Famous Marriages King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson Part 1

About the marriage between English King Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Simpson, history of their courtship.


King Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Simpson

Courtship: It was labeled the "love story of the century"--King Edward VIII's infatuation with a twice-divorced American commoner, Wallis Warfield Simpson, which scandalized staid Britain and led to Edward's abdication. But with the passing of time, it became evident that their love transcended all.

They met for the first time in 1930. Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Simpson were houseguests of Lady Furness at Melton Mowbray, where the Prince of Wales had gone fox hunting. Edward in his memoirs recalled that Wallis was suffering from a head cold. He asked if she missed American central heating.

" 'I'm sorry, Sir,' she said, 'but you have disappointed me.'

" 'In what way?'

" 'Every American woman who comes to your country is always asked that same question. I had hoped for something more original from the Prince of Wales.'"

Edward later wrote: "In character, Wallis was, and still remains, complex and elusive, and from the first I looked upon her as the most independent woman I had ever met. This refreshing trait I was inclined to put down as one of the happiest outcomes of 1776."

As their meetings continued, affection grew, and Edward was often a guest at the Simpsons' apartment in Bryanston Court. Wallis was a superb hostess, reputedly serving the finest food in London. The prince called the apartment his second home.

At first Ernest Simpson was flattered, but as Edward's visits became more frequent, he began to rebel. He wasn't interested in sharing his wife with the Prince of Wales.

What had started as a "flirt" by Wallis flowered into a full-blown affair. Lord Castlerosse, who knew the prince well, insisted the attraction between them was not sex. A closer friend disagreed: "She must have given him something in bed that no other woman ever did. She must have made him feel more vital, more masculine, more satisfying."

Soon the prince began openly flaunting Wallis in public. She attended his brother George's wedding to Princess Marina of Greece and was later introduced to his father and mother, the king and queen.

Then they cruised around the Spanish coast together and enjoyed a skiing trip to Austria. No attempt was made at secrecy, and by now Wallis's marriage was in jeopardy.

On Jan. 20, 1936, George V died and Edward VIII ascended to the throne.

Shortly afterward the new king gave his first formal dinner at York House, with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and his wife as guests of honor. Members of British society, along with the puritanical Baldwins, were incensed when Wallis appeared at the king's side during the function.

A few weeks later Wallis initiated divorce proceedings in nearby Ipswich, and Ernest moved to the Guards Club.

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