Queen Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch, has the privilege and responsibility of awarding royal titles upon the members of royalty. Choosing and giving these titles is no simple task and has to be well thought out and prepared. One major criterion that the monarch must look into is the reputation of the title and all those who have held that title in previous eras.

It is not unheard of for a particular title or dukedom to be hidden away and disbarred from use because of the ill repute of those who held it before. One of the more prestigious royal titles, the Dukedom of Windsor, is “never likely to be used again by a member of the British Royal Family” because of the former bearer of this title.

According to royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, Edward VIII — the former King of the United Kingdom and uncle to Queen Elizabeth — had sullied the title of Duke of Windsor. And now the royal title is unusable for future members of the royal family. 

“The Dukedom of Windsor is unlikely ever to be used again as it will forever be identified with the Queen’s uncle, who abdicated in 1936 to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson,” Fitzwilliams said. Edward was notorious for taking a liking to married women, having taken on mistresses who were, at the time, married to other people. In 1931, the Duke of Windsor met Wallis Simpson, a woman he would become infatuated with for years.

When Edward VIII became king, he met fierce opposition from the royal family for his straying from tradition, as well as his blatant distraction, care of Simpson. He was then faced with a dilemma: keep the throne and lose his lover or give up his position and marry her. The choice was simple for him — as he had some trouble accepting his role as king even as a child — leading to his abdication of the throne.

“His public reputation was for a while that of the King who gave up his throne for love, but in recent decades his reputation has become that of a King to whom patriotism and duty meant nothing, as well as a fascist sympathiser,” continued the royal expert. “His selfishness has become his epitaph.”

Edward VIII Reception for the Prince of Wales during royal visit to Canada in 1919. BiblioArchives/LibraryArchives/Flickr