In 1936 a remarkable thing happened: Britain had three kings in succession. This had not happened before and it was brought about by an exceptional event that had also never happened before: a monarch of Great Britain VOLUNTARILY GAVE UP THE THRONE (abdicated).
This set is a tribute to the three kings of that year, 1936, and includes an original heritage coin of all three of these kings.
The first monarch of the Year of Three Kings was King George V. He reigned from 1910 until his death in January 1936. His 26-year reign encompassed the First World War, the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, and the very first Labour government in Britain in 1924. He was also the first British monarch to broadcast a Christmas message to the nation and the Empire in 1932, a tradition continued today.
Included in this set is a 1925 King George V gold sovereign.
The second monarch of the Year of Three Kings was King Edward VIII. He succeeded his father in January 1936 but his intention to marry US divorcée Wallis Simpson met great resistance. Finally in December 1936 he acknowledged this and abdicated – the only British monarch ever to voluntarily surrender the crown.
King Edward VIII’s reign had lasted only 325 days. He was never crowned. No coins or banknotes were ever released with his portrait.
For the second king of 1936 – King Edward VIII – it includes a coin bearing his name and royal titles as NO COINS WERE EVER ISSUED with his portrait. The coin is the British West Africa 1936 Penny and measures 30.5mm in diameter.
The third monarch in the Year of Three Kings was King George VI. He acceded when his brother King Edward VIII abdicated. The shock abdication meant that George VI acceded to the throne in December 1936, becoming the third monarch in that year, the Year of Three Kings.
Significantly, his eldest daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, now found herself heir to the throne – and is now our Queen, and the longest reigning monarch in our history. And it would never have happened if Edward VIII hadn’t abdicated.
The dedication and courage of King George VI restored public faith in the monarchy. He reigned for 16 years and died on 6 February 1952 after a bout of ill health. He was succeeded by his daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth II. Included in this set is a 1937 King George VI silver shilling.