the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 It sent shock waves around the world. The royals were desperately in love with Wallis Simpson and nothing would stop him from spending the rest of his life with her.
Wallis is remembered as the scarlet woman in British history and was universally despised, accused of taking the throne from the nation’s beloved King.
Their love story he is also remembered as one of the greatest of all time. But how cool was he?
Find out more about King Henry II and other rarely heard stories from the privy chamber at Beyond the royal throne from 9Podcasts.
Fifteen secret letters that were written by Wallis and recently discovered cast a long shadow over their love story.
“I miss you and I care about you. Oh dear, wasn’t life beautiful and sweet and simple?” she wrote.
But Wallis did not write these words to the King; she was writing to Ernest Simpson, the man she had married in 1928.
When the British historian and author anna sebba I was researching his biography That womanshe was determined to discover new information.
“I knew there had to be another version of this well-known story, that Wallis had stolen our handsome and charming prince. It just couldn’t be as simple as that. So I started with Ernest Simpson,” says Sebba.
During her investigation, Sebba befriended Ernest Simpson’s son, whose mother was Mary Kirk, Wallis’s best friend from high school who married Ernest after he and Wallis divorced.
Sebba was shown an address book with names of people Ernest had known during the 1930s, and when he returned to England, he began to investigate.
He had no luck until he got to the 19th name on his list. She was a woman who had been Ernest’s stepdaughter from his fourth marriage.
The woman showed the author 15 letters that she “thought [Sebba] maybe you’d like to see.”
Sebba couldn’t believe what she was reading and says the cards felt like dynamite in her hands.
One read: “Sometimes I wake up at night and think I could be lying on that weird deckchair and hear your footsteps coming down the flight passage…and there you are. evening standard under your arm.”
Sebba couldn’t believe she was reading Wallis Simpson’s innermost thoughts, written around the time of Edward’s abdication and addressed to Ernest, the man she was divorcing so she could marry the King.
“Finding these pristine letters that were meant for a man was extraordinary. I knew the moment he pulled them out, these letters had not been seen by anyone else,” says Sebba.
“To me, they were more valuable than diaries because diaries are often written with someone else in mind, but these letters were only written for Ernest.”
Another letter to Ernest read: “Ernest dear. I won’t be able to see you after all, I’m so sorry, but I’ve decided to leave sometime this week. I can’t tell HM I’m leaving because I know what would happen.
“So I’m really telling you the old ‘hat hunt’ story. I’ll stay safe until after the coronation. Or maybe forever. They will be returned.” .”
When the public realized that Wallis was “the king’s mistress”, the news spread all over the newspapers and the press was desperate for photos of the couple. Wallis was sent to France, where she effectively went into hiding.
“I knew the moment she took them out, these letters had not been seen by anyone else.”
It was then that Wallis wrote to Edward, telling him that he shouldn’t abdicate just to marry her…and that he wanted to be with her ex-husband, Ernest.
Her letter read: “I really must get back together with Ernest for many reasons… the first is that we are very nice and we understand that we get along very well, which is really an art in marriage.”
But Edward couldn’t let Wallis go. On December 10, 1936, Edward broadcast his abdication speech, and the couple married on June 3, 1937.
But Wallis was not happily married, and two years after their wedding she wrote to Ernest: “Wherever you are, you can be sure that never a day goes by without some hours thinking of you and for you and again in my evening prayers.” in the evening”. .”
As for Edward, Sebba says her love for Wallis endured. But Wallis lived her life regretting giving it all up for him.
“She never expected to marry him! She thought she would be dispensed with long before it became a matter of becoming queen. I don’t think she wanted the responsibility of being queen. I think she thought this was a good time for her.” “. she was having and would return to Ernest’s safety,” says Sebba.
Wallis stayed with Edward until his death in 1972. It could be said that he did his duty to him in a way that Edward failed to do to the royal family.
What many people today don’t realize is that Edward was adored by the public; no other royal was so adored until Princess Diana joined the royal family.
But, by marrying Wallis, Edward paid a heavy price, and not even his brothers attended his wedding. He was cruelly shunned by the royal family, in many ways, for the rest of his life.
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