King castle

Fort Belvedere: the forgotten royal residence of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

Located in Windsor Great Park, Fort Belvedere is a sprawling property that has housed several members of the royal family over the decades. But during the reign of King Edward VIII in 1936, Fort Belvedere will be the backdrop for a major moment in British royal history.

After King George V died in January 1936, George’s eldest son, Prince Edward, took the throne as King Edward VIII.

But determined to marry a double divorcee, Wallis Simpson, Edward faces the opposition of the Church and decides to formally renounce the throne.

The signing of the abdication papers actually took place at Fort Belvedere in December 1936, and the king would only be on the throne for just under a year.

Edward then left the UK for France, married Wallis in 1937, and the newly created Duke and Duchess of Windsor later called 4 Training Field Route their “Villa Windsor”.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s subtle nod to Wallis Simpson on wedding day – photos

But Edward was known to have enjoyed his stay at Fort Belvedere very much.

He was once thought to have said the fort was where he spent “some of the happiest days” of his life.

He threw many legendary parties at the residence on weekends, often with Wallis Simpson in attendance in the early 1930s.

Edward had moved into Fort Belvedere while still Prince of Wales in 1929, and he commissioned drastic renovations to the property inside and out.

The future king and queen consort are currently based at Kensington Palace, and their country home of Anmer Hall is far away in Norfolk.

The Cambridges were looking for a new base in Windsor to be closer to the Queen and Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s new school.

Fort Belvedere is perfectly located for this purpose, approximately seven miles from the Queen’s Berkshire base at Windsor Castle.

But Kate and William are thought to have opted for Adelaide Cottage instead, a rather modest royal home in Windsor Home Park.