Duke and Duchess of Windsor (1894-1972) and (1895-1986)

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
I think that you are very correct Idriel.
I think that once Edward VIII abdicated, Wallis had to stay with him. He gave so much up for their love had she left he would have been a broken man (no wife, no family, humiliated & in exile) If she had stayed by his side she would have been ostracized not only in England but around the world as well. There was really no other higher status for her to obtain after marrying Edward. I don't believe that she loved the duke as much as he did her but certainly she cared for him in her own way. I think it was fear of being overthrown on the part of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth that gave the duke and duchess such a harsh exile. It surely must have been painful for the 2 brothers & their mother for such a family split.
Wallis was a woman before her time. Had she lived now there would have been the possibility of acceptance and things may have been different.
Of course there is always the possibility that Wallis was just the excuse given to the general public for the abdication.
Some more Pics:1. Wallis 1897
2. Wallis 1898
3. Wallis 1905
4. Wallis 1915
5. Wallis 1935
6. Wallis 1946
7. Edward 1946
8. Edward und Wallis 1945


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Some more Pics of Wallis:


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Another perspective on the Duke & Duchess

I just wanted to add another perspective to the Duke & Duchess of Windsor that doesn't involve who had an affair with whom, etc. My life partner (fiance) is psychic/medium Kenny Kingston - he's given psychic readings to many celebrities including members of the Royal Family and two of his favorite clients were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (primarily the Duchess). He says they were a couple very much in love and while they fought fiercely, they were quite devoted to one another till the end of the Duke's life and the Duchess remained in love with him till her passing. He has so many cute and touching stories about them, and I'm just hoping that people will occasionally remember them as a couple whose love was badly timed. Connection to the Nazis? Who knows? Kenny hasn't spoken much about that, instead focusing on the fact that they were in love and the Monarchy didn't think it proper between a divorced woman and a King. Think of the scandal today! But poor Princess Margaret couldn't even marry Captain Townsend because he wasn't "proper", either. Poor people - I do feel sorry for them, because their lives were dealt a bad blow. And nowadays, so many scandals have happened that make the Duke and Duchess or Margaret look like amateurs!
1 and 2: the wedding of king Edward VIII & Wallis Simpson (1937).


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When I was living in Tallahassee, Florida, about 20 years ago I met an elderly man who knew Wallis when she was a young bride and married to her first husband. I guess the first husband was a pilot or something, with the military. This elderly man talked about dancing with her and he thought she was wonderful.
Wallis was not a beauty, but I guess she had very charismatic personality.

To me, the Duke and the Duchess had always looked very devoted couple.
Yes, Earl Winfield Spencer (Wallis's first husband) was a Navy pilot and they lived in Florida (Pensacola, I think) when they were first married. Interesting that you should have met someone who knew her and remembered her from those days.
I agree with the above comments but only to a certain extent. From what I've read, I think she was indeed in love with him, but then became disillusioned. According to some books I read, she hated being away from England and in self imposed exile in France. She couldn't stand the Bahamas and wished that David would have been given a more lucrative position. Right after the abdication when they married and were reunited, she woke up to find David by her side asking her, "Well, now what should we do?" She loved the parties and society, but also secretly wished that David had been stronger and more demanding of a better position for himself.

Eventually she got bored and supposedly strayed momentarily by flirting outrageously with someone named Jimmy Donohue. He was some kind of socialite and also rumored to be gay. I'm not sure, I read these biographies a while ago. I'm a fan of Wallis because she was complex. She could be hideous, like when she was photographed looking adoringly at Hitler, but she also wasn't just interested in being a jet setter.

There was a famous interview they gave to the BBC near the end of David's life. The interviewer asked Wallis what she would have liked to achieve if times were different (I think, I'm trying to remember.) She replied that she would have loved to have been an executive or get into corporate marketing or advertising. But in those days, women were not in such prestigious positions. Then the interviewer asked David and the Duke became very mumbled and gave an awkward answer. Wallis seemed very uncomfortable. My impression was that Wallis was always focused and ambitious and she wished David would have been just as head strong, but he wasn't. Eventually she tired of his weakness, but stayed with him out of loyalty to his sacrifice of her. (However, I feel that it wasn't much of a sacrifice. I think he never wanted to be King and used her as an excuse. There is evidence that he also threatened to abdicate for his previous mistress, in particular one who was married with kids, but that she talked him out of it.)
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I have one question. Is it true that the headstone of the Duchess simply says "His Wife" and that's it? I remember reading it somewhere.
I still say for him to give up crown and country for that person was wrong. She may have loved him, but she also knew just how to pull the right strings to control him.

They deserved to be banned and due to the time and their relationship with Hitler, had they stayed in England the damage to the monarchy could have been terrible. They (George VI and Elizabeth) were still trying to shed off the German roots and really devote themselves to the war movement and their subjects.

The Duke and Duchess made their bed and now had to lay in it. Their loss and I do not feel pity for them.
I don't think they were monsters, but they certainly were selfish and greedy. To give up the throne and let down the entire British Commonwealth is a pretty indefensible act.

I also believe that while Wallis was certainly very fond of Edward, she never was in love with him.
Australian said:
I have one question. Is it true that the headstone of the Duchess simply says "His Wife" and that's it? I remember reading it somewhere.

Supposedly, this was true until a few years ago. It now reads "Wallis, Duchess of Windsor" with her dates of birth and death.
Is she buried at Frogmore with him?

I also read in a few books that part of the reason the Queen Mother did not like her is she had fancied Edward VII herself. He was even quoted as saying jealousy was part of the reason QM did not like Wallis.
Yes, the Duchess is buried next to the Duke at Frogmore.

Most royal biographers agree the notion that Elizabeth fancied Edward was totally false. She had no particular interest in him, although she was fond of him personally, and he certainly had no interest in her.

By all accounts, The Queen Mother was angry at the Duke and Duchess for the burden of duty imposed by the Abdication. When George VI died at a relatively young age, she became even more bitter (although he died from smoking, as did The Duke of Windsor later).

After the Duke's death in 1972, she relented a bit in her view of Wallis, but she never wavered in her view that the Duchess was not worthy to be a Royal Highness.
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Thank you for your assistance with my question, branchg. :)
There is a new book, "The Women of Windsor", which chronicles some of this as well.
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I think we may still be too close to the events for anything really objective to be known for sure. We've been fed one-sided propaganda for so long - which may or may not also be the truth - that we can't help but see things through that rather biassed lens.

I just wish I was young enough to be around in 100 years time when we may start getting a more balanced view of those days. The Queen Mother has been surrounded by the most carefully crafted positive image-making imaginable, and the circumstances around the abdication have been subjected to the same ruthless spin as so many other things designed to show the current monarchy in the most favourable possible light. Something tells me that the truth is a lot more complex.
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I agree. I have the book, "The Duchess of Windsor" by Diana Mosley. She was also known as Diana Mitford (one of the famous Mitford sisters) and Diana Guiness (sorry about the spelling) of the famous ale family. She left her lovely first husband to marry that cad Mosley who was not only a fascist but also married to one of the famous Curzon sisters.

Well, she states in her book that alot of the rumors about the Duchess of Windsor were just not true. Some of the things she states are:
1. The Duchess was not an adventuress. She respected her second husband but unfortunately did not feel passion for him. She felt passion for her lst husband, Win Spencer, who unfortunatley abused her and for the Duke of Windsor. She married her second husband Earnest Simpson for security and stability after being abused by her first husband.

2. She was not a gold digger. She tried to get a job because she wanted something to do and her own financial independence. Unfortunately, she was rejected. One job was to work at a fashion magazine but after writing the essay and submitting the application, she lost.

3. She did not care about royal titles. The Duke was more hurt about the rejection of the HRH title than the Duchess. The Duke as also angry because it was illegal and had he challenged it, he would have won. But the Duchess begged for peace.

4. The Duchess did not want him to abdicate. She did not want such a huge burden placed on her.

5. Finally, one thing that Diana Mosley admits is that the Duchess was obsessed about money. After growing up having to be supported by other family members, the Duchess wanted her husband to have money of his own. So she pushed and pressed the Duke to get a good settlement from the royal family. She also pressured the Duke to keep his purse strings tight and not give money away so freely, something that angered Fruity Metcalfe who served as his equerry. But Fruity was also a free loader. He married up by marrying Alexandra Curzon and he never got a decent job to maintain her in the standards she was accustomed to. He was forever dependent on her wealth, which is why she cheated on him left and right. But according to Diana Mosley, the Duke and Duchess did not receive free things. They had to pay for their clothes and life style. What they didn't pay was taxes because France refused to tax them.

So yes, there are a lot of misconceptions. But I tend to believe the word of someone like Diana Mosley who was part of their inner circle or as they were referred to the "incorrigable coterie". Diana Mosley was also not a great fan or friend of the Duchess but she did love and admire the Duke.
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I haven't read by Diana Mitford but I have read some other books and I would guess is that the truth is somewhere in between.

Taking consideration the time that all these events happened, I can certainly understand the apprehension of the Royal Family in regards to Wallis marrying the Prince of Wales. While I am sure they didn't know all the facts of her two marriages, the fact is that she had been married twice before and the concept of a divorced women marrying into a royal family was not something that was "done." Of course, if they are probably rolling over in their graves thinking about what has happened since then.

With that in mind, while it was certainly petty and illegal, I can understand why they would hold the HRH from Wallis. In their mind, once they were married and if they happened to divorce, would she still be HRH, Mrs. Alan Jones (just a possible name of a 4th husband). As Queen Elizabeth said, we don't want a HRH Duchess all over the continent. I am just paraphrasing that...but it was something similar. Of course, history has shown that things are often repeated. When Diana divorced, the Queen rightfully took the HRH from her. I am sure, the Royal Family in 1936 didn't even think that if the Wallis/Edward marriage didn't work out...we will just take the title back.

I put more of the blame on Edward. I am sorry..I understand he was in love but he was just SELFISH. Just the little things he did prior to giving up the throne in regards to Wallis showed that he couldn't see or think straight. As Queen Mary said (again just paraphrasing) if men can die for their country (in regards to WWI) surely he can give up one woman. Poor George VI was torn between the love of his wife and the love for his brother. I can understand how Queen Elizabeth could feel bitter that the stress of runnning the country prematurely killed her husband (of course...all that smoking didn't help). I mean lets face it...he was not groomed to be King...but he did an excellent job anyway. It turned out the way it was supposed to do. Things happen for a reason.
The rank of HRH is entirely at the will of The Sovereign as the fount of honour. Although the 1917 Letters Patent of George V generally governs the rank, title and styles of the royal family, The Sovereign can issue new letters patent at any time modifying them.

Wallis was legally denied the rank of HRH by George VI in 1937. There was never a legal argument for The Duke to stand on because the will of the Crown is expressed by letters patent and royal rank is not a constitutional right defined under parliamentary law. If the King says you cannot be a Royal Highness, that's it.

Diana was a different situation because her rank arrived with marriage and departed with divorce, so The Queen didn't "take" anything away because she was not HRH in her own right. The Queen also issued letters patent stating a former wife of a son of the sovereign would not be entitled to the rank of HRH upon divorce.
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Didn't the question about legality arise because it was argued that by abdicating, Edward hadn't lost his HRH since he was still a son of George V and hadn't renounced his royal status, just his position as King? Therefore it was argued that George VI had no need to confer an HRH on him because he was already HRH, and as long as he was HRH, his wife was HRH once they married. I've seen it stated in articles about the abdication that George VI went through with this creation of a totally unnecessary HRH simply because in so doing he could refuse to grant the Duchess an HRH, whereas if he'd acknowledged the existing HRH status, he'd have had to specifically draw up letters patent to deny the Duchess the HRH.
That is my understanding of the situation.
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The 1937 Letters Patent did not change The Duke's status or confer HRH on him. He was already HRH by right of his status as a son of the sovereign. What it did was specifically limit the rank to him alone while denying his wife and children the right to share it.
Which was illegal and actually was almosy giving carte blanche to morganatic marriage thus denying Wallis her HRH.
BeatrixFan said:
Which was illegal and actually was almosy giving carte blanche to morganatic marriage thus denying Wallis her HRH.

It wasn't "illegal" because the Sovereign alone has the right to confer or withhold any rank, title or style as fount of honour. However, it certainly was a slap in the face to Wallis.

The morganatic issue is moot because they were married by civil ceremony in France, were not members of the royal family and lived in exile anyway.
David was still a member of the Royal Family surely? I still say it was illegal and that poor woman was denied that style of HRH. It was just viscious, not that it's my place to judge the Queen's father but I still think it was a wrong decision.
They weren't married by civil ceremony, they were married by a Church of England clergyman. The Duke was a British citizen; as long as his marriage was legal in Britain, and the King, Prime Minister, and Archbishop of Canterbury didn't dispute that, it fell under British law, and British law doesn't recognise morganatic marriage.
It probably made sense in 1937 with the incredible shock of the Abdication, but the vendetta should have ended by the 1960's. The Queen wasn't going to force her mother into an uncomfortable position over something she probably had mixed feelings about herself.
Elspeth said:
British law doesn't recognise morganatic marriage.

Well, it did in 1937 and there is no constitutional law on the subject, so I guess morganatic marriage exists if the Government advises the Crown to issue letters patent stating a wife cannot share her husband's royal rank. Once that happens, it becomes law.
Morganatic marriage was one of the alternatives suggested by the King for Parliament to consider, as an alternative to abdication. According to biographies of Edward VIII, the morganatic marriage proposal was a non-starter because, unlike some parts of Europe (at least in the 19th century), morganatic marriage wasn't part of British law. When a peer or a royal married, his wife took his rank even if she hadn't been an aristocrat herself, regardless of whether the marriage was a civil one or a religious one.
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