That's what Edward VIII of England did. He gave up the most prestigious crown in the world for the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson.
Edward was the great grandson of Queen Victoria and the eldest son of George V and Queen Mary. This meant he was first in line for the throne, becoming Prince of Wales when he turned sixteen.
As a young man in the roaring twenties, Edward threw himself into the party life. He was well known for his dalliances with many women, some of them married. His father George V despaired of him ever growing up and settling down and was known to have commented that he would prefer it if Albert(Bertie) and his wife Elizabeth would reign. Did he have a private
viewing into the future?
When Edward met American Wallis Simpson, she was divorced from her first husband and in the process of obtaining a divorce from her
second. When Edward brought her home to meet the folks they weren't favourably impressed. After the initial meeting they refused to receive her. She definitely wasn't royal material. She was an American, she was twice (or nearly twice) divorced and she had a rather juicy past. The family were beside themselves wondering what to do. The couple were even investigated and followed by members of the Special Branch police.
George V died in 1936 and Edward succeeded to the throne. He still saw Wallis constantly but this was in the days before British tabloids followed every nuance of royal lives and very little was known by the British people about the situation. There was much more innuendo and rumour in the United States about them.
One problem that would arise if Edward chose to marry Wallis was a religious one. As the British monarch was head of the Church and its defender, his marriage would pose problems as the Church of England would not approve marriage to a divorced woman. Edward was further alienating government officials in his early reign by casual treatment of classified documents and a cavalier attitude to his duties. The leaders of other nations in the Commonwealth had all expressed their opposition to the marriage. The Empire was collectively holding its breath.
Finally Edward went to Prime Minister Baldwin and told him of his intention to marry Wallis Simpson. Baldwin gave him his options- to not marry Wallis, to have a morganatic marriage, to marry against his ministers' advice and bring down the government amidst a constitutional crisis, or to abdicate.
Edward chose to abdicate. On December 11, 1936 Edward delivered that historic broadcast to the British Empire; "I have found it impossible to
carry the heavy burden of responsibility and discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."
His brother Albert became king as George VI with Princess Elizabeth becoming next in line.
Edward now became His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor and in June of 1937 married Wallis in France.
They lived most of their lives in France except for a hiatus during the war when Edward was made Governor of the Bahamas, mostly to keep him out of harm's way but also to reduce his nuisance value as he was expressing unpopular pro-Nazi views. The estrangement between Edward and the
rest of his family, especially his mother, lasted decades. He returned to
England only rarely for special occasions.
Edward and Wallis's life became that of jet setters amongst the socially elite. Edward died at the age of 78 and his body was returned to England for a state burial. Wallis lived another fourteen years after her husband's death suffering from dementia in her later years. She was buried beside Edward as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor.
Love stories are never very interesting when everything is smooth sailing. The lovers should have to give something up in order to follow their hearts, so we throw all sorts of obstacles at our heroes and heroines. We believe they should suffer for their happiness. But not too many lovers have given up a throne.