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As the internationally anticipated wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton draws near, ET takes a look at two royal individuals who gave up the throne for love.
In 1936, King Edward VIII was wooed away from the British throne by American socialite Wallis Simpson, who eventually became his wife and the Duchess of Windsor.
The relationship between King Edward VIII and Simpson -- who was 40 years old at the time and had been married and divorced twice -- triggered a major public scandal. The British government opposed the king's marriage to Simpson, leaving him with two choices: give up the throne to be with the woman he loved or break off the relationship and keep his position.
Government officials had argued that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen. They also pointed out that such a marriage would have conflicted with the king's status as head of the Church of England, which opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their ex-spouse was still living.
The situation culminated with the king making an abdication broadcast to the nation in December
1936, declaring: "I have found it impossible ... to discharge my duties
as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman
Six months after the abdication the couple married, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In the 1950s and 1960s, the two shuttled between Europe and the United States, living a life of leisure as society celebrities. After the Duke's death in 1972, the Duchess lived in seclusion and was rarely seen in public. She died in 1986 at her home in Paris and was buried alongside her husband.
A similar case occurred in the Netherlands, Prince Johan Friso -- who was second in line to the Dutch throne -- gave up his right of succession in 2003 after failing to agree with the government on his plan to marry Mabel Wisse Smit.
Smit became engaged to Friso in June 2003 after a prestigious career with the United Nations and human rights organizations, but reports surfaced that she had a relationship with notorious criminal Klaas Bruinsma, who was shot dead in a gangland killing in 1991.
Smit acknowledged that she had known Bruinsma in the past, but she denied any business or romantic involvement. Questions lingered, however, and when the prince insisted Smit was the woman he loved and that he was intent on marrying her, he was required to give up the thrown.
The two married in 2004, with Smit becoming a member of the Dutch Royal Family but not a member of the Dutch Royal House. They couple is still together and has two daughters.