THAT WOMAN; The Life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor

ANNE SEBBA

One of the great romances of modern times: the King of England abdicating the throne so he could be with the woman he loved.

A main theme running through That Woman is the likelihood that Wallis Simpson  was intersexed in some way. This is reason that she never had a child with any of her three husbands or her many lovers. All through her life she was plagued with abdominal problems. Sebba even suggests that King Edward VIII may have had his own intersex issues. She suggests his mostly hairless body, he only needed to shave once a week, and that all the women referred to him as the “little man.” Though he certainly was a ladies man before he met Wallis Simpson.

The Prince of Wales comes across as a liability. He was “a depressed adolescent… worryingly unsafe, he could be certified”, according to Lord Wigram, George V’s private secretary. “Certain cells in his brain have never grown,” murmured another courtier, Sir Alan Lascelles.

A real concern was the Prince’s chumminess with the Germans and pro-appeasement politicians. He and Wallis were feted by Mussolini in Venice, stayed at the Ritz in Madrid when Spain was run by Franco and visited Hitler in Berchtesgaden, where they were photographed among the swastikas. Walis actually curtsied before Hitler. The Nazis “were ready to exploit the King’s sympathies”, and even after the abdication there were plans to install him as a puppet monarch should Britain have been successfully invaded. Wallis saved England from having Edward as King. The ex-King was a petulant pipsqueak, who would have made a disastrous monarch, it does seem that everyone took it out on Wallis. She was generally vilified as a “prostitute, a Yankee harlot”, “sadistic, cold, overbearing, vain”, “mean and grasping” and, in the words of the late Queen Elizabeth, “the lowest of the low”.  Her mother-in-law refused to receive her son and his wife.

It is an interesting read but there are places that need skimming.

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