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The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

THE AMERICAN WHO WOULD BE QUEEN

Wallis Simpson really thought she was going to be Queen of England. Seriously. That alone is enough to convince the reader that Wallis was a fearfully ambitious woman. This very well researched book starts off with a sordid childhood and uncertain parentage which would ...
Wallis Simpson really thought she was going to be Queen of England. Seriously. That alone is enough to convince the reader that Wallis was a fearfully ambitious woman. This very well researched book starts off with a sordid childhood and uncertain parentage which would deter most women from aspiring to royalty. But the author, Greg King, explains how all these obstacles were overcome by love. Almost. The deep life-long love of Edward VIII, King of England, almost succeeded in putting a crown on the head of an illegitimate American divorce'.


It's a sensational story that has been told many times before; the young, handsome King who fell madly in love with a commoner. But this "Cinderella" story was not to have a fairytale ending. The British parlaiment and the royal family were horrified at their affair, and adamantly refused to accept Wallis into the ermine-trimmed world of the Windsors.


A suitable spouse for the King was to be unmarried, a virgin, a member of the Church of England, and come from British (or at least European) nobility. Wallis was none of these. An illegitimate, divorced, Catholic American was the antithesis of the British notion of a queen.


When these sentiments became clear to Wallis, she and Edward (called David by his friends and family) relented and proposed, reluctantly, that Wallis would not be Queen, but Princess Consort. Smaller crown. To their dismay, this proposal was also rejected outright.


Surprisingly, it took some time before David and Wallis were made to understand that Wallis' presence in his life in any capacity would not be tolerated, even as a mistress. David had been raised in the royal bubble, where every whim was accommodated, every wish a command. To be told "no" was simply incomprehensible to him. So he and Wallis were married, assuming that the rest of the Windsors would "come around" in time. They were wrong.


David abdicated the throne in favor of his younger brother, who was to become father of the current Queen Elizabeth II. David and Wallis did not realize that the Windsors meant to banish them not just from the throne, but from the family and the nation.


King deftly tells the sad story of David and Wallis' life after abdication. For years afterward, both of them waited for the royal family to relent and allow them to return to the fold. It never happened. They wandered around Europe where they were wined and dined by those who wanted a taste of royalty at their cocktail soirees. Finally David was offered the Governorship of the Bahamas. He accepted it, although Wallis considered the backwater post another insult.


It's a beautiful, strange, sad love story filled with passion, war, family grudges, and royal ambition. And all the more captivating because it's true.

posted by Mary_T on November 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Where are the photos??

I liked this book and feel the author did his research well. I have read many a book on the Duke and Dutchess as well as Elizabeth and Bertie. However I felt a little ripped off when he kept refering to the pictures in the book but they are not there.

posted by 10081080 on October 21, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Where are the photos??

    I liked this book and feel the author did his research well. I have read many a book on the Duke and Dutchess as well as Elizabeth and Bertie. However I felt a little ripped off when he kept refering to the pictures in the book but they are not there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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