No. 405 NAI DT S9433A

Memorandum by Michael McDunphy on the Irish Free State's response to the
abdication of King Edward VIII

Dublin, 12 December 1936

On the 11th December, 1936, King Edward VIII of England abdicated.

This act arose out of his determination to marry in conflict with the advice of his Ministers in Great Britain, a twice divorced woman named Mrs. Simpson.

Extracts from newspapers dealing with the matter are attached to file S.9427 (The King; abdication 1936).

The abdication was given legislative effect in Great Britain and the Dominions, excluding the Irish Free State, by an Act of the British Parliament on the 11th December, 1936, entitled 'His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1936', a copy of which is attached to file S.9427.

The situation as regards the Irish Free State was dealt with by the passage of two separate Acts, namely CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT NO. 27) ACT, 1936, which became law on the 11th December, 1936 (file S.9430), and which in effect removed the King and the Governor General from the Constitution, except for permissive authority embodied in an amendment of Article 51 of the Constitution, to utilise the King for the purposes of

(a) appointment of Saorstát diplomatic and consular representatives abroad, and

(b) conclusion of international agreements on behalf of Saorstát Éireann.

This permissive authority in respect of the functions mentioned was translated into more detailed legislation by the enactment of the EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY (EXTERNAL RELATIONS) ACT, 1936, which became law on the 12th December, 1936 (file S.9429).

[initialled] M.McD

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