Wednesday, 16 March 2011

King Edward the VIII (Duke of Windsor).

It should not come as a surprise that the cutaway collar was put on the map by a man, who, in one lifetime, gave up the English throne for an American beauty, donated the Price of Wales Cup to the NHL, and was famous for having his pants made in New York and his jackets made in London. This man, if you are curious, was the Duke of Windsor, also known for a short while as King Edward the VIII.

At first thought, you would think the colorful Duke probably chose the cutaway collar for its ever so pronounced look. Not so. The Duke wore the collar more out of practicality. Reason being, he had a penchant for wearing a particularly large, square, perfectly even tie knot, which, if you can believe it, was known as the “Windsor Knot.”


The peerage title Duke of Windsor was created in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1937 for Prince Edward, the former King of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms, after he abdicated the throne. The dukedom takes its name from the town where Windsor Castle, a residence of English monarchs since the Norman Conquest, is situated. Windsor had been the surname of the Royal Family since 1917.

Edward had abdicated on 11 December 1936 so that he could marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, who became upon their marriage The Duchess of Windsor.

At the time of the abdication there was controversy as to how the ex-King should be titled – other possibilities were the Dukedoms of Cambridge or Connaught, though neither was likely because the Marquessate of Cambridge and the Dukedom of Connaught were both extant at the time. One of George III's younger sons had borne the title Duke of Sussex, but for unknown reasons that specific title has never been resurrected and, so far as is known, no consideration was given to conferring it upon the abdicated king in 1936. Although the Duke of Connaught was also Earl of Sussex, that title was not in active use as his heir Prince Arthur of Connaught was known as that. Nor do other available titles with Royal connections such as Kendal, Ross or Clarence appear to have been considered. One theory is that it was Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's idea to create the title Duke of Windsor. Another is that the new King George VI brought up the idea of a title just after the abdication instrument was signed, and suggested using "the family name".

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