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  #21  
Old 09-12-2009, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PssMarie-Elisabeth View Post
How could anyone describe the late Queen Mother as plain?!
... I shall have to post more images of her when young
What I mean is, Wallis wanted to be a fashion plate and chose to diet herself into a figure that was favored by designers of her time. It was obviously less important to Queen Elizabeth, although she combated that by wearing clothing which was very attractive for her shape. Of the two, I think I would have preferred knowing and being in the company of the Queen.

The Queen did put on quite a bit of weight around the time of the abdication (I was looking at some photos and wondered if she might have been a stress eater) but the fashions of the 1920s and early 30s didn't suit her particular shape, even when she was thinner. But I think she always had a sweet face and pretty smile.
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  #22  
Old 09-12-2009, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lumutqueen View Post
I agree the QM wasn't plain but I don't think she was particularly glamourous, Wallis was more so. Also Wallis didn't lead a useless life, she didn't really have a choice about how she lead the end of her life. Elizabeth had a useful life because she was the Queen, thats the only way.
Wallis was not beautiful by any streatch of the imagination but with the right clothes and jewels she did have a kind of glamour.

Of course Wallis had a choice in how she and the duke lived their life in exile. She could have involved herself in any number of charitable or cultural groups while living in the French capital. Instead her life revolved around getting her hair done by Alexandre, attending fashion shows, dining out with friends at chic restaurants, entertaining the international set at their home in the Bois, and annual trips to America to repeat the same scenes on that side of the Atlantic. I cant think of a more shallow and useless way to spend 36+ years of ones life. The only benefit she gave to society was when her jewels were auctioned to benefit Institut Pasteur.
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  #23  
Old 09-13-2009, 02:25 PM
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I believe that she did some work for the Red Cross when the Duke was Governor of the Bahamas. Of course, at that time, the work wasn't really "voluntary"; she would have been expected to do that kind of work as the Governor's wife. But yes, when they were in Europe after the Abdication, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that they did anything except complain about Wallis's lack of status and be fashionable. Had Wallis been a kind and generous woman, there would have been more than enough to keep her occupied with helping others in Paris.
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  #24  
Old 09-13-2009, 05:00 PM
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There is an arugment that had she taken on that sort of role the King may have even relented and felt that as she was working the way a wife of a Prince of the Realm should behave that she might have been given the HRH later in life but as she, and he, did nothing but complain they didn't deserve any consideration.
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  #25  
Old 09-13-2009, 07:27 PM
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I have to agree that Wallis might have chosen to do something more purposeful with her life in exile. IMO that's what was wrong with their lives, they couldn't find something meaningful to do with themselves. If George VI refused to find them something to do, they could have volunteered to do all sorts of charitable works; instead, they chose to be jetsetters and lived a vacuous existence.
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  #26  
Old 09-13-2009, 07:37 PM
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Yes, the erstwhile Edward VIII seems to have forgotten the concept of noblesse oblige.
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  #27  
Old 09-13-2009, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
Wallis was not beautiful by any streatch of the imagination but with the right clothes and jewels she did have a kind of glamour.
I would disagree. Wallis is not absolutely my cup of tea, but in pictures like this one I find her beautiful:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_bbc75Sa1S6...pson_-1936.jpg

The thing is - during the abdiction crisis and when she married Edward her best days were over. There are woman who get more and more beautiful the older they get, but Wallis matured not so well IMO, maybe because of all her diets...
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  #28  
Old 09-18-2009, 11:54 PM
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The Queen Mother? That spiteful old soak dedicated herself to making our lives hell


Some excerpts (all from Michael Thornton's "Royal Feud: The Queen Mother and the Duchess of Windsor"):
Quote:
The Duke, who appeared vaguely uncomfortable with this topic, murmured: 'Well, it's hard to explain. But, yes, Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was rather fonder of me than she ought to have been. And after I married Wallis, her attitude towards me changed.
Quote:
'My sister-in-law is an arch-intriguer, and she has dedicated herself to making life hell for both of us.'
Quote:
The Duke of Windsor insisted he possessed 'proof positive' that the Queen Mother had personally engineered the Duchess's exclusion from royal rank - an action now judged constitutionally illegal and known to historians as 'the Depriving Act'. 'It was her doing entirely,' said the Duke. 'It was not something my brother, the King, would ever have done, left to himself. But he deferred to her influence, just as her daughter does now.'
Quote:
The Windsors' most astonishing claim concerned their visit to the United States in 1941.
The Queen Mother, they alleged, enlisted the help of Special Branch in London; of her brother, David (later Sir David) Bowes Lyon, who was posted to the British Embassy in Washington; of the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax; and of her friends, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, to have them followed and spied on 24 hours a day by FBI agents.
Quote:
But the Duke of Windsor told me: 'Between these four walls, you do realise, don't you, that she is an alcoholic? She begins drinking at ten o'clock in the morning, which doesn't make her any easier to deal with.'
Although I am well prepared to acknowledge that the Queen Mother was hardly the kind and sweet grandmother she had been portrayed for many decades, I find it extremely hard to believe even the small part of what is mentioned in the article (and the book).
One thing that rather amuses me is the number of times the Duke of Windsor (allegedly) repeats 'between these four walls', 'between us', 'not for print', etc: surely, if he and Wallis wanted to maintain some sort of dignified salience, not telling anything to a journalist would have been the most prudent thing to do?! Of course they knew that sooner or later whatever they said was going to be printed: it sounds like a petty attempt of revenge to me (again, if everything written is true).

I can't help but think that if Wallis and the Duke of Windsor behaved themselves in a different way, the 'reconciliation' might have taken place eventually. As it was, if someone said all those things about me (and I doubt the journalists would have been the first or last person they 'confided in'), I'd be less than happy at the prospect of seeing their faces. Ever.
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  #29  
Old 09-19-2009, 11:15 AM
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Hi Marsel,

I agree with you 100%. It's all a lot of sour grapes, especially on his part.
I've heard and read that Wallis didn't really give a fig about the title, only he did, as it amounted to a slap in his face.

If he didn't want all this grief, he should have stayed on the Throne and kept her as a paramour (my polite name for what she actually was!!).....

Also, I rather think that Queen Mary also had something to say about what Wallis was called (titled).. I can't see her keeping her mouth shut for long about how she'd handle things.

The Queen Mother was, after all, a human being - not all good and not all bad - and she saw to it that the Monarchy survived, no matter who didn't get what or what had to be done to accomplish this end.
Brava, QM!!!

Larry
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  #30  
Old 09-19-2009, 11:40 AM
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Something that seems to be missed these days is that while bombs were falling on London the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were bombarding the Prime Minister with petty messages about Wallis not being titled HRH. It reminds me a little of Nero fiddling away while Rome burned.
The Queen mother was there in the thick of it, giving her support to her husband and his people. As you said Larry - Brava QM.
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  #31  
Old 09-19-2009, 04:53 PM
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The Windsors were shallow people living shallow lives.
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  #32  
Old 03-04-2010, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by iowabelle View Post
Yes, I think Edward and Wallis would have acted like glamorous swans versus the less interesting George VI and his plain missus.
I have to admit the notion of Edward and Wallis as glamorous swans really cracked me up! They had the social conscience of a pair of turkeys, and I cannot imagine that the war would have cramped their style any. King? Boring job. Way too much like hard work. Let's have another bottle of champers to make it go away, what?

Swans glide effortlessly down the river smooth as silk BUT, beneath the water those little webbed feet are going like to clappers to maintain the image. That was the new King and his beautiful Queen. Working hard and making it look easy. I can just hear them leading a chorus about hanging out the washing on the Sigfried Line . . . . . While Darling come home would have been more Wallis' stlye.
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  #33  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
There is an arugment that had she taken on that sort of role the King may have even relented and felt that as she was working the way a wife of a Prince of the Realm should behave that she might have been given the HRH later in life but as she, and he, did nothing but complain they didn't deserve any consideration.
George VI made it very clear throughout his reign he would not reconsider his decision to withhold royal rank from The Duchess under any circumstances. He felt his brother had acknowledged his wife's unsuitability to become a member of the royal family by abdicating the throne.

In his mind, if Wallis became HRH The Princess Edward upon marriage, then there was no reason why she shouldn't have become Queen in 1936. And that was the end of it.
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  #34  
Old 03-07-2010, 06:57 AM
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I think that is the first time I have heard that reason given but it has a ring of absolute logic when taken to its inevitable conclusion. Giving Wallis an HRH would have meant that he believed she was a fit and proper wife for his brother and, by default, an acceptable Queen.
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  #35  
Old 09-29-2010, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by branchg View Post
George VI made it very clear throughout his reign he would not reconsider his decision to withhold royal rank from The Duchess under any circumstances. He felt his brother had acknowledged his wife's unsuitability to become a member of the royal family by abdicating the throne.

In his mind, if Wallis became HRH The Princess Edward upon marriage, then there was no reason why she shouldn't have become Queen in 1936. And that was the end of it.
That seems like the most credible reason to me. If Edward had married Wallis Simpson he would have caused a constitutional crisis, so wouldn't giving royal rank to Simpson have not only acknowledged that she could have been Queen, but also angered parliament by giving credibility to a marriage they wouldn't support? Edward was no longer King but I guess it would have still aroused a lot of contention.

Also, George VI had to assert himself as much as he could. There were many people, including Winston Churchill at first, who did not think he was up to the job. It wouldn't have done well to defer to his brother like that.

Am I right in thinking that the Queen Mother indirectly blamed Wallis Simpson for her husband's premature death? The QM could be quite biting if she wanted to be IMO, in her own way. I doubt if she had much time for the woman who'd had a part in forcing her husband into a role he wasn't really suited for, even if he did turn out to be a great king.

It's a great release to blame someone else when you're under a lot of stress. The late 30s were very stressful times for the Royal Family, so how could you not feel dislike for a person who basically flounced off to Paris and left you in the lurch?
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  #36  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:17 AM
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I can certainly understand why the King did not give an HRH to Wallis. It wasn't right and yet it was right.

It wasn't right because she was David's wife and should have been accorded the same rights as the other brothers wives (Marina and Alice). It was not right because they didn't know Wallis, she had already had two other living husbands...for all they knew Edward was a passing fancy. It was certainly in her character. It was right because they didn't know Wallis. Which I personally put the owness on Edward. His brothers and their wivse had certainly had met with Wallis and knew her but didn't know her. They simply didn't spend enough time with the woman.

The Queen Mother did blame Wallis but I think it was easier to blame Wallis than to blame Edward, of whom the Queen Mother was quite fond of back in the day.
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  #37  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:37 AM
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The Queen Mother did blame Wallis but I think it was easier to blame Wallis than to blame Edward, of whom the Queen Mother was quite fond of back in the day.
Indeed. Edward was quite charismatic. Because Wallis had already been married twice I suppose it was easy to characterise her as a bit of a "gold digger". It makes you wonder whether, if he hadn't met her, Edward would have "ruin[ed] himself in a year" as his father predicted. I vote for yes, but perhaps there were people who blamed Wallis exclusively.

IIRC the "Bertie and Elizabeth" made-for-tv movie (which was a tad on the cheesy side IMO, but oh well -- I didn't watch the whole thing) characterised Wallis thus: as a scheming woman who made you wonder what he saw in her. I think one of the most historically accurate things in the film were the catty remarks she directed toward the future Queen Mum.

Thinks like the "Cookie" nickname and the "I'm dining with the King" remark made it absolutely clear that there was some sort of power play going on. The Queen Mother certainly put Wallis in her place that time, although I'm sure she responded in kind.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:42 AM
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Both remarks were defining moments in their lack of relationship. But its also to remember that Elizabeth was extremely fond of the George V and Mary, and she saw how the Wallis relationship was stressing to them. For example, Edward insisting that Wallis be invited to the Kent wedding or making as though he wouldn't come. Its not about you Edward...its about your brother and his bride. Selfish if you ask me.

Also, there was a time when Edward and Wallis drove over to Royal Lodge (where I believe the Yorks were living) to show the new American staton wagon. First they dropped in unannounced. Its sounds trivial...but that is something that is a pet peeve of mine so I can see how Elizabeth could have been annoyed by the drop in visit. Also, they (Edward, Wallis and George) proceed to talk about moving trees and making changes to the landscape.

In regards to the Cookie comment and the mocking of Elizabeth, if Wallis didn't like her that was certainly her right. But to mock your hosts sister in law in public (do it in private) was in poor taste. Especially since the woman was coming over to dinner. Just rude in my opinion.
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  #39  
Old 09-29-2010, 10:10 AM
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Hi,

I always have to smile (smerk really!) about how all this ended up: -

Elizabeth sat firmly on her throne, even after becoming Queen Mother, and was a doyenne of society and a beloved figure in the world.

Wallis scurried all over the place, hoping for proper recognition; and after Edward's death was largely ignored and alone - nobody caring.

Elizabeth could stand on her own; but Wallis needed Edward to prop her up!!

Larry
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:00 PM
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I always wondered what the issue was, because there are so many different reasons Wallis and Elizabeth didn't get along. But on some level I think the royals, Bertie and Elizabeth included, didn't think Wallis really loved Edward. They thought she was using him, and that she would abandon him once she found someone she preferred or he was no longer of use to her. I don't think that was the case at all and looking back we now know their marriage lasted, and the love letters made their relationship seem very strong. But at the time, the royals thought Wallis was this horrible manipulative gold digger.

That also explains why Elizabeth softened to Wallis in her later years.
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