The year is 1936, and England is in turmoil. The Prince of Wales, long known for his love for gambling and his many mistresses, has ascended the throne as King Edward VIII. His first act was as King was to appear with a married woman, Wallis Simpson. Mrs. Simpson, an American divorcee from Baltimore, is still married her second husband, businessman Ernest Aldrich Simpson.
The royal scandal escalated to a crisis when the new King announced his intent to marry Mrs. Simpson -- before she had even filed for divorce from her husband. The members of Parliament, outraged by such an unsuitable choice for a royal consort, have informed Edward that if he attempts to marry Wallis and name her queen, the entire government will resign en masse. Edwards has proposed a compromise: a "morganatic" marriage in which Wallis will not be Queen. The option has been rejected.
Prime Minister STANLEY BALDWIN and Home Secretary SIR JOHN SIMPSON arrive unannounced at the King's country estate, Fort Belvedere, to discuss the situation. Edward is dismissive; his compromise has been rejected, he will move ahead with the marriage -- even if it provokes a constitutional crisis.
Baldwin and Simpson now take off the gloves. They have photographic reproductions of incriminating letters Mr.s Simpson has written to high officials in the Nazi party, and embarrassing letters that the King has written Mrs. Simpson. They will release them to the newspapers -- unless the King agrees to abdicate the throne to end the crisis.