During those depression years, mostly in the thirties, there was no television, and we did not have a telephone. We kept up with what was happening in the world through the radio and daily newspapers and magazines, plus once a week, current news events in History class.
There was a lot of news about such things as the romance of King Edward in England and his subsequent abdication to marry Wally Simpson. There were stories about the Dionne Quintuplets, Crashing of the Hindenburg, Many stories about The Roosevelt Regime.
Plus stories about personalities like Thomas Edison, Will Rogers, and Admiral Byrd.
There were stories by Rudyard Kipling, the British writer who extolled stories and glories of Imperialism, Stories about Lindberg, his cross Atlantic flight and the kidnapping of his son. Stories about Henry Ford and the Rockfellows were written, alongside stories about movies and movie stars, entertainers like Al Jolson and so many other people and events.
Growing up, I would read all these stories and follow every word written about the people and events. Shirley Temple was the child star idol, and at Christmas time so thrilled to receive her framed picture.
I think the story which was written about the most was King Edward of England. He was the 41 year old Prince of Wales in line for the throne when King George passed away. After becoming King, he fell in love with an American lady, Wally Warfield Simpson. According to the rules of British Royalty he could not name her Queen if he married her. He chose her over the throne and abdicated. This story dominated the news for a very long time.
Here is a re-print of the famous speech he made, broadcast by radio, when he abdicated:
EDWARD’S LAST WORDS TO HIS PEOPLE:
From “Associated Press.” Text of former king Edwards broadcast tonight – the most dramatic the world has ever heard.
“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 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 know the reasons which 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 empire which as prince of Wales, and lately as King, I have for 25 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 I love.
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 so 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 the 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 to 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 particular, Mr. Baldwin, the prime minister, have always treated me with full consideration.
There have never been any constitutional differences between me and them, and between me and parliament…
Bred in the constitutional traditions of 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 the King.”
Here in the United States we have no form of Royalty in the government, however so many of us have been fascinated by the Royalty of the British Empire. From the life of Princess Diana, who married and divorced the nephew, Prince Charles of King Edward, to the recent visit by the newly elected President’s visit with the Queen of England this year.
I for one was so entertained by all the stories I read and heard about during those Depression years of the thirties, and clipped and saved so many of the stories I read.
I was living in Tokyo in the fifties when the young Emperor of their royal family married a commoner and witnessed much of the pomp and circumstance of that highly publicized wedding. Many of us are intrigued by royalty and their lives.
LET FREEDOM RING
The Freedom Lady