“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility,
and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do,
without the help and support of the woman I love.”
–King Edward VIII, from his famous abdication speech of 1936.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (AKA Wallis Simpson)— arguably one of the most controversial, talked about couples of the 20th century. Their affair started while she was still married to her 2nd husband Ernest Simpson– a wealthy Englishman, through whom she gained access to British high society. The two were introduced at a London social event, and soon she was a frequent guest at Prince Edward’s country getaway, Fort Belvedere.
In January of 1936, Edward was crowned the British Monarch upon the death of King George V. He, however, had no interest in being king. Edward’s focus was solely on marrying Wallis Simpson– the rags-to-riches American commoner who had somehow seduced the now King of England. Many wondered aloud, what could he possibly see in her? Give up the throne for– what? Apparently it wasn’t the sex. She’s credited with icily stating, “No man is allowed to touch me below the Mason-Dixon line.” There were also ugly and persistent rumors challenging her own physical endowments as a lady. Shady, unsubstantiated stories surfaced that Wallis Simpson was born a man, and suffered from Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome— a hormonal irregularity that causes a genetic male’s body to develop as a woman, but without fully developed, err, privates. Just the the kind of story any gal would love to be the subject of.
And then there were the stories of her affairs, Nazi sympathizing, and shopping.