and that of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, it cannot be classed as a copy, far from it! The only real comparison is that Edward and Harry were/are both very popular and liked by the nation.

Prince Harry is sixth in line of succession to the throne, this means that unless a series of unforeseen disasters take place he would never become King, whereas Edward was King-Emperor of the British Empire until his abdication in December 1936.

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At that time the marriage was opposed by the governments of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth. Religious, legal, political and moral objections were raised. As the monarch, Edward, David to his family, was the nominal head of the Church of England, which did not then allow divorced people to remarry in church if their ex-spouses were still alive, in the case of Wallis Simpson she had already been divorced once and was awaiting a second divorce. For this reason it was widely believed that he could not marry her and remain on the throne.

The widespread unwillingness to accept her as the King’s consort and his refusal to give her up led to his abdication. They subsequently married and remained so until his death in Paris 35 years later. It is very significant that the Royal family did not attend their wedding ceremony, unlike Harry and Meghan’s matrimony.

Edward paid dearly for marrying the love of his life, being ostracised by an opposition ‘family led’ by Elizabeth Bowes Lyon later to become the Queen Mother. She married his younger brother Albert who became King George VI on Edward’s abdication.

Their daughter Queen Elizabeth II has served the nation with dedication and honour since coming to the throne in 1952. She retains her popularity with the people in spite of the family divorce of Prince Andrew and divorce and re-marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Comparing Edward and Harry’s situation is akin to comparing chalk with cheese.

Today, Royalty, Government and the Church of England all have a vastly different approach to divorce and re-marriage than in the 1930’s.

While it is now an accepted happening, it was strictly taboo in days gone by. Likewise, for a senior Royal to marry someone of mixed race was unthinkable.

It is a great pity that Edward VIII and his divorcee wife were unable to share and enjoy the modern-day Royal family, Government and Church of England acceptance of being remarried and welcomed back into society, rather than being shunned by family and Establishment and an unwanted exile from the country of which you were once King.

This is vastly different from Harry and Meghan’s situation where they have voluntarily opted to take a Royal ‘back seat’ and make a new shared home in Canada and the UK.

Their hopefully happy ending which has the support of the Queen and her family is something which Harry’s great granduncle David and his wife were never given the opportunity of enjoying by their country and ‘nearest and dearest’ family.