The Abdication of King Edward VIII

  • Donal K. Coffey
Part of the Palgrave Modern Legal History book series (PMLH)


The abdication of Edward VIII was constitutionally significant for the development of Irish constitutionalism in the 1930s. It allowed the Fianna Fáil government to excise the governor-general from the Constitution, essentially removing the monarchical elements of the 1922 Constitution. The fact that British constitutional law meant that the assent of the Irish Free State was necessary to pass legislation meant that a compromise solution had to be reached. This cleared the way for a republican form of government to be inserted into the 1937 Constitution. The actions of the Irish Free State and South Africa also undermined a key element of one theory of the British Imperial Constitution.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donal K. Coffey
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for European Legal HistoryFrankfurt am MainGermany

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