I read an interesting article on the Edward VIII, the British King who abdicated, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.
The marriage was opposed by the governments of the United Kingdom and the autonomous Dominions of the British Commonwealth. Religious, legal, political and moral objections were raised. As British monarch, Edward was the nominal head of the Church of England, which did not allow divorced people to remarry if their ex-spouses were still alive, so it was widely believed that Edward could not marry Wallis Simpson and remain on the throne. Simpson was perceived to be politically and socially unsuitable as a consort because of her two failed marriages. It was widely assumed by the Establishment that she was driven by love of money or position rather than love for the King. Despite the opposition, Edward declared that he loved Simpson and intended to marry her whether his governments approved or not.
The widespread unwillingness to accept Simpson as the King’s consort, and Edward’s refusal to give her up, led to his abdication in December 1936. He remains the only British monarch to have voluntarily renounced the throne since the Anglo-Saxon period.
Although this happened ‘before my time’ (I wasn’t born then), it had lingering effects in Britain and caused much controversy amongst the people.
I remember from my school history lessons… that back in time the opposite usually happened. Sons of the king schemed, or even killed their siblings, in order to be the heir to the throne. It was no ‘light’ matter to be in line for the throne. Especially the British throne, which I believe is the longest occupied throne in Europe. (First as England, then with Wales, and after the ‘Act of Union’ in 1707 of Scotland also, and Northern Ireland which would follow in 1801.)
Way back in history, James VI Scotland, who became James 1 on accession to the English throne after the death of Elizabeth 1, wrote the Basilikon Doron (for his son) on the powers of a king. In it was written that the king ….
“acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from the god a burden of government, whereof he must be countable.”
So, those early monarchs fully appreciated the responsibility of being king over their nation/s.
What went wrong in the pre-second world war times then? What made Edward think so little of his calling… his inheritance, right and duty as heir to the British throne?
When I was reading the article, I could not help but think of Esau, who also thought little of his birthright. Esau ‘sold’ his inheritance for a bowl of lentil stew. Edward gave up his kingship for the love of a woman who was deemed unsuitable because of her two previous divorces.
It is interesting to consider the possible consequences of both actions. Esau though so little of his birthright as the eldest son, his actions fulfilled the prophesy that ‘the elder shall serve the younger’. (Not that God needed any help. It merely proves He knows carnal nature.)
Reading more about the man who abdicated… he and his wife had pro-German views and it has been stated they were Nazi sympathisers.
How very different British history might have been if he had remained the king.
“All things work together for good…” Rom 8:28a
I don’t know that it could be said that either of those two ‘loved the Lord’ as is mentioned later in the verse… but God works His purpose out, knowing human nature, just as He did with Pharaoh when he set the Israelite slaves free.
What about us? Do we take our calling from God seriously? Do we appreciate what we have been freely given?