- Since 1066 the coronation of the king or queen takes place in Westminster Abbey.
They say that the habit makes the monk… and the king, his crown. But in the history of British royalty, not all monarchs had the opportunity to wear the quintessential emblem of their reign on their heads.
Since the year 1066, about 39 monarchs have been crowned as kings or queens of England, all in the traditional and very picturesque Westminster Abbey.
In that year, William I, better known as William the Conqueror, was crowned, who started a tradition that will have its next (and highly anticipated) chapter on May 6, the date of the coronation ceremony of Carlos III after the death of Isabel II. last September 8.
In general, it is tradition that some time elapses after the death of a king or queen to proceed with the coronation of a successor.
Which has led to the fact that not all people who have been officially kings of England have had the privilege of seeing the crown on their heads.
One of the best known cases is that of Edward VIII, who after almost a year as British sovereign decided to abdicate in 1936 in favor of his younger brother -later known as George VI-, basically out of love.
History also knows another king who was never crowned: Edward V, who in 1483 and after spending three months on the British throne at just 12 years old, was deposed and later disappeared (it is presumed that he was assassinated).
His story caused a strong shock in the nation, which even inspired William Shakespeare to write his famous work “Ricardo III”.
The princes in the tower
The fifteenth century saw the United Kingdom plunge into one of the bloodiest conflicts for royal power: the War of the Roses.
Within the innumerable chapters in the confrontation between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne, almost towards the end a very particular and cruel event occurred: the disappearance of a king and his brother at the hands of their uncle.
The king was Edward V. According to BBC History, he was the eldest son of Edward IV, who had achieved one of the main victories in the War of the Roses and, therefore, had kept the British crown.
Edward IV died in June 1483 and his eldest son was immediately proclaimed king under the name of Edward V, at just 12 years of age.
England still had not achieved political stability after the long and costly internal conflict.
Because he was a minor, the uncle of the new king and brother of the recently deceased, the Duke of Gloucester, was appointed as protector of the young sovereign until he came of age.
However, as the British historian Anthony James Pollard points out in his book “The Princes of the Tower”, the protector began to have conflicts with the nobles of the court and three months after the accession of Edward V decided to make a power coup. : ordered the arrest of the nobles and took Edward V and his brother -and at that time heir to the throne- Ricardo and locked them up in the famous Tower of London.
Then a plot was hatched that was documented in a parliamentary act on June 26 of that year: the members of Parliament accepted the Duke of Gloucester’s complaint that both Edward V and his brother Ricardo were illegitimate children of Edward IV, so they they had no right to inherit the crown.
Both Edward V and his brother Richard, then the Duke of York, were never seen alive again and many historians accuse the Duke of Gloucester of having murdered them, although there has never been conclusive evidence or documents to prove it.
Therefore, Edward V could never be crowned. And so far the remains of him have not been identified.
In the same parliamentary act of June 26, 1483, the Duke of Gloucester was proclaimed the new King of England. He would take the name of Richard III.
Edward VIII, the king in love
Nearly 500 years and dozens of monarchs would have to pass before another king did not have his crown.
On January 20, 1936, at the age of 70, George V, King of England, who had been on the throne for 26 years, died at Sandringham House.
At the same time, his eldest son rose to the highest role in the British monarchy and took the name Edward VIII.
But there was a problem: during the years before his father’s death, the then Prince Edward had had different romances, some with married women.
So it was that he fell in love with the American Wallis Simpson, who at the time of making her courtship with the future king official, was still legally married to her previous husband, Ernest Simpson.
However, in October 1936, nine months after Edward VIII’s accession to the throne, Wallis obtained a divorce.
The idea was that she could marry the monarch and become Queen of England.
Then the problems started.
In his book “Prime Ministers from Balfour to Brown,” historian Robert Pearce notes that both the then Prime Minister, Stephen Baldwin, and religious leaders advised him not to marry a recently divorced woman.
They argued that, as King of England, he was the head of the Anglican Church, whose adherents would not take kindly to their King marrying a recently divorced woman.
Eduardo proposed various alternatives, but none convinced his advisors and religious leaders.
After little more than a month of dialogue and attempts at negotiation, Edward VIII himself decided that he was going to abdicate if he could not marry Simpson. This came to fruition on December 11, 1936.
He was the first British king to voluntarily abdicate. His brother, Prince George – and father of the future Queen Elizabeth II – ascended the throne.
Edward VIII lost all his noble privileges, although he was named Duke of Windsor, but he had to move to another country.
He would die in 1972 at his residence in the south of France, where he lived with his wife Wallis Simpson.