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Friday, 11 December 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [10.31]. - Mr. President, a message from His Majesty the King -

Honorable senators having risen in their places,

I regret to have to inform honorable senators that the Prime Minister has received from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral the following message sent by His Majesty the King: - "After long and anxious consideration I have determined to renounce the

Throne to which I succeeded on the death of My father, and am now communicating this, My final and irrevocable decision.Realizing as I do the gravity of this step, I can only hope that I shall have the understanding of My peoples in the decision I have taken and the reasons which have led me to take it. I will not enter now into My private feelings, but I would beg that it should be remembered that the burden which constantly rests upon the shoulders of a Sovereign is so heavy that it can only be borne in circumstances different from those in which I now find myself. I conceive that I am not overlooking the duties that rest on Me to place in the forefront the public interests when I declare that I am conscious that I can no longer discharge this heavy task with efficiency or with satisfaction to Myself.

I have accordingly this morning executed an Instrument of Abdication in the terms following: -

I, Edward the Eighth, of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Emperor of India,do hereby declare My irrevocable determination to renounce the Throne for Myself and for My descendants, and My desire that effect should be given to this Instrument of Abdication immediately.

In token whereof I have hereunto set My hand this tenth day of December, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, in the presence of the witnesses whose signatures are subscribed. (Signed) Edwardr.I.'

My execution of this instrument has been witnessed by My three brothers, Their Royal Highnesses the Duke of York, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent.

I deeply appreciate the spirit which has actuated the appeals which have been made to Mc to take a different decision and I have, before reaching My final determination, most fully pondered over them. But My mind is made up. Moreover, further delay cannot but be most injurious to the peoples whom I have tried to serve as Prince of Wales and as King, and whose future happiness and prosperity are the constant wish of My heart. I take My leave of them in the confident hope that the course which I have thought it right to follow is that which is best for the stability of the Throne and the Empire and the happiness of My peoples. I am deeply sensible of the consideration which they have always extended to Me both before and after My accession to the Throne and which I know they will extend in full measure to My successor.

I am most anxious that there should be no delay of any kind in giving effect to the instrument which I have executed, and that all necessary steps should be taken immediately to secure that My lawful successor, My brother HisRoyal Highness the Duke of York, should ascend the Throne.

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