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  #1681  
Old 11-24-2017, 05:46 AM
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I think Wallis was a beauty to the different standards of that time. Thin and bony and structured. Princess Mary (The Princess Royal), Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott (The Duchess of Gloucester), Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (The Duchess of Kent), Princess Louise (The Duchess of Fife), Princess Maud (Queen of Norway), it were all simply of so different type of ladies compared to 2017.
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  #1682  
Old 11-24-2017, 06:45 AM
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I don't think that Wallis was considered a beauty in her time either, although I have seen pictures of her in the 1920s where I can see prettiness but not great beauty. I think it was her stylishness, charm and wit that made her appealing to most, and in the case of Edward, he also liked that she did not kowtow to him.
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  #1683  
Old 11-24-2017, 01:32 PM
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I don't believe anyone ever spoke of her as pretty, handsome or attractive. And I have never heard of any witticisms...or cleverness. I think that she did appeal to Edward because she was outside the British class system and because she twigged that he liked a bit of "lack of formality" and treated him as such..
And I think that she appealed to him in other more complex ways....
but I don't believe that she was ever seen as a beauty or as a witty socialite...
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  #1684  
Old 11-25-2017, 01:53 AM
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I've seen a photo of Wallis when she was probably late teens and she was much more attractive than the older Wallis, not beautiful, but her features were much softer and less severe. She also was heavier than in later life, not overweight or even chubby, but not the severe thinness to the point of bony and angular that she favored in later years.
I don't think Wallis had a natural charm, but learned over her life when she could turn on the charm and add a wittiness when it could suit her.
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  #1685  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:19 AM
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Curious, I looked at Wallis' Wikipedia entry and found this concerning both her attractiveness and wit: "On 17 April 1910, Wallis was confirmed at Christ Episcopal Church, Baltimore, and between 1912 and 1914 her uncle Warfield paid for her to attend Oldfields School, the most expensive girls' school in Maryland. There she became a friend of heiress Renée du Pont, a daughter of Senator T. Coleman du Pont of the du Pont family, and Mary Kirk, whose family founded Kirk Silverware. A fellow pupil at one of Wallis's schools recalled, 'She was bright, brighter than all of us. She made up her mind to go to the head of the class, and she did.' Wallis was always immaculately dressed and pushed herself hard to do well. A later biographer wrote of her, 'Though Wallis's jaw was too heavy for her to be counted beautiful, her fine violet-blue eyes and petite figure, quick wits, vitality, and capacity for total concentration on her interlocutor ensured that she had many admirers.'"

Regarding the (here, on this thread) contested fact of the QM's 'hatred' of Wallis: "According to the wife of former British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley, Diana Mitford, who knew both Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Windsor but was only friendly with the latter, the Queen's antipathy toward her sister-in-law may have resulted from jealousy. Lady Mosley wrote to her sister, the Duchess of Devonshire, after the death of the Duke of Windsor, 'probably the theory of their [the Windsors'] contemporaries that Cake [a Mitford nickname for the Queen Mother, derived from her delighted exclamation at the party at which Deborah Devonshire first met her] was rather in love with him [the Duke] (as a girl) & took second best, may account for much.' "

Regarding the Nazi connection: "Years later, Diana Mosley claimed that the Duke and Duchess shared her and her husband's views that Hitler should have been given a free hand to destroy Communism; as the Duke wrote in the New York Daily News of 13 December 1966: 'it was in Britain's interest and in Europe's too, that Germany be encouraged to strike east and smash Communism forever ... I thought the rest of us could be fence-sitters while the Nazis and the Reds slogged it out.' "

This I didn't know: "Both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles visited the Windsors in Paris in the Duke's later years, the Queen's visit coming only shortly before the Duke died."

And this: "Academics agree that she ascended a precipice that 'left her with fewer alternatives than she had anticipated. Somehow she thought that the Establishment could be overcome once was king, and she confessed frankly to Aunt Bessie about her 'insatiable ambitions' ... Trapped by his flight from responsibility into exactly the role she had sought, suddenly she warned him, in a letter, 'You and I can only create disaster together' ... she predicted to society hostess Sibyl Colefax, 'two people will suffer' because of 'the workings of a system' ... Denied dignity, and without anything useful to do, the new Duke of Windsor and his Duchess would be international society's most notorious parasites for a generation, while they thoroughly bored each other ... She had thought of him as emotionally a Peter Pan, and of herself an Alice in Wonderland. The book they had written together, however, was a Paradise Lost." The Duchess herself is reported to have summed up her life in a sentence: 'You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance.' "
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  #1686  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:55 AM
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Wikipedia is hardly considered a first class source of credible information!

It's long been known that Diana Mosley was a main conduit for the canard that Elizabeth was jealous of Wallis because she had wished to marry David herself. This untruth may well have begun with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor themselves.

Diana and her husband were very great friends of the Duke and Duchess in the 1950s/60s and beyond, much less so before WW2 though the two couples were known socially to each other then.

Diana did not know Elizabeth in the years following WW1 when Elizabeth was single (Diana was much too young) and therefore she could not have been any kind of viable witness to what Elizabeth's feelings for David were pre 1923 when she married Bertie.

Moreover, the author who tried to track that vicious assertion down could only track it back as far as the generation below Elizabeth's, in fact the generation to which Diana belonged. Rather notable, that!

So, no pre 1923 letters or documentation in the form of eye witness accounts has yet been produced by you it seems, Lady Nimue, only assertions by a woman who in middle age, after WW2, became a confidante and friend of an embittered Duchess and her vain husband, both of whom preferred to ascribe jealousy as a motive for Elizabeth's dislike rather than their own behaviour. In fact the whole BRF from Queen Mary down were appalled that Edward intended to abdicate the throne for a woman they and many of their courtiers considered nothing more than an adventuress, and those feelings lasted a very long time.

Some pre 1923 gossip in the form of verifiable letters from members of the Royal family, London Society, British aristocracy etc would be great, thankyou. Many of these people produced memoirs later in life and would have letters, diaries etc of post World War One vintage.

It shouldn't be too difficult for you please, to track something authentic down I'm sure, as you seem to feel it was so known in Royal and Society circles at the time. That is BEFORE Elizabeth's wedding or around that time, early 1920s please.

Certainly Charles and the Queen visited the elderly Duke and Duchess in France before David's death. Charles's view of Wallis was in fact far from flattering.
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  #1687  
Old 11-25-2017, 05:27 AM
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So Wallis was smart, sharp, witty, goodlooking, knew how to find her way in high society according to contemporary witnesses. These accounts are supported by a simple look in the way she moved in the highest circles, the men and women she befriended, etc.

Of course the Wallis haters will claim the opposite, but when she was a goofy and not so bright pumpkin, of course this would never have brought her in the circles of society she mingled in. Wallis' expensive education was -like that of the Mitford Sisters- aimed on making the best possible progress on the social ladder.
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  #1688  
Old 11-25-2017, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrianna View Post
I've seen a photo of Wallis when she was probably late teens and she was much more attractive than the older Wallis, not beautiful, but her features were much softer and less severe. She also was heavier than in later life, not overweight or even chubby, but not the severe thinness to the point of bony and angular that she favored in later years.
I don't think Wallis had a natural charm, but learned over her life when she could turn on the charm and add a wittiness when it could suit her.

I have seen a picture of Wallis as a very young woman. I believe she's wearing something white and lacy with a large picture hat. One word describes how she looks. STUNNING! The pictures of as a (first) bride are equally so.

There seems to have been a question mark surrounding her arrival into the world. According to a biographer, some way short of a full 9 months after her parents' wedding!! It seems that some time lapsed between her birth and it's registration, the reason suggested being that there was indecision about her gender. Certainly, it wouldn't be stretching it to describe her as androgynous. Her hands, which, thankfully, for the fashion of the time, could remain mostly gloved, were both huge and lumpen, in stark contrast to her diminutive shape. I don't think she was ever the epitome of feminine woman but she understood herself well. By her sense of style, coupled with the financial wherewithal to accommodate it, along with a husband whose pleasure it was to see her adorned in spectacularly jaw-dropping -ugly?- jewellery, she managed to outshine all other women in her company.
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  #1689  
Old 11-25-2017, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
So Wallis was smart, sharp, witty, goodlooking, knew how to find her way in high society according to contemporary witnesses. These accounts are supported by a simple look in the way she moved in the highest circles, the men and women she befriended, etc.

Of course the Wallis haters will claim the opposite, but when she was a goofy and not so bright pumpkin, of course this would never have brought her in the circles of society she mingled in. Wallis' expensive education was - like that of the Mitford Sisters - aimed at making the best possible progress on the social ladder.
Exactly so. Same with Eleanor Roossevelt. Same for every young woman who attended one of the Ivy League 'sister' colleges in the U.S. in that era (Smith College, Mount Holyoke, Vasser, etc.). Wallis was groomed to make as good a marriage as she could. That was the goal of every woman in that time. No shame in that for them. They had few other options.

To me one must see any individual in the context of their times in order to fully understand them. Wallis remains for me a tragic figure, caught in the grip of the social mores of her time and a slew of unintended consequences.
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  #1690  
Old 11-25-2017, 07:32 PM
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It is easy to buy into the sad story of a misunderstood Wallis but she owned her own "insatiable ambitions" and her affair with David was the pinnacle. She only had second thoughts when she realised what David did not, that they would never allow him to put her on the throne beside him. Second thoughts then? Certainly, but too little too late.
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  #1691  
Old 11-25-2017, 07:47 PM
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Of course at that time making a good marriage was very important but without playing a goody two shoes (I am human and I made mistakes too) we can see and say she had not a lot of morals.... trying to do one's best is OK but the means o achieving that must be honest and proper..
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  #1692  
Old 11-26-2017, 08:38 AM
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It doesn't strike me that she "tried to do her best" in terms of "doing the right thing". She didn't expect that Edward would marry her, then toyed iwht the idea and then I think realised that she was trapped in a situaiton she had partly created. She had expected the affairs to last a while and then go back to Ernest.. but she had been too public with the affair and left Ern alone too much, and he found someone else. Then she didn't really want to marry Edward but had no real option. She realised after a whle that it wouldn't be allowed fro her to marry him and keep the throne.. so all she could really do, unless she wanted to make a major break, leave him and maybe marry someone else, she had to accept that She was going to marry Edward and he was going to renounce the throne.. but the trap was largely of her own making. If she had been more tactful in the way she handled the affair and her husband, she might have still had the option of returning to him and retiring discreetly into private life...Or she might have just not had the affair at all with Edward..
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  #1693  
Old 11-26-2017, 08:43 AM
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I think Wallis liked the (dubious) status of being the Prince of Wales mistress. She didn't read David correctly though and things spun in a direction she didn't intend.
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  #1694  
Old 11-26-2017, 09:10 AM
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It wasn't a dubious status, it certainly gave her a lot of social clout and invitations, provided she had hanlded it well. but she and David were pretty foolish, spending too much time together, going on expensive holidays when the Yorks were at home being happy families and doing their duties. but she misjudged her husband, who was clearly getting fed up with the fact that she was always off with her lover and he was becoming a laughing stock, and he found himself a new love whom he felt better with. And I think that Wallis didn't really care that much for David, as there were rumours that she had another affair at the same time.. She was lucky in one way that the Press were defernetail then, and her behaviour wasn't all over the papers. but I think she didn't really want to marry David, then thought that she might do so and it would mean she was either queen or say "duchess of Lancaster".. then realised that she was NOT going to be able to say with her husband NOR to marry David and at least partly share his Royal position. And she was stuck with a marriage to a man she didn't care that much about, and more or less permanent exile from England, and knew that if she had split up iwht hm, she would look bad.
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  #1695  
Old 11-26-2017, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
It wasn't a dubious status, it certainly gave her a lot of social clout and invitations, provided she had hanlded it well. but she and David were pretty foolish, spending too much time together, going on expensive holidays when the Yorks were at home being happy families and doing their duties. but she misjudged her husband, who was clearly getting fed up with the fact that she was always off with her lover and he was becoming a laughing stock, and he found himself a new love whom he felt better with. And I think that Wallis didn't really care that much for David, as there were rumours that she had another affair at the same time.. She was lucky in one way that the Press were defernetail then, and her behaviour wasn't all over the papers. but I think she didn't really want to marry David, then thought that she might do so and it would mean she was either queen or say "duchess of Lancaster".. then realised that she was NOT going to be able to say with her husband NOR to marry David and at least partly share his Royal position. And she was stuck with a marriage to a man she didn't care that much about, and more or less permanent exile from England, and knew that if she had split up iwht hm, she would look bad.
The "dubious" was my observation, hence being in parentheses
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  #1696  
Old 11-26-2017, 09:49 AM
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I see. But it was something that could have worked out very nicely for her, had Edward been less obsessive.. and had he not been just at the point of becoming King. She might have had a nice affair, made friends, got some jewellery, been a society grandee, and then when it ended, gone back to her married life.. and normality..
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  #1697  
Old 11-26-2017, 10:13 AM
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I see. But it was something that could have worked out very nicely for her, had Edward been less obsessive.. and had he not been just at the point of becoming King. She might have had a nice affair, made friends, got some jewellery, been a society grandee, and then when it ended, gone back to her married life.. and normality..
As I said, Wallis misread David. She lost control of the situation.
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  #1698  
Old 11-28-2017, 07:56 PM
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I really don't think she was attractive at all. Maybe she had a charm in person that made up for her bony plain figure and face.. but its hard to see it. I think she was interesting to British upper class society when she came into it, as an American.. but I've never heard of her being funny or clever or witty, which might make up for the lack of great physical beauty. The QM grew plump and lost her looks but she was a very pretty girl.. and while I wouldn't say she was very clever, she did seem to have a charm and liveliness and joie de vivire that made people find her attractive..
I believe that many people don't find Wallis that attractive because they don't like her as a person (she still has a bad reputation with so many people). But as far as I can tell, she was pretty enough in her prime.
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  #1699  
Old 11-29-2017, 05:34 AM
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I'd say I was the other way round,that when she was just an ordinary socialite, many people found her plain.. but when it was known that she was the Princes' ladyfirend, people began to speak of her as smart and attractive.
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  #1700  
Old 11-29-2017, 06:26 AM
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I'd say I was the other way round,that when she was just an ordinary socialite, many people found her plain.. but when it was known that she was the Princes' ladyfirend, people began to speak of her as smart and attractive.
An "ordinary" socialite does not live in a grand house with servants and does not mingle in the highest echelons of society, able to come in close contact with someone as the future King.

Wallis' best friend, Lady Telma Furness was the sister of Gloria Vanderbilt. Then you are really in "deep NY high society". In the end, all of them are "socialites" anyway. But Wallis really was not that "ordinary", her network was too exclusive to use that term.
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