Wallis Simpson Biography


Born: 19 June 1896
Died: 24 April 1986
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Best known as: The woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up the throne

Name at birth: Bessie Wallis Warfield

Wallis Simpson was the American divorcee for whom King Edward VIII gave up the throne of Great Britain. She met the future king (then Prince of Wales) early in the 1930s and a few years later they became lovers, though she remained married to her second husband, businessman Ernest Simpson. Matters came to a head when Edward became king in 1936. Simpson filed for divorce from her husband, but the royal family and the British government would not allow Edward to marry her. In December Edward stepped down as king, saying in a radio broadcast "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." They were married in France on 3 June 1937, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and spent the rest of their lives in exile from England, living mainly in France and the United States. In 2003 the British government released documents showing that while she was involved with Edward in the years before he became king, Simpson also was having an affair with a London car dealer named Guy Trundle.

Extra credit: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were buried together on the grounds of Windsor Castle... The Duke and Duchess visited Germany in 1937 as guests of Adolf Hitler, creating the lasting impression that they were Nazi sympathizers... Her first marriage took place in 1916, to U.S. Navy pilot Earl Winfield Spencer, but barely lasted a year... She is often credited with the popular saying, "No woman can be too rich or too thin."

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