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  <customer_address_index>
        <reference name="my.account.wrapper">
            <action method="unsetChild">
                <name>address_book</name>
            </action>
        </reference>
    </customer_address_index>
    <customer_account_edit>
        <reference name="my.account.wrapper">
            <action method="append">
                <name>address_book</name>
            </action>
        </reference>
    </customer_account_edit>

That is not working, I had to create a new block instance. Is that because the handle is different?

2

That's correct, you cannot move blocks between handles.

What you can do is just delete the block from the original handle and recreate it on the other handle:

<customer_address_index>
    <reference name="my.account.wrapper">
        <remove name="address_book" />
    </reference>
</customer_address_index>
<customer_account_edit>
    <reference name="my.account.wrapper">
        <block type="customer/address_book" name="address_book" template="customer/address/book.phtml"/>
    </reference>
</customer_account_edit>

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