delivered 12 December 1936
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below
transcribed directly from audio]
At -- 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 -- 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
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
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
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
And now, we all have a new
King. I wish him and you, his people, happiness and prosperity with all
God bless you all.
God save the King!
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