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jpg After George V's death in 1936, he was succeeded in January of the same year by Bertie's elder brother David, the Prince of Wales, becoming Edward VIII. But by the end of the year he would renounce the title of King of England for what he called "the woman I love" - a 30-year-old twice-divorced American named Wallis Simpson.

Within ten days of the news breaking, the crisis was over. Edward VIII's three brothers witnessed his abdication and he broadcast his decision to the nation. His brother Bertie would be King with, he said, "one matchless blessing, enjoyed by so many of you and not bestowed on me - a happy home with wife and children."

The Yorks, thrust into the firing line by his actions, were more shocked than anyone. Queen Mary later told her biographer Harold Nicolson, that a stunned Bertie sobbed on her shoulder for an hour when he knew he was to become King. Princess Elizabeth, aged ten, raced to the nursery with the fateful news. "Does that mean that you will have to be the next Queen?" asked her younger sister. "Yes, some day," replied Elizabeth quietly. "Poor you," said Princess Margaret.
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