Wallis in Love

Wallis in Love

by Mark Sullivan

Overview: Before she became known as the woman who enticed a king from his throne and birthright, Bessie Wallis Warfield was a prudish and particular girl from Baltimore. At turns imaginative, ambitious, and spoiled, Wallis's first words as recalled by her family were "me, me." From that young age, she was in want of nothing but stability, status, and social acceptance as she fought to climb the social ladder and take her place in London society. As irony would have it, she would gain the love and devotion of a king, but only at the cost of his throne and her reputation.

In WALLIS IN LOVE, acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton offers a fresh portrait of Wallis Simpson in all her vibrancy and brazenness as she transformed from a hard-nosed gold-digger to charming chatelaine. Using diary entries, letters, and other never-before-seen records, Morton takes us through Wallis's romantic adventures in Washington, China, and her entrance into the strange wonderland that is London society. During her journey, we meet an extraordinary array of characters, many of whom smoothed the way for her dalliance with the king of England, Edward VIII.

WALLIS IN LOVE goes beyond Wallis's infamous persona and reveals a complex, domineering woman striving to determine her own fate and grapple with matters of the heart.

Deanna Boe (06/21/18): For those of you my age I am sure you have read a book or two, read magazine or newspaper articles about Wallis Simpson, the woman who caused a man to give up his throne to marry her. She is a woman who has always fascinated people as to what she was really like. I mean how could a man, and not just any man, give up being King of (probably) the most prestigious country of the world in the late 1930’s? It is especially puzzling when you view and read about her. Wallis wasn’t particularly beautiful or extremely intelligent, plus she had been married twice before. Actually she was still married when she started their affair which she insists it did not become sexual until after their marriage. Ironically, that had not stopped her in the past so it is anyone’s guess when it comes to Edward.

In fact, this whole book is quite scandalous in reading about the various rich women in the early 1900’s that had many affairs while married, and in some cases, the husband not only knew about them but more or less acknowledged it. For instance, the lady that Wallis replaced in the eyes of Edward was Thelma Furness, whose twin sister was Gloria Vanderbilt. Thelma’s affair with Edward went on for years and her rich shipping magnate, Duke Furness, husband appeared to accept it. Ironically, it was only after Thelma got a divorce that Edward cast his eye upon Wallis! Oh yes, many feel that Thelma’s youngest son was actually Edward’s son.

It has been years since I read Wallis’s biography, so I can’t compare it to this book but this author leads us to believe she exaggerated and changed many facts in her life. Actually, Wallis’s life was somewhat boring. Her mother was not wealthy but married into a rich family in Baltimore whose husband died shortly after Wallis’s birth. Wallis’s uncle stepped in and helped Wallis and her mother to stay on the fringes of the upper crust society. This was never enough for Wallis and for the rest of her life she was always trying to reach the epitome of wealth and position she felt she had been denied by her father’s early death. If you read about all she did in her life you wonder how I could say her life had been boring; it lacked any real “substance.” Wallis’s life consisted of party after party, always trying to outdo those around her, which included finding a man of higher status. What a shock it was to her that Edward gave up being king and now their position was no longer what she thought it would be – Edward as King and she as his Queen. The saddest part of this whole story is how deeply Edward loved her and doted on her, and how terribly she treated him right up to his death. Wallis lived 14 more or less lonely years after his death, she was 89.

Ironically, with her death, she was finally allowed to “reside” in England. Wallis was buried “lying next to the man she barely tolerated, in the private cemetery of a family she loathed, covered by earth of a country she hated. Even in death she would never be in peace. As her mother so often predicted.” Did Wallis ever love Edward even a little? Or was it simply his position – you be the judge
Rating: ****-

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