Edward & Mrs Simpson: A Royal Scandal
The British king who abdicated for the woman he loved
The British royal family throughout history has been beset by scandal - as has every European royal house.
The difference though, in the case of Edward and Wallis Simpson, was that this was the first to happen in the age of mass communication. I watched this series which shows the story of their lives when it was shown on British television in the nineteen seventies. And it's fascinating.
The Prince of Wales in 1934
British noblemen have always been encouraged to 'sow their wild oats' and Edward, Prince of Wales was no different. At the time he met Wallis Simpson, who was already on her second marriage, he was embroiled with two other women. And they weren't his first mistresses.
Within the confines of the circles in which they moved, his affairs raised no shocked eyebrows. Note that the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, had a similar scenario in the 1970s, prior to his marriage to Diana Spencer. He was seeing both Camilla (his now wife) and an Australian woman named Kanga.
Again, this was perfectly acceptable.
(Later, during his first marriage,Prince Charles was heard to remark that he saw no reason why he should be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress and a wife at the same time.)
Celebrated television series
The DVD you see here is that of an acclaimed television series that was made in 1978, coincidentally at a time when the speculation about who Prince Charles would marry was at its height in the British press and gossip columns.
The two main actors are uncannily similar to the king-to-be and his mistress. The widowed Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, was still alive when this series was made. The Duke had died some years previously.
A history refresher course
Edward the Prince of Wales was the heir to the throne when he met Wallis Simpson. On the death of his father, he became king. Although by this time his mistress was divorced, the twice-married woman would not have been suitable as a queen.
The king would be obliged to give her up and the government wanted him to marry a suitable English girl with no 'past'. (Sound familiar?)
Less than a year after becoming king, Edward relinquished the role. Because communications were now commonplace he announced his abdication in a moving speech that was transmitted on BBC radio in December 1936.
The lives of Edward and Mrs Simpson continued to fascinate the world and still does today. Even now, books continue to be written about their story.
In 1934 the Prince of Wales' primary mistress was going away and innocently asked her friend Wallis Simpson to 'look after' her lover.
This Mrs Simpson did, despite being married at the time. The prince's other mistress, also a married woman, was now told by the prince's staff that they has orders not to connect her when she called her master. Wallis has swept in - in style.
If you'd like to order your own copy of their story, please use the button on the right.
This clip from the DVD will also give you some idea of the story and also the fabulous fashions of the time.
Above we see Edward's mistress,Thelma Furness, asking Wallis to take care of her lover whilst she visits America.
When Edward gave up the throne his brother, who was next in line, reluctantly took his place and became king.
He was a young married man with two daughters (the eldest of which is the present queen) and suffered from a speech impediment.
And yet, with the Second World War approaching, it was essential that at ruler he would have to regularly address the nation, something her found impossible.
This is the story of how this problem was overcome.
I absolutely adore this book - my copy has fallen apart.
This is immaculately researched and the stories of the scandals and romps of European royalty are often quite hilarious.
Each chapter features a different scandal.
Although there have been a few minor royal scandals in the last fifty years they pale into insignificance compared with the antics of royalty in times gone by.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson