There are plenty of royal family scandals, and Queen Elizabeth’s backstory is one example. Her father, King George VI, became king due to a scandalous love affair.

Before he was King George VI, Elizabeth’s father was Prince Albert, Duke of York. He was publicly known as Albert —“Bertie” among friends and relatives — before he ascended as ruler of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 1936 to 1952.

To begin with, Albert should not have inherited the throne as he was the second son of King George V. The eldest son, the rightful heir, was Edward, Prince of Wales. However, it seemed that Bertie was destined for the throne. His ascension as king was because of Edward’s scandalous love affair — a forbidden love that transpired within the royal realm.

When Bertie’s father, King George V, died on Jan. 20, 1936, Edward, the firstborn, naturally became King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire and also as Emperor of India. However, 11 months later, he abdicated.

The reason for Edward abandoning his throne was love, and it was a scandalous love. He renounced his crown in order to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson, who was not only a commoner but also a married woman who was once divorced.

According to, Edward first met Simpson in 1930, when she was still married to Ernest Simpson. As the Simpsons were part of King Edward’s private circle of friends, he and Simpson developed a close friendship. By 1934, they had acknowledged their deep romantic love, and in 1936, Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce to be with King Edward.

The love affair between Edward and Simpson was a hot topic, a scandal across continental Europe and America, and was staunchly opposed by the monarchy and the Church of England. The prospect of marriage between the future king and an American divorcee was severely opposed due to political and religious reasons.

Faced with opposition from all corners, King Edward finally abdicated on Dec. 11, 1936. In his biography, it was recorded that he confessed to the public: “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 I love.”

In 1937, Edward married Simpson in an intimate and small ceremony in France, and he was given the title Duke of Windsor. His brother Bertie, then ascended the throne as King George VI, the third monarch of the House of Windsor. King George VI died in 1952 at the age of 56 and was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

King George VI King of Great Britain (1936-1952) making his radio broadcast to the nation after the outbreak of World War II. Fox Photos/Getty Images