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
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
Edward VIII - December 11, 1936