Most of the romantics on this list made their gestures in the face of sickness and death. But King Edward VIII just wanted a happy life with his beloved, the bewitching American divorcée Wallis Simpson. British law didn’t allow for such a marriage, and the king and his favorite commoner were both urged to give up the affair. Instead, Edward gave up the throne of England in December of 1936. “I have found it impossible,” he said in a radio address to the nation, “to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.” The couple married in France six months later and lived abroad in the Bahamas, Paris and elsewhere for the rest of their lives.