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  #1821  
Old 12-13-2017, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Tsaritsa View Post
I think her need for financial security was at the heart of what made Wallis who she was. Poverty -and that's entirely relative, of course- and memories of seeing her Mother having having to grovel to Uncle Sol to make ends meet, would undoubtedly have fired her determination to rise above such an existence. Was she so busy chasing it that she failed to see -until it was too late- that she was as dependent on David as had her mother been on Uncle Sol?
She had a perfectly decent husband, in Ernest Simpson and I'm sure she was not poor. Had she not neglected him to the point where he went to another woman and fell in love, she would have been comfortable enough for life... He clearly was willing to turn a blind eye to affairs provided she didn't go too far....and I don't think she was dependent on Edward particularly. Of course she was financially, since she grew accustomed to a very lavish lifestyle, but she was the dominant one in the marriage. He adored her, and she was IMO frequently irritated by him and his obsessive devotion.. hence her affair of sorts with Jimmy Donahue...
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  #1822  
Old 12-13-2017, 06:26 AM
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That’s a very one sided view to take though and it assumes that all was in rosy in the garden with Ernest or that he was a thoroughly decent man who was cuckolded by his gadabout wife. Ernest was hardly as abusive as her first husband but he wasn’t particularly attentive to Wallis around the time she met the King. She could hardly be accused of neglecting Ernest when Ernest himself urged her to get closer to the Prince of Wales. And perhaps he was so willing to overlook her infidelities because he himself had several extra marital affairs.

It isn’t as simple as scarlet women and wronged husbands. But I agree with you that eventually Wallis found David very difficult to live with. Who wouldn’t?
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  #1823  
Old 12-13-2017, 06:34 AM
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yes he had affirs and so did she. That was far from uncommon and Ernest was clearly willing to over look her affairs provided she kept within limits.
as for who would not find David difficult to live with, I think that he was a spoiled selfish difficult man, whom one of his staff saw as having "no soul"... but Wallis did live with him.. She was not IMO in love with him ever tho' I think over the years she did become dependent on him to an extent, because "he was always there", and as she grew older and more frail, she needed him too and slid into a mental fog after he was gone...
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  #1824  
Old 12-13-2017, 06:38 AM
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Sadly Wallis never really seems to have got much in return in any of her male relationships. She was frequently being used and when she really needed them to step up, they were often found lacking. It must have been very difficult for her not to look elsewhere when she seemed to have such a talent for picking the wrong men. They were either adult men who behaved like little boys or drunken bullies. Given her rough start in life and her own medical problems that denied her a family, it was always inevitable that Wallis would end up alone.

Hers is quite a tragic tale in many ways but it’s only now that we can see that and empathise. 30/40 years ago we would still have been fed the nonsense of the Clarence House version of events.
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  #1825  
Old 12-13-2017, 06:56 AM
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Edward and Wallis weren't exactly on their uppers in their retirement. Edward had salted away a very large sum from Duchy funds that he lied to his brother about when the negotiations to sell Balmoral and Sandringham were going on. King George was terribly pained when he found he had been deceived by his brother.

And as far as the Duchess is concerned that doesn't mean we should all swallow wholesale the story of poor charming attractive Wallis, constantly let down by the men in her life, either. There are plenty of examples of Wallis being manipulative, venal and self-centred.
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  #1826  
Old 12-13-2017, 07:00 AM
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Of course. Nobody is 100% naughty or nice. But in Wallis’ case, she’s made out to be the devil incarnate which is pretty ridiculous given that we can now appreciate far better the world she was living in. In a society dominated by men, traditional values and religion she wasn’t broken by it. That’s quite an achievement and no doubt took a little bit of manipulation and selfishness to pull off. Not that it excuses everything, I would never suggest it did. But for a lower middle class girl from Baltimore, she didn’t do all that badly when most of her contemporaries would have simply stayed in the first marriage hoping for some kind of quick release. Wallis really was “the Duchess who dared”.
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  #1827  
Old 12-13-2017, 07:23 AM
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But her whole life became changed by an association with a wealthy and powerful man, having married two other men on the way! In what manner is that challenging the traditional values of her time and achieving things on her own? And there were plenty of women who did gain prominence in the 1920s/30s through their own efforts.
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  #1828  
Old 12-13-2017, 07:46 AM
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Duke and Duchess of Windsor (1894-1972) and (1895-1986)

She’d hardly have been of interest to such men if she wasn’t a fascinating woman in her own right. Many people remark on Wallis’ plain looks and that’s true, she wasn’t conventionally beautiful. But she was interesting, witty, well informed and able to make people feel comfortable in strange surroundings. She was a wonderful hostess but she was also able to sit and have an in depth political discussion which many women regarded as totally off limits even if they had a real desire to express an opinion.

Her life changed when she married David but why did he want to marry her in the first place? If she was just a fly by night good time girl, it’s an obsession that wouldn’t have lasted. But she was much more than that. She had enough talent not only to be desirable company for both men and women but to know that she could do things on her own if she had to. Let’s not forget that Wallis travelled as an independent woman alone before she married Ernest. In China she was practically solitary for the most part and yet she made the best of it. Not an easy thing to do in a country that was deeply anti-Western, anti-women and falling apart at the seams.
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  #1829  
Old 12-13-2017, 08:14 AM
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Nevertheless, Wallis's lifetime 'achievement' was by an association with a wealthy and powerful man, and one which provoked a damaging constitutional crisis. She wasn't Elizabeth Arden building up a business empire from scratch, Dorothy Hodgkin winning a Nobel prize through her own research and hard work, Amy Johnson flying to Australia from Britain and back on her own.

And when Wallis was in China she became entangled in a love affair with yet another married man! She resembles courtesans of old rather than the women above.
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  #1830  
Old 12-13-2017, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Nevertheless, Wallis's lifetime 'achievement' was by an association with a wealthy and powerful man, and one which provoked a damaging constitutional crisis. She wasn't Elizabeth Arden building up a business empire from scratch, Dorothy Hodgkin winning a Nobel prize through her own research and hard work, Amy Johnson flying to Australia from Britain and back on her own.

And when Wallis was in China she became entangled in a love affair with yet another married man! She resembles courtesans of old rather than the women above.
Of course, the men who took a fancy to her are totally blameless...

You can't compare Wallis to Elizabeth Arden or Amy Johnson. Their backgrounds, their influences, their personal circumstances - it's apples and oranges. What you have to do is to keep things in the context of Wallis' class, experiences and expectations. Here was a young woman who was expected, like all other women in her social circles, to wear nice clothes and to keep their husbands happy. They were not to have opinions, they were not to speak their minds, they were not to educate themselves. That role was so confining that even if (as Wallis' first husband was) your husband turned out to be a drunken bully, you simply put up with it. That was your lot in life.

Wallis didn't believe in that. She believed that a woman had her own worth and had a right to be treated as an equal. She never considered herself to be a feminist but she spoke very proudly of young women in the 1960s who were seeking out careers for themselves and were getting access to better education. She herself said, "I would have very much liked a career but nice girls from Baltimore didn't have careers. We had husbands". You mention that Wallis had an affair in China with a married man. What you don't mention is that she also spent time studying architecture and interior design there. She attended lectures on Chinese history and even took lessons in Mandarin. These were mens pursuits, restricted to women for the most part. She might not have become a Gladys Aylward type but she used her advantage as a woman travelling alone (something rarely done in the 1920s or even the 1950s come to that) to learn new things which ultimately made her interesting company because she had experiences that were hers and hers alone.

Wallis was never going to find a cure for cancer or solve world hunger but this stuffy idea that she enjoyed sex and was therefore some kind of 'courtesan' (which is just an old fashioned word for classy hooker) is so far off the mark as to be patronising and a little judgemental. Yes, Wallis could have stayed in her first marriage. She could have taken the beatings, she could have worn the right clothes, hosted the right parties and made a name for herself as a middle class American housewife doing useless committee work and attending Easter Parades. And yes, she could have been a "good girl" and played by the conventions and the traditions of keeping her mouth shut and not bothering to try to ever move higher than her gender or class allowed. But that wasn't Wallis.

She was a prototype for the modern woman. Confident, outspoken, well educated and wanting to go places. If the times in which she lived meant she had to play men at their own game and use them to get where she wanted to go, surely that says more about the men involved and the way society worked than it does Wallis? You can't reduce her to this Victorian melodramatic moralising that Baldwin or Lang imposed upon her in the 1930s. She didn't fit in English society because she was everything English women were not. She stood up to men like Baldwin and Lang. She challenged their views with well informed opinions of her own. Baldwin's type liked pretty wallflowers who said little but looked the part. Given the choice between an evening in the company of Wallis or a timid wallflower? I know which I'd rather choose.
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  #1831  
Old 12-13-2017, 08:48 AM
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Well, Nancy Astor was married and in the higher rungs of Society, both in Virginia and in Britain, and she achieved many things on her own without having affairs and causing upheaval in her adopted country. And she was far from being a wallflower.

Sorry, but I just do not subscribe to the Michael Bloch view of the shallow and selfish Wallis. I've read far too much about her I suppose.
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  #1832  
Old 12-13-2017, 09:03 AM
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What did Wallis do that was so spectacular? I've never heard of her being intelligent, or even witty. her one "joke" was that they didn't have children because "David isn't heir conditioned"...
She was a society hostess who got lucky, David was not looking for a "fascinating witty woman" or an intelligent one or one who was out to do something special or change the world.
He was looking for someone who would dominate him, and "look after him" and listen to him complaining.. not a woman who was interesting to talk to. He had found other women who were his mistresses for a time, but Wallis probably came along when he was increasingly panicking at the idea of becoming King, when he was puhsing 40 and was in a mid life crisis situation.. and she had the sort of personality IMO that reminded him of his mother. Q Mary was not a cuddly warm sort of mother, and IMO David wanted someone who mothered him but was also strict with him. Wallis consciously or unconsciously played into that, was cool with him at times, "told him off for his own good".. and was in a way the sort of mother figure he was used to...
She "lucked out" by attracting him,but she didn't think that it would be a permanent affair.. SHe problaby felt that when he became King he would settle down and marry a suitable well bred English wife.. But she enjoyed the affair as long as it lasted..
I think she was probably pretty scared when she realised that David was so obsessed that he wanted to marry her, but then was determined to get the best deal she could out of the situation. If that was morganatic wife, she would have been Ok with that.
If it was NOT morganatic wife, if she found that Daivd had to give up the throne to marry her, she was going to make the best of it.. and live splendidly in café society, with the romance of being "the woman that he gave up the throne for.."
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  #1833  
Old 12-13-2017, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
She had a perfectly decent husband, in Ernest Simpson and I'm sure she was not poor. Had she not neglected him to the point where he went to another woman and fell in love, she would have been comfortable enough for life... He clearly was willing to turn a blind eye to affairs provided she didn't go too far....and I don't think she was dependent on Edward particularly. Of course she was financially, since she grew accustomed to a very lavish lifestyle, but she was the dominant one in the marriage. He adored her, and she was IMO frequently irritated by him and his obsessive devotion.. hence her affair of sorts with Jimmy Donahue...

As I said, poverty is relative. The fear of it, according to our past experiences of it, can be overwhelming. Perhaps "comfortable enough" ceased to be enough when she saw what else was on offer. She seems to have always felt -possibly from the days of Uncle Sol's largesse?- that her position in society was dependent on men. It was fortunate for her that the man who could provide her with untold wealth was a weak enough character to allow her dominant nature full rein.
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  #1834  
Old 12-13-2017, 09:10 AM
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well fine but its hard not to feel that she didn't love David but latched onto him, when she realised that he was ready to marry her and if he couldnt give her a throne, could and would share immense wealth with her. Some might call that gold digging..
It is some time since I read a bio of them, but I do recall in someone's diaries or bio, a comment that their relationship came across as if she were "an older woman tolerating the adoration of a younger man" but not reciprocating it..
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  #1835  
Old 12-13-2017, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
What did Wallis do that was so spectacular? I've never heard of her being intelligent, or even witty. her one "joke" was that they didn't have children because "David isn't heir conditioned"...
Witty doesn't necessarily mean that she was a laugh riot comedian. I never met Wallis but almost everyone who did remarked on how quick witted she was and that she came across as extremely intelligent and up to date on current events - something which wasn't always true of her husband.

Quote:
She was a society hostess who got lucky, David was not looking for a "fascinating witty woman" or an intelligent one or one who was out to do something special or change the world. He was looking for someone who would dominate him, and "look after him" and listen to him complaining.. not a woman who was interesting to talk to.
I disagree. David didn't show any taste for the vast majority of English girls. He found them boring and dull. They were too overawed by his position and I think the rumour and gossip that surrounded every meeting with a potential English wife put him off. He preferred married women because they (usually) meant he would be free from commitment but if you look at the women he chose before Wallis, they all had one thing in common. They were not the standard timid women most English men were used to. I agree that he wanted to be mothered and I think he responded well to a bossy woman, though I don't know that I buy into the idea that he sought women who could dominate him. Either socially or sexually. There's no way to really know that outside of gossip.

Quote:
She "lucked out" by attracting him,but she didn't think that it would be a permanent affair.. SHe problaby felt that when he became King he would settle down and marry a suitable well bred English wife.. But she enjoyed the affair as long as it lasted..
Who wouldn't enjoy being the King's mistress? But again, I think it's unfair to say she "lucked out" as if she was the least likely person ever to attract someone in David's position. The Duke of Kent liked Wallis, Lord Mountbatten enjoyed spending time with her. Why? Because she was so different. She had opinions of her own. She was confident. Sir Harold Acton took people to task who made unkind comments about Wallis, saying that she was the "brightest spark in a dull English drawing room". This isn't coincidence or luck. It's testament to someone with a great personality which she used to her advantage.

Quote:
I think she was probably pretty scared when she realised that David was so obsessed that he wanted to marry her, but then was determined to get the best deal she could out of the situation.
I agree that Wallis was scared at the point of the abdication and it's not hard to understand why. On the one hand, she was being followed by British secret intelligence who were nothing more than vicious bullies determined to ruin her. Photographers were hounding her, she was getting death threats and filthy letters, she was even being ostracised from close friends. If David changed his mind and cut her loose, who would she have left? And on the other hand, she had David very keen not to change his mind even going so far as to threaten (apparently very seriously) to kill himself. What was she to do? I don't doubt that Wallis loved him but I do think she didn't quite realise how far he was prepared to go and that's something she couldn't possibly have predicted given the short space of time she'd known David. Realistically, many others could have warned her about how impulsive and sensitive he could be but they chose not to.

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well fine but its hard not to feel that she didn't love David but latched onto him, when she realised that he was ready to marry her and if he couldnt give her a throne, could and would share immense wealth with her. Some might call that gold digging..
Some would be wrong. I've never understood this stance because it's so contradictory. We're told Wallis wasn't given the HRH because the Royal Family were concerned she'd divorce him and go rogue on the Riviera. I don't buy that but let's say for a moment that that's true. A gold digger would have swept off into the night with the thousands of pounds David had given her before his abdication (and the jewellery and the town house) and left him to his own devices. A gold digger would have put up with him until after the war and then divorced him. Wallis didn't. She stayed the course. She also did her bit during the war. She was restricted yes but she made an effort working with the Red Cross and she proved she was adept at a junior consort role when David was Governor General of the Bahamas. Was there anything she did in that role that Princess Alice didn't do when her husband was Governor General of Australia?

Wallis didn't want a crown. She wanted comfort and she got it. The Windsors were not poor by any stretch of the imagination. But does a gold digger nurse someone through a long illness devotedly after 35 years of marriage? And does a gold digger accept that once the man she's "bled dry" has died, she'll end up with very little, alone and shut away in a house in Paris with no friends or relations to look after her? I don't think so.
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  #1836  
Old 12-13-2017, 10:07 AM
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Did she 'accept' it though? Wallis was showing early signs of dementia before David died. He confided to friends that he was worried about her memory loss.

She was in exactly the same position as a lot of childless widows with no close younger relatives. And she was battened on by Suzanne Blum her lawyer, hardly a sign of huge intelligence on her part.
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  #1837  
Old 12-13-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Did she 'accept' it though? Wallis was showing early signs of dementia before David died. He confided to friends that he was worried about her memory loss.

She was in exactly the same position as a lot of childless widows with no close younger relatives. And she was battened on by Suzanne Blum her lawyer, hardly a sign of huge intelligence on her part.
I think David's comments have to be seen as those of a man who himself was in poor health by that time and who had no real medical training. I have read that some considered she was becoming forgetful before the Duke's death but I've also read accounts that suggest the Duchess' health problems didn't start until her fall in 1973 when she broke a hip that was left untreated for several months. Things then developed pretty quickly and she contracted various illnesses and maladies that by 1980 had left her a total wreck.

As for Maitre Blum, Hugo Vickers (who knew both women), Diana Mosley (again, who knew both) and Anne Sebba (who met neither) all agree that Wallis was in absolutely no fit state to deal with Maitre Blum who used Wallis' health problems for her own personal gain. When Blum first came onto the scene, Wallis had three other personal assistants: two secretaries and a lawyer. It was Blum who dismissed them once the Duchess was unable to make clear decisions anymore. She bought their silence by giving them trinkets and treasures from the Windsor household which Wallis knew nothing about.

Indeed, after the Duchess experienced a perforated ulcer, Blum ordered that she be kept locked away on the first floor and refused to let anyone see her. She began to sell the house from under her and at least a dozen people have since said that before Wallis lost the power of speech and before her mind broke down completely, the one thing she would always repeat was "I hate you!" to Blum. Lord Mountbatten raised concerns about Blum's involvement in her life but all too late. Blum had arranged it all so perfectly that the Duchess wasn't able to get rid of her. But the Blum that Wallis employed was not the same Blum who eventually became her jailor. I don't think we can blame her for being the victim of elder abuse.
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  #1838  
Old 12-13-2017, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Did she 'accept' it though? Wallis was showing early signs of dementia before David died. He confided to friends that he was worried about her memory loss.

She was in exactly the same position as a lot of childless widows with no close younger relatives. And she was battened on by Suzanne Blum her lawyer, hardly a sign of huge intelligence on her part.
was she "battend on" by Suzanne Blum? I haven't read anything abuot her in ages, but is there clear evidence that she was ill treated?
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  #1839  
Old 12-13-2017, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
well fine but its hard not to feel that she didn't love David but latched onto him, when she realised that he was ready to marry her and if he couldnt give her a throne, could and would share immense wealth with her. Some might call that gold digging..
It is some time since I read a bio of them, but I do recall in someone's diaries or bio, a comment that their relationship came across as if she were "an older woman tolerating the adoration of a younger man" but not reciprocating it..
I really don't believe David cared a jot about whether his love was reciprocated. The only thing which seemed to matter to him was that he loved her, he wanted her, and was determined -at ANY cost- to have her. For her part, I suspect she loved what he could give her, albeit, she paid a high price for it, rather more than she loved him, although she possibly softened towards him, and probably learned to tolerate his stultifying love for her.
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  #1840  
Old 02-03-2018, 08:09 AM
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Nothing new here, the "love story of the Century" is just a myth.
it's a very sad, if not pathetical, story actually.
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