ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Did Mrs Simpson help or harm the British monarchy?

Updated on November 29, 2012

Wrongly maligned

Mrs Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Winsor, was for many years a figure of hate among many British people. She has been vilified as a conniving and scheming woman who stole away England’s King Edward VIII, and there by robbing the nation of a brilliant future with their golden haired young prince on the throne. Many of these people were staunch supporters of the monarchy, and believed that Wallis Simpson posed a threat to its whole structure. However I believe it is time we reviewed this image of a much maligned lady.

Mrs Simpson

The history of Wallis Simpson has been well documented. An American socialite, she married her first husband in 1916 and was divorced in 1927.After this divorce, she moved to England, where she met and married her second husband, Ernest Simpson, in 1928.

Wallis and her new husband were able to move among what was then, fashionable British society: and it was in this society that she met the Prince of Wales: the future Edward V111.

The Prince of Wales

At the time of their meeting the prince was at the peak of his popularity. He had taken the role of heir apparent to the British throne with gusto. His boyish good looks and easy going charm endeared him to the people. However the reality behind this image was at odds with the public perception of their handsome prince.

A flawed prince.

Edwards’s undoubted charm and relaxed manner made him highly attractive to many ladies in his privileged circle; unfortunately many of these ladies were other men’s wives. His social set was considered undesirable by his parents, the King and Queen, and the officials who were doing their best too keep the wheels of state turning without mishaps and scandal, were becoming increasingly concerned about his lack of discretion and inability to apply himself to the concerns of state. Things became bad enough for the King to express hope that the prince would never have children, and that Elizabeth, the prince’s niece, would inherit the throne: little did George V know that his wish would come true.

A King under pressure

King George V died in January 1936.By this time the affair between Edward and Wallis had been going on for some years, but now he was King the pressure began to build up. Edwards attempts to gain his family and the establishment’s acceptance of Wallis as his wife, was meeting with stern opposition. Despite Wallis obtaining a preliminary decree of divorce in the October of 1936, the opposition remained resolute: and in December, Edward chose to abdicate.

The abdication.

Edward made his famous abdication speech on December 10th 1936, and left for the continent that evening. Wallis obtained her divorce in 1937, and couple were married on June 3rd of that year.

However I believe we should step back and take a different look at what happened all those years ago, and perhaps award some sympathy regarding the Duchess of Windsor, and the role she played in the abdication of the golden King

The abdication speech.

The crucial point in this matter is that Edward chose to abdicate. True he was given a hard choice, either the marriage to Wallis or the crown; Edward chose to relinquish the crown, and the reason he gave was not, in my belief, the whole truth .Consider the famous phrase from his abdication speech. “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duty as a King as I would wish to do so without the help and support of the women I love” Edward considered being King a heavy burden of responsibility, but he would not have had to face these burdens in isolation. Every monarch is surrounded by advisors and ministers and always will be. I believe that Edward knew in his hearts what many people had known for some time, that he was not fit to be a King.

Unfit to rule.

Edwards’s behaviour had been causing consternation among the people in power for some time. Stories of state documents being returned unread and wine stained, his reluctance or inability to master a brief and his feckless love life all contributed to the feeling that he was unfit for the job: and Edward himself must have known that or he would have made an effort to change. He knew in his heart that the establishment would not countenance his marriage to a divorcee, and let him sit on the throne. The problem was he could not just up and walk away, telling everybody he was a failure, no he needed an excuse, and in Wallis Simpson he found one. She was his escape route out of his dilemma. I have no doubt that he did love Wallis, but she also provided him with a reason for abdicating: a noble sacrifice for love.

Wallis escapes the press.

It is hard to understand what was going on the mind of Wallis Simpson at this time. She did apply for a divorce some months after Edward became King, so perhaps she thought there was a chance she could marry the King of England, although I doubt if she ever thought she could be Queen. But once the story broke in the British press, and it became clear that Edward was to abdicate, the storm that fell upon her was too much for her to take: so she left the country. But while Edward was making his royal escape, I believe Wallis Simpson was walking into a trap.

A decision for Wallis

Wallis must have felt like escaping herself. It must have seemed that everything was falling apart, she met and fell for a man who would be King, only to find him become a Duke of Somewhere. She was being pilloried for being the ruin of a King, but how much worse would it be if she abandoned him. Wallis Simpson made a decision that would define her future: she married him, and by doing so she set the British monarchy on a path that would see it gain in strength and popularity the like it had not seen for years.

The future

There is no way we could tell what kind of King Edward would have become had he not abdicated, but we do know what happened as a consequence of his abdication.

1n 1952 his niece Elizabeth inherited the throne, and has ruled successfully for sixty years and is held in great affection by not the majority of the British public, but also by many people in and outside of the British commonwealth. Even the most diehard republicans have been keeping their heads down.

All this would not have happened if Wallis Simpson had not help remove Edward from the scene. So far from her being a possible nemesis for the royal family, she actually opened a door for it to enter a new and bright future. Monarchists should be grateful to her.

A sad existence.

What kind of life did the Windsor’s lead after their marriage? Over the years it seemed they drifted from one cocktail party to another, endless dinner parties and holidays on yachts and in splendid houses of the then jet set. But they seemed to lead the life of lotus eaters, unable to return to the one place they wished to be. In photographs, there seems to an air of poignancy about them, an air of “what if” and sadness.

The end

In 1967 the Duke was reconciled with his family, but died a few years later in 1972.Wallis was never really accepted owing to the enmity felt towards her by the Queen mother. She died a sad and lonely death in 1986, suffering from ill health, with no family and isolated from her few remaining friends.

Foot notes.

Before her marriage to Edward, Wallis changed her name to Mrs Wallis Warfield. So the Duke of Windsor didn’t actually marry “Mrs Simpson”.

At the time of the abdication, children used to sing “Hark the herald angels sing Mrs Simpson stole our King”. I believe she didn’t steal him: he ran away.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      When it comes to "helping" or "harming" the British monarchy their history proves they don't need somebody from the outside to do that! They're quite capable of doing it on their own. Good HUB.

    • Vivenda profile image


      4 years ago from UK (South Coast)

      Another thing that could have made things interesting had the Duke of Windsor become King is that there is a certain amount of evidence that he and the Duchess had strong Nazi sympathies.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)