In the early 1900s, Wallis Warfield Simpson, former Duchess of England, took a trip to Pensacola to visit her cousin.
Warfield’s cousin was the daughter of Pensacola Naval Air Commander Henry Wallis, and while visiting Pensacola Warfield herself fell in love with a naval aviator.
However Warfield’s marriage to the Pensacola man came to an end when she filed for divorce and later caught the eye of Edward, the King of England.
The monarchy did not approve of King Edward’s relationship to divorcee Wallis Warfield.
University of West Florida archivist Dean Devolt explains, “British society is quite shocked because she was a divorcee, she was an American commoner.”
In the name of love for his wife, King Edward abdicated the throne to his brother King George VI.
When King George died in 1952, his daughter Elizabeth became queen.
“If Edward had never abdicated Queen Elizabeth would have never been on the throne,” Debolt said.
So if it wasn’t for the love of a commoner, one trip to Pensacola and a failed marriage, Elizabeth would have never have been queen.
“It’s really a nice connection between Pensacola, Naval Aviation and her majesty Queen Elizabeth,” said Debolt.