The Baldwins


Above the Rt. Honorable and Mrs. Baldwin at their home days after King Edward VIII’s Abdication.

In Stanley Baldwin and the Conservatives entered into a coalition with Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. With MacDonald’s health failing, Baldwin became Prime Minister in June 1935. Baldwin’s last major test in office was the Edward VIII Abdication Crisis–the king’s proposed wife, two-time divorcee Wallis Simpson was detested throughly by Baldwin, who joined the royal family in trying to dissuade the king from the marriage.

Despite the public being left uninformed of the looming crisis, and the press barons and royalists respecting the king’s choice, Baldwin’s government insisted that ‘the voice of the people must be heard’. Although Baldwin hoped the king would choose the throne over Simpson, by turning the crisis into a constitutional question, Baldwin pushed it too far. (For the king to act against the cabinet’s wishes would have precipitated a constitutional crisis which would demand Baldwin’s own resignation.

Although Baldwin restored his popularity through his handling of the crisis, this didn’t deter the royalists’ cries of ‘God save the King—from Bald-win! FLOG BALDWIN! FLOG HIM!! WE—WANT—EDWARD!”

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