The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

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by Greg King
     
 

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A woman's life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience.

It was the love story of the century--the king and the commoner. In December 1936, King Edward VII abdicated the throne to marry "the woman I love," Wallis Warfield Simpson, a… See more details below

Overview

A woman's life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience.

It was the love story of the century--the king and the commoner. In December 1936, King Edward VII abdicated the throne to marry "the woman I love," Wallis Warfield Simpson, a twice-divorced American who quickly became one of the twentieth century's most famous personalities, a figure of intrigue and mystery, both admired and reviled.

"Never explain, never complain."

Wrongly blamed for the abdication crisis, Wallis suffered hostility from the Royal Family and much of the world. Yet interest in her story has remained constant, resulting in a small library of biographies that convey a thinly veiled animosity toward their subject. The truth, however, is infinitely more fascinating than the shallow, pathetic portrait that has often been painted.

"For a gallant spirit, there can never be defeat."

Using previously untapped sources, acclaimed biographer Greg King presents a complete and, for the first time, sympathetic portrait of the Duchess that sifts the decades of rumor and accusation to reveal the woman behind the legend. From her birth in Pennsylvania during the Gilded Age to her death in Paris in 1986, King takes the reader through a world of privilege, palaces, high society, and love with the accompaniment of hatreds, feuds, conspiracies, and lies. The cast of characters is vast: politicians and presidents, dictators and socialites. Twenty-four pages of photographs reveal the life of the Duchess in all its incomparable glamour and romance.

Greg King's biographies The Last Empress, The Man Who Killed Rasputin, and The Mad King have been universally acclaimed and internationally published. He lives in Everett, Washington.

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Editorial Reviews

Merle Rubin
King does indeed present a sympathetic and believable portrait of Wallis Simpson....Wallis Simpson's life is indeed a fascinating one. As a biographical subject, her story has a great deal to offer.
The Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
This readable, thoroughly researched biography of the much maligned duchess convincingly lays to rest much of the negative gossip—including reports of her sexual eccentricities—that swirled around the duchess and her husband in the nearly 40 years they were married. King (The Last Empress, not reviewed, etc.) set out to write "a fair and favorable" biography of Wallis Warfield Simpson, the twice-divorced woman whose last husband, King Edward VIII of England, abdicated his throne in order to marry her. King has succeeded for the most part, illuminating details of Wallis's dramatic life from her birth near Baltimore in 1896 to her lonely death in Paris nearly 90 years later. Outlining a privileged, although not affluent, upbringing in Baltimore society, the author describes her subject's first marriage to a US Navy flier who was verbally and physically abusive; and her second marriage to Ernest Simpson, who brought her to live in London, where she met the then prince of Wales, soon to become king. Although Wallis was neither beautiful or brilliant, Edward (called David by intimates) "seemed bewitched," showering her with attention and jewels. Her appeal lay in her southern charm and ability to focus completely on the man she loved, asserts King. Once she was married, Wallis's commitment to decorating houses, visiting couturiers, and creating for her husband a life appropriate to the former king of England was relieved by the Windsors' service in the Bahamas during WWII. Wallis worked long and arduous days to improve health and education facilities for the poor of the Bahamas. Throughout the Windsors' marriage, the British royal family remained intransigent over extending anyrecognition to Wallis; the couple remained exiles from England, riding the social circuit between France and the US. It still seems a shallow and self-indulgent lifestyle, despite King's efforts to give it heft. Still, an intriguing slice of history with its centerpiece a royal romance nearly as riveting as the saga of Charles and Diana.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806535210
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
05/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
94,232
File size:
1 MB

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