“The Woman I Love”

On June 3, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, Duke of Windsor and former King of the United Kingdom, married Wallis Warfield Simpson, the woman he gave up the throne for.

The lead-up to the marriage, with its sordid affair and constitutional crisis, is fairly well known. Suffice it to say, the twice-divorced Wallis was not popular in Britain after Edward vacated the throne “for the woman [he] love[d],” dumping the responsibility on his unprepared younger brother Bertie, and hightailing it to France in Wallis’s wake. The two kicked around France until Wallis’s divorce from her second husband was finalized on May 3. A month later, they married at Château de Candé near Tours, with a County Durham clergyman, the Reverand Robert Anderson Jardine, officiating.

The Church of England refused to sanction the union, and no members of the royal family attended (the new king, George VI, forbade it.) That, along with the royal family’s refusal to confer the title ‘Her Royal Highness’ upon Wallis, put Edward in a sulk for the rest of his life. The new Duke and Duchess were also kept off the Civil List, although Edward received a tax-free allowance from his brother, the king. Edward supplemented his income by selling Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle back to his family, writing his memoirs, and apparently doing some illegal currency trading. Still, in the early days of Bertie’s reign, Edward would call daily, whining about the HRH title and asking for money. Bertie, who had a lot on his mind, finally ordered that his brother’s calls not be put through.

Edward believed that after a year or two he’d be allowed to settle in England again, but Bertie, with the support of his wife and mother, threatened to cut off Edward’s allowance if he returned to Britain uninvited. Instead, Edward and Wallis were forced to slum it in luxury apartments and villas in France, the Bahamas, and New York when they weren’t visiting Hitler.

Eventually, the royal family started to thaw towards Edward, but Wallis was never fully accepted by them. Edward’s mother, Queen Mary, refused to receive her formally, although in later years she did meet with Edward from time to time, as did Bertie. During a trip to London in 1965, they were visited by Queen Elizabeth and two other members of the family, and Queen Elizabeth visited them in 1972, during her state visit to France. In May of that year, Edward died and was buried in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore near Windsor Castle. Wallis attended and stayed at Buckingham Palace. She died 14 years later and was buried beside her husband as “Wallis, Duchess of Windsor”.



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