Eighty years ago today, the abdication of King Edward VIII signed the previous day took effect with an act of Parliament and Royal Assent, his last act as King. Here then are European monarchies as they were upon the accession of King George VI, 11 December 1936.
particularly nostalgic for the interwar era--we monarchists had already
lost so much and there were some nasty regimes about--but in itself, 15
monarchs of 18 monarchies (the discrepancy exists because Ireland
and Iceland were both independent but in personal union with the
sovereigns of their former colonial powers, and Hungary was a kingdom
without a king) is certainly an improvement upon the present, even
though we had just lost Spain. It's striking how many monarchs at this
time were without a consort: Wilhelmina, Gustaf V, and Leopold III had
been recently widowed; Louis II, Zog, and unsurprisingly the 13-year-old
Peter II had yet to marry; Franz of Liechtenstein never married; Carol
II and George II were divorced. The former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
brought all the more noticeably then a unique and indomitable presence
to the world stage, where she would remain for the next 65 years.