Thursday, May 10, 2012

by Anne Sebba

She was born in a hotel at a summer resort in 1896. Her birth name was Bessiewallis Warfield. While at school, she would change her name to Wallis. She never knew her father because he died five months after she was born. For most of her childhood, Wallis lived with her grandmother in Baltimore. Because of her destitute upbringing, Wallis always strove to rise above it. It was her wits that eventually brought her to the attention of the Prince of Wales. She certainly was not beautiful nor pretty and was not too smart, either. Wallis knew how to flatter and build up the person to make them think they were the one and only. The Prince found her very amusing and then became obsessed by her. Wallis thought that the relationship was not going to last and that it was just going to be a mild flirtation. Of course, he showered her with magnificent jewels and gifts. She loved that the most. Many times, she would escape alone to be away from the Prince because she found being around him too claustrophobic. The Royal Family wanted nothing to do with her and tried to persuade him to leave her but he refused.
He would have been King but Wallis could never have been the Queen, so he abdicated to marry her and they were given the titles the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
There has been much speculation on Wallis to the point that nobody really knows much about her. Even her birth certificate doesn't exist. She was always very secretive and was not forthcoming on saying anything about herself. What is known is that Wallis was a golddigger and wasn't in love with the Duke. He was a petulant child (she called him "little man") and she treated him that way privately and publicly. They were made for one another. 
That Woman was an interesting read and the author used letters between Wallis and Edward, National Archives, film, and books. There's plenty of photographs interspersed in the middle of the book.
It's a good biography that reveals much about their character.