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  #1621  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:11 AM
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Why is it that we cannot accept that a person is by nature selfish, mean-spirited, cruel, or any other such thing. We seem to live in a time where every "character failure" is deemed a mental illness and we even try to diagnose them in retrospect. How many biographies of David diagnosed him as mentally ill instead of vain, petty and treasonous?

Sometimes you just have to step back and look at what was written and, in this case, information becoming declassified, and accept that some people are just not very nice and all the words and pity in the world will not make them good or worthy nor excuse their excesses in any way. They do not get a free pass because they were mentally ill. They were both shallow and lived in excess until life, real life, dealt them a hand they didn't want to play.
Reading these words I could not help but flash on a more recent British Princess whose personal stability/character is the object of considerable debate. Interesting to see the difference applied to a man as to a woman. Just an observation.

BTW I am not necessarily a fan of either David or Wallis, but Wallis intrigues me. Her circumstances intrigue me. That she may have been someone who quite 'innocently' toyed with social malleability only to find herself caught in a web she never dreamed would ensnare her is fascinating to me. (The story of many a woman, actually, and men, in intimate relationships).

But more interesting is how that initial broad brush with which she was painted, exasperated by the QM's animus, has created a legend that refuses to be shaken. Even today I read an article linked on the Harry and Meghan thread that stated: "The last time an American divorcee was introduced into the Royal Family it imperiled the entire future of the monarchy. But unlike Edward VIII, Prince Harry is not the King or heir to the throne. And besides, Meghan Markle is a very different kind of woman from the predatory Wallis Simpson."

There it is: forever she will be identified as having connived to marry David and be Queen, when the reality was far more complex, even harrowing. A tragic tale imo.
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  #1622  
Old 10-20-2017, 02:48 AM
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Wallis was never a Princess but I would have to say that her existence as David's mistress did imperil the monarchy. Until the crunch, David's excesses were not broadcast in the UK and certainly not published in the newspapers and, when the story of this "great love affair" became known there was much sympathy for him recalling his man of the people persona a decade or so earlier.

The ugly rest of the story was never told at that time and, Britain dodged a bullet when David abdicated. Time and the release of documents withheld as classified Top Secret for fifty years have shed further light, but it has been the publication of private diaries of those involved that have yielded the most damaging information on what a thoroughly awful couple they were.
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Reading these words I could not help but flash on a more recent British Princess whose personal stability/character is the object of considerable debate. Interesting to see the difference applied to a man as to a woman. Just an observation.
I cannot think of a British Princess that has mental problems. There are only a few . . . Margaret, Alexandra, Anne, Beatrice, Eugenie and, since we are not supposed to discuss anything but disclosed illness, pregnancy, etc. you have me beat.
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  #1623  
Old 10-20-2017, 08:02 AM
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What I see in discussing various royal personages and their character makeup, character flaws and neuroses and idiosyncrasies is that today, in the 21st century, we're more informed. Whereas in David and Wallis' time, "mental health issues" were something that sent one to an asylum with men their pretty white coats, today its something that the British royals are striving to bring to the forefront of our consciousness to realize that mental health is as important as physical health is.

This passage from one of my favorite books kind of describes the leaps and bounds we've made as a general public in recognizing how the mental state affects a person.

“Few of us can escape being neurotic or character disordered to at least some degree (which is why essentially everyone can benefit from psychotherapy if he or she is seriously willing to participate in the process). The reason for this is that the problem of distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. It is never completely solved; for the entirety of our lives we must continually assess and reassess where our responsibilities lie in the ever-changing course of events.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

David and Wallis, Diana, Kings and Queens and public figures just put out more of who they are into the public domain for us to see.

With this in mind, selfish, egotistical, charismatic, introverted, dutiful, quirky, and all other kinds of adjectives that we can apply to these public persons stem from their mental makeup. We're just coming to be able to understand people more now than we ever have before.

Just my thoughts.
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  #1624  
Old 10-20-2017, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
By all accounts of what I've read about David, if we could time travel his lifetime and his personality into the 21st century, I think its very possible that he could be diagnosed as having a narcissistic personality disorder.

Some of the traits of this disorder are :

Grandiose sense of self-importance. ...
Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. ...
Needs constant praise and admiration. ...
Sense of entitlement. ...
Exploits others without guilt or shame. ...
Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.

While some of these traits aren't so prominent in David's behavior, there are a few that are. Back though, in David's era, a lot of these traits could very well have been mistaken for actually being right and proper for a British prince to exhibit. He definitely always had something that he felt he deserved or needed. He possessively clung to his intimate female relationships as if he was constantly in need of "mothering" or someone to praise and admire him and used them to boost his own fragile self esteem. The sense of entitlement showed up in the different scenarios where no matter what he had or what he had attained, it was never enough and there was always something "out there" that he felt he was entitled to and it depressed him not having it.

He could have started up charities or find something worthwhile to do as Queen Claude suggests but being a narcissist, it was always something that would be for him that was a driving force rather than being driven to do for others.

I may be way off the mark but this is what comes to mind for me.
Osipi, if that's not spot on the mark, it's pretty damn close
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  #1625  
Old 10-20-2017, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by AdmirerUS View Post
I do agree. They were not people who wanted to help the world. But, I also think history (and we) tend to turn people, good and bad, into caricatures over time. So, we exaggerate their "goodness" or "badness" over time.

I think they had good qualities - humor, taste, loyalty in kind, tenacity, social skills. But I have always thought they were 40 years past the time when their foibles would have been accepted by society. And they were quite clueless about that. Sad, really...Not knowing what you don't know.
Loyalty? I don't think that was ever a trait of theirs. Edward walked out of his role as King. He attacked his family, he flrited with Treason. Wallis certainly didn't shine as a loyal friend, sleeping with her friends'lover....
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  #1626  
Old 10-20-2017, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Nimue View Post
I agree, Tsarita. A good summary.



Exactly. An affair was one thing. Looking down the barrel of a long dark tunnel, quite another.



Exactly, and she was being pegged as wanting all that, too.



Too true. It's actually a very difficult story to read about when you understand the entrapment that was occurring. Poor kid! Anyone who talks about them speaks well of Wallis. She was the interesting one, the engaging one. Not him. Her ending was so sad, too. All in all, a hard story. Not a romance at all.
Thank-you for that, Lady Nimue. You're absolutely correct in that she was far more interesting and entertaining than he. There's a wonderful little anecdote about how, after she's suggested he might benefit from reading some good books, he turned to a fellow dinner guest and said he'd just read "Jane Eyre" and asked if they'd ever read anything by 'Bront'. Our Royals weren't renown for their intellectual leanings
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  #1627  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:10 AM
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I don't know of anyone speaking particularly well of EITHER of them, apart from a few sycophantic friends.. or that anyone said Wallis was "more interesting" or well read or whatever.
She was the one who wrote "Elba" on her letters from the Bahamas.. she jeered at Ed's sisters in Law Elizabeth And Princess Alice D of Gloucester.
I don't know of her having any particular interests other than being a society hostess and I think that Edward DID at times find a life that was just about empty socialising rather dull and frustrating tho' he seems ot have lacked the initiative to try and take up anything more. I think she was content with the socialising...
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  #1628  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:36 AM
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I really only find the Duke & Duchess interesting from an historical perspective. From everything I've read, they were both selfish people who cozied up to anyone who flattered them or provided them with "gifts. " This led them both into friendships with Nazi sympathizers and actual Nazis. Both of them did things that were at least questionable, at worst edging close to treason.
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  #1629  
Old 10-21-2017, 09:05 AM
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They were, and I think they grew worse as they grew older and their relationship "pushed" each party into more selfish behaviour. Wallis probably didn't intitially realise what a tangled mess she was getting into, with the affair with Edward and the fact that as he got closer to being King, he was I think more unnerved and perhaps unconsciously sought a get out. but as she grew older, she joined Edward in spiteful remarks about his family and general selfishness. IIRC in the 50s the Windsors were burgled and when someone asked about what had been stolen, Wallis made some remark to the effect that "everyone knows" that one doesn't wear X with Y..Which didn't go down well with the british public who were still suffering from post war shortages.
And Edward, whatever his faults hadn't been a bad POW, doing his job reasonably well and seeming to care for the desperate poverty of the British during the Depression. But as he grew older, he seemed absorbed in Wallis, in their life together, even if he realised it was dull and aimless and "didn't think Hitler had been such a bad chap" even after the War.
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  #1630  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I don't know of anyone speaking particularly well of EITHER of them, apart from a few sycophantic friends.. or that anyone said Wallis was "more interesting" or well read or whatever.
She was the one who wrote "Elba" on her letters from the Bahamas.. she jeered at Ed's sisters in Law Elizabeth And Princess Alice D of Gloucester.
I don't know of her having any particular interests other than being a society hostess and I think that Edward DID at times find a life that was just about empty socialising rather dull and frustrating tho' he seems ot have lacked the initiative to try and take up anything more. I think she was content with the socialising...

Might it be that "more interesting" is about being relative to............?
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  #1631  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:22 AM
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One thing I've come to realize in learning more about David and Wallis and the era they lived in is that the abdication was perhaps one of the most positive aspects of the King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson story. The UK really dodged a bullet when David abdicated and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the mainstays of the British monarchy during the WWII years.
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  #1632  
Old 10-21-2017, 12:58 PM
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doesn't that say a lot about them? Generaly speaking most of the Royals who have been king have been or become Up to the Job. George VI was shy, had a stammer, had never had any training.. and he did the job. and everyone pretty much says that "oh thank goodness, Edward had left and wasn't king" when the war came along.
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  #1633  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:50 PM
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I come across it all the time, and not as in comparison to David. It seems she was an interesting woman, a good hostess, and that requires a certain like-ability. But I also think we cannot underestimate the effect the truly toxic reaction to her was in general across years. There had to have been a reaction in her deepest self. She may have become embittered over time, and living with someone like David day-in-day-out (so dependent a personality) must have had it's effect, too. After all, she never pretended to be spiritual or into self-help philosophy.

There is also something to be said that as banished as they were, they were also likely considered prey for opportunists. That would make Wallis (likely the more astute and vigilant of the two) inclined to whip out a more hauteur attitude as defense. They did not have an ideal circumstance for life, given the times. Neither had the imagination to develop their joint lives in any unusual way (as might happen now).

BTW it was on this thread that it was revealed the good social work Wallis did while in the Bahamas during the war. I don't think letters in which she vented her bitterness need stand as the final word. Wallis did make attempts to do more than be a social butterfly.

They are both so very much outcomes of their time and place. Iconic really. Will always fascinate, I think.
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  #1634  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MARG View Post
Why is it that we cannot accept that a person is by nature selfish, mean-spirited, cruel, or any other such thing. We seem to live in a time where every "character failure" is deemed a mental illness and we even try to diagnose them in retrospect. How many biographies of David diagnosed him as mentally ill instead of vain, petty and treasonous?

Sometimes you just have to step back and look at what was written and, in this case, information becoming declassified, and accept that some people are just not very nice and all the words and pity in the world will not make them good or worthy nor excuse their excesses in any way. They do not get a free pass because they were mentally ill. They were both shallow and lived in excess until life, real life, dealt them a hand they didn't want to play.

There is an old saying "sow the wind and reap the whirlwind". Never were truer words said to describe David and Wallis.
I agree. I think psychiatry has given names to a set of particular personality characteristics, but I think at the heart it is just plain selfishness, cruelty, etc. I do believe that there can be underlying causes or explanations for such behavior, but it does not excuse the behavior in my opinion. For instance, Sally Bedell Smith in her book "Diana: In Search of Herself" diagnoses Diana as having borderline personality disorder. I believe that her sad childhood and lack of preparedness for her royal role was the underlying cause of that, but in my opinion, it did not excuse her or make her not responsible for her actions.
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  #1635  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Nimue View Post
Reading these words I could not help but flash on a more recent British Princess whose personal stability/character is the object of considerable debate. Interesting to see the difference applied to a man as to a woman. Just an observation.

BTW I am not necessarily a fan of either David or Wallis, but Wallis intrigues me. Her circumstances intrigue me. That she may have been someone who quite 'innocently' toyed with social malleability only to find herself caught in a web she never dreamed would ensnare her is fascinating to me. (The story of many a woman, actually, and men, in intimate relationships).

But more interesting is how that initial broad brush with which she was painted, exasperated by the QM's animus, has created a legend that refuses to be shaken. Even today I read an article linked on the Harry and Meghan thread that stated: "The last time an American divorcee was introduced into the Royal Family it imperiled the entire future of the monarchy. But unlike Edward VIII, Prince Harry is not the King or heir to the throne. And besides, Meghan Markle is a very different kind of woman from the predatory Wallis Simpson."

There it is: forever she will be identified as having connived to marry David and be Queen, when the reality was far more complex, even harrowing. A tragic tale imo.
Have you read "That Woman"? by Anne Sebba. It discusses Wallis's character in great detail and is an interesting read.
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  #1636  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
One thing I've come to realize in learning more about David and Wallis and the era they lived in is that the abdication was perhaps one of the most positive aspects of the King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson story. The UK really dodged a bullet when David abdicated and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the mainstays of the British monarchy during the WWII years.
AMEN to that!!
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  #1637  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
They were, and I think they grew worse as they grew older and their relationship "pushed" each party into more selfish behaviour. Wallis probably didn't intitially realise what a tangled mess she was getting into, with the affair with Edward and the fact that as he got closer to being King, he was I think more unnerved and perhaps unconsciously sought a get out. but as she grew older, she joined Edward in spiteful remarks about his family and general selfishness. IIRC in the 50s the Windsors were burgled and when someone asked about what had been stolen, Wallis made some remark to the effect that "everyone knows" that one doesn't wear X with Y..Which didn't go down well with the british public who were still suffering from post war shortages.
And Edward, whatever his faults hadn't been a bad POW, doing his job reasonably well and seeming to care for the desperate poverty of the British during the Depression. But as he grew older, he seemed absorbed in Wallis, in their life together, even if he realised it was dull and aimless and "didn't think Hitler had been such a bad chap" even after the War.
I think they brought out the worst in each other.


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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
doesn't that say a lot about them? Generaly speaking most of the Royals who have been king have been or become Up to the Job. George VI was shy, had a stammer, had never had any training.. and he did the job. and everyone pretty much says that "oh thank goodness, Edward had left and wasn't king" when the war came along.
I absolutely agree. Who knows what would have happened to Britain in WWII if Edward had remained King.
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  #1638  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:10 PM
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They are both so very much outcomes of their time and place I think this sentence summarizes completely the situation.
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  #1639  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by duchessrachel View Post
Have you read "That Woman" by Anne Sebba? It discusses Wallis's character in great detail and is an interesting read.
I've just looked it up on Amazon. Thank you, duchessrachel. Not sure I'll get it, but I'm thinking.

I found this review relevant: "This book was more even-handed than others I have read about Edward and Wallis. It is a good portrayal of a woman who was both complicated and uncomplicated - complicated because of a rather unusual childhood and uncomplicated because of her motivations. She wanted, most of all, luxury, fine clothes and jewelry, fabulous parties, and distinguished connections in society. Whether she ever loved anyone is debatable. The author engages rather too much in psychological speculation. I could have done without his theories about her <> organs, or lack of them. One thing is made clear: both Wallis and Edward were psychological messes!"

That about sums it up for me. Very simple woman, really, who got caught in something, that wound up costing her dearly. Yet, she rose to it, in a sense. One might say that a lesser woman would have run screaming, except that he threatened self-destruction, threatened to stalk her, in fact. No way out in the end. But she got what she wanted: luxury, fine clothes and jewelry, fabulous parties, and distinguished connections in society. She just didn't bargain for the context.

I like the comments made by Lady Diana Mosely, who did know her. As far back as the late 70's she was very clear that Wallis did not love David, but that she was loyal to him in that she made him happy (just short of saying that she sacrificed herself to him, as I think she did do, in sum). She also remarked in as polite a fashion as she could the unusual nature of David's obsession with her, too.
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  #1640  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MARG View Post
Why is it that we cannot accept that a person is by nature selfish, mean-spirited, cruel, or any other such thing. We seem to live in a time where every "character failure" is deemed a mental illness and we even try to diagnose them in retrospect. How many biographies of David diagnosed him as mentally ill instead of vain, petty and treasonous?

Sometimes you just have to step back and look at what was written and, in this case, information becoming declassified, and accept that some people are just not very nice and all the words and pity in the world will not make them good or worthy nor excuse their excesses in any way. They do not get a free pass because they were mentally ill. They were both shallow and lived in excess until life, real life, dealt them a hand they didn't want to play.

There is an old saying "sow the wind and reap the whirlwind". Never were truer words said to describe David and Wallis.
Maybe I'm just completely crazy, since I can't feel the hatred that everyone else seems to have for this couple. But even though I hardly admire them, I do feel sympathy for them. So I won't judge them like most people do.

And by the way, mental illness can make you unable to understand your own actions and take responsibility for them. But having said that, I will of coure not claim that the Duke of Windsor was clinically insane. He seems to have had a bunch of "lesser" mental problems though, like a series of depressions and (according to one source I read recently) maybe anorexia. And if a person uses threats of suicide or stalking to control somebody else, that sounds really serious to me. That is not just being selfish or spoiled, but a huge cry for psychiatric help.
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