Seminar: The Abdication 1936 - A Lovers' Tale or a Coup d'etat?

Ref: C3744384

This seminar will explore and examine the constitutional crisis that arose over the issue of the King's intended marriage to Mrs Wallis Simpson. While this was a unique event in itself, it also casts light on the social attitudes of the day, as well as giving us an insight into the workings of the political establishment of the 1930s. Edward VIII's readiness to forsake the throne in order to marry an American divorcee has become a focal point for debate, rumour, half-truth and gossip ever since, and carries issues and implications that resonate today.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by The Education and Skills Funding agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available. Contact the branch for further details.

Course aim

The seminar will explore and examine the constitutional crisis that arose over King Edward VIII's intention to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson - an American divorcee - in December 1936 .

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain and understand aspects and events of the Abdication Crisis in 1936 within an historical perspective.
  • Utilize evidence from a range of historical sources.
  • Demonstrate knowledge, awareness and understanding of differing historical explanations, debates and interpretations.
  • Present and communicate ideas and views in oral responses and written formats.
  • Understand the nature, importance and relevance of historical enquiry.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Seminar: The Abdication 1936 - A Lovers' Tale or a Coup d'etat?

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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