'After my death', George V said of his eldest son and heir, 'the boy will ruin himself in 12 months'. From the death of his father in 1936 to the constitutional crisis provoked by his proposal to the then-married American socialite Wallis Simpson and his subsequent abdication, Edward VIII reigned for less than year. In choosing the woman he loved over his royal birthright, Edward fulfilled his father's prophecy and instigated the monarchy's most significant upheaval of the twentieth century. Retitled 'Duke of Windsor' and essentially exiled, Edward has remained a controversial figure ever since. Through his correspondence with, amongst other confidants, Winston Churchill, Piers Brendon traces Edward's tumultuous life in this superb, pacey biography.