Tuesday, October 5, 2021

EP Ranch From Prince to Present

by Anita Mae Draper

Calgary Daily Herald Page 1, Jan 21, 1936, Calgary, Alberta

On January 21, 1936, the Calgary Daily Herald was filled with news about the death of King George V. Under the article titled, "Body to Lie in State at Westminster Hall", it reported that the British Parliament had met and swore allegiance to "His Majesty King Edward VIII, his heirs and successors, according to the law", and that "The new King came to London by airplane--the first British sovereign ever to fly..."

As you can see from another article in the bottom right of the same newspaper, the man we've been following in this series of posts is none other than our Edward Prince of Wales, owner of the Edward Prince (EP) Ranch in Alberta, Canada. This article continues on other pages with the history of Edward and his ranch, showing in detail his several visits and activities while in the area as well as his travels in Canada and the United States.

EP Ranch, Pekisko, Alberta, 1936. Calgary Daily Herald

King Edward started his reign showing his usual trait of going his own way. He broke tradition with the Royal Mint on British coinage, he spoke his opinion in political matters, and he publicly enjoyed affairs with married women, to name a few. Edward had met Wallis Simpson in 1930 in London while she was still married, and although their affair was news in the United States, the British dailies were quiet on the matter. 

Fort Belvedere, Surrey, England
On November 16, 1936, King Edward met with Prime Minister Baldwin and expressed his desire to marry Simpson once her divorce was finalized. Baldwin responded by saying that it was impossible because his subjects would consider it morally unacceptable by the Church of England which didn't support marriage after divorce if a spouse was sill living. Baldwin offered three options: give up the idea of marrying Simpson, marry anyway despite the opposition, or abdicate.

Edward chose love. 

On December 10, 1936, at Fort Belvedere, Edward's residence in Windsor Great Park, Surrey, and in the presence of his younger brothers, King Edward signed the document of his abdication. 

The next night, having reverted to the title and style of a prince, he gave a radio broadcast explaining that he couldn't fulfil his duties as monarch without the love and support of the woman he loved by his side, and that the "decision was mine and mine alone..."

Thereafter, he was named the Duke of Windsor and travelled to Austria where he awaited the arrival of his love whose divorce would not become final for several months in the future. On June 3, 1937, Edward married her in a private ceremony near Tours, France. 

Duke and Duchess of Windsor at EP Ranch, Pekisko, Alberta, 1941. Glenbow Archives

It wasn't until September 1941 when the EP Ranch received a visit from Edward, now the Duke, and Wallis, now the Duchess, of Windsor. The weather was cold and wet with lots of mud and swollen creeks. Edward, now Governor of the Bahamas, is said to have spent a happy time in relaxation, while it seemed that the Duchess was always cold and longed for warmer temps.

During their trip on Canadian soil, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol escorted their every move. The photograph shows two Mounties and their highway patrol van from the High River detachment. 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol escort for Prince of Wales, Pekisko area, Alberta, 1941

Due to wartime travel restrictions, it wasn't until 1950 when the Duke and Duchess of Windsor returned to the EP Ranch in Alberta. When questioned if the rumours about selling the EP Ranch were true, the duke responded, "indeed no, it's the only piece of property I've ever owned." 

Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Calgary, Alberta. Apr 11, 1950. Calgary Herald

Edward never returned to the EP Ranch. In 1962 the ranch was sold and blended with the adjoining larger D Ranch which assured that the property would stay intact and not cut up by developer's hands. Edward died on May 28, 1972 at his Paris home and his body was sent back to Britain for burial. Although the EP Ranch had been designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 2004, it fell into disrepair aided by torrential rains that flooded the homesite in 2013. 

Today, the ranch continues to operate as a working cattle operation, except with herefords and longhorns instead of the prince's original shorthorn stock. As a designated historic property, it is only opened to the public for special occasions, such as the 100th anniversary celebration in 2019 where a guided tour showcased the EP Ranch buildings and property. Restoration work is an ongoing project. 

Conservation of main ranch house, Oct 2015. Courtesy of Alberta's Historic Places

I hope you've enjoyed this series on the EP Ranch in Alberta, Canada. Check the following links for the rest of the posts in this series:

May 5th - Alberta's Edward Prince Ranch

June 5th - EP Ranch Royal Visit 1923

July 5th - Butter Prince of 1924

Aug 5th - EP Ranch Furnishings

Sep 5th - Movie Location EP Ranch


Anita Mae Draper lives on the Canadian prairies where she uses her experience and love of history to enhance her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at www.anitamaedraper.com


  1. Thanks for continuing the story for us. I find it sad that the place fell into disrepair. I'm glad to hear that it's being restored, however slowly.

    1. Me too, Connie. However I'm very, very glad it was sold to another rancher which ensures the hope of future possibilities to visit, because if developers had gotten a hold on the property, it wouldn't be just the house that disappeared.

      Thanks so much for following the series and sharing your thoughts.