Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy

Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy

For fans of the Netflix series The Crown and from the author of the New York Times bestseller 17 Carnations comes a captivating biography of Wallis Simpson, the notorious woman for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne. "You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance." -Wallis SimpsonBefore she became known as the woman who enticed a king from his throne and bir...

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Title:Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy
Author:Andrew Morton
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Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy Reviews

  • Laurie

    On June of 1896, Bessie Wallis Warfield was born. In November of that same year, her tubercular father died. Her mother was two months pregnant when they married, which gave her a bad start in the social life in the south. Her mother’s father and step-mother did not offer to take them in. The only family that offered to take care of mother and child was uncle Sol Warfield, who Wallis thought of as a grumpy miser. He allowed them to live with him, and provided enough money to feed them, and event

    On June of 1896, Bessie Wallis Warfield was born. In November of that same year, her tubercular father died. Her mother was two months pregnant when they married, which gave her a bad start in the social life in the south. Her mother’s father and step-mother did not offer to take them in. The only family that offered to take care of mother and child was uncle Sol Warfield, who Wallis thought of as a grumpy miser. He allowed them to live with him, and provided enough money to feed them, and eventually paid for Wallis’s education. This stung Wallis; she never had enough to please her. An apocryphal story says that Wallis’s first words were “Me, me!” rather than “Ma, ma!”

    Her uncle made sure she entered into society, and she wasted no time in marrying. Her first husband was a Navy pilot who adored her, but he was an alcoholic and would never be rich. The circles he ran in, however, allowed her to meet people with more money; her second husband was a shipping broker who could provide her with the life to which she wanted to become accustomed to. And that allowed her into even higher circles; she met the Prince of Wales. And he became infatuated with her; he showered her with gifts and attention, while her husband thoughtfully stayed in the background- he had a lover, too. Soon, it seemed, she would be able to become queen. The only problem was that, even if she divorced her husband, as a twice divorced woman, and a commoner, she was ineligible to become queen. They could marry if they wished, but she wouldn’t have the title. Or he could abdicate his position. This was unacceptable to her. Meanwhile the king had died and Edward was on the throne that beckoned to Wallis. Against her wishes, Edward abdicated, leaving him free to marry but denying Wallis a royal title. Ever after, she treated Edward shabbily.

    But none of the three men she married was the love of her life. That was Herman Rogers, a long time close friend who frequently managed her affairs (financial, that is). On the eve of her marriage to Edward, she went to the happily married Rogers and offered to have his child. He never took her up on her offer.

    Wallis was a thoroughly unpleasant person. She took everything she could and did not give back. Her wit was biting and cruel. The man who gave up the throne of England for her was treated as a servant in his own house. It’s a good thing for the world, however, that she did seduce him- he was pro-Nazi and thought Hitler was a fine fellow (so did Wallis- they had dealing with high up Nazis). If it had been him rather than his brother on the throne, WW 2 might have turned out very differently.

    I can’t say that I like Wallis one bit more than I did before after reading this deeply researched account of her life. Even her aunt who always took her side didn’t believe that Wallis had ever done anything worthwhile. She was simply famous for being famous. I do, however, understand her better. She grew up in poverty in the middle of people who had more. Her first marriage had her living in shabby circumstances. But rather than work her way to better things, she used men for that.

    I found the book very interesting and well written. I have to admit that reading about Wallis was a bit tiring because she was such a dreadful person and an inveterate liar. I give the book five stars, because there is no way any biographer could make her look good. The author managed to hold my interest despite my dislike of the subject.

  • Jena Henry

    Before there was reality TV, and social media influencers, and before there was television, let alone the NetFlix drama The Crown, there was Wallis Simpson. How did a down on her luck Baltimore gal create the love affair of the century? She became famous for being famous through sheer force of will.

    Was she a “socially ambitious viper, who would do anything, walk over anyone, to get what she wanted?” Possibly, but after reading this people-filled saga, I’m not sure even Wallis herself knew what

    Before there was reality TV, and social media influencers, and before there was television, let alone the NetFlix drama The Crown, there was Wallis Simpson. How did a down on her luck Baltimore gal create the love affair of the century? She became famous for being famous through sheer force of will.

    Was she a “socially ambitious viper, who would do anything, walk over anyone, to get what she wanted?” Possibly, but after reading this people-filled saga, I’m not sure even Wallis herself knew what she wanted. She did know what she didn’t want- she didn’t want to be poor, or ordinary.

    I only knew the basic story about Wallis, so for me it was fascinating to read about her early life, her marriages and then her meet-cute with the clueless Prince. I especially enjoyed reading about their life in World War II and possible Nazi sympathies. I wish I could have attended one of their dinner parties or soirées.

    Andrew Morton is one of the world's best-known biographers and I highly recommend this readable and fast-paced book, crammed with interesting tidbits.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for letting me read this book.

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "Wallis in Love" explores the life of Wallis Simpson, the woman who changed the course of the British Monarchy. Twice divorced, she charmed Edward VIII who ended up abdicating the throne. It was supposed to be a great love story but in many ways, it seemed only to imprison Wallis and Edward. Fairy tales are not always what they seem!

    I love all things related to royalty so when I heard that Andrew Morton was coming out with this book, I jumped at the chance to read it! I knew about Wallis meeting

    "Wallis in Love" explores the life of Wallis Simpson, the woman who changed the course of the British Monarchy. Twice divorced, she charmed Edward VIII who ended up abdicating the throne. It was supposed to be a great love story but in many ways, it seemed only to imprison Wallis and Edward. Fairy tales are not always what they seem!

    I love all things related to royalty so when I heard that Andrew Morton was coming out with this book, I jumped at the chance to read it! I knew about Wallis meeting Edward and I knew about the abdication debacle but I didn't realize until I dove into this book how little I knew about Wallis. This book traces all the way back to when she was a little girl and it was fascinating to see the transformation from the girl from Baltimore to one of the most controversial women in history with regard to the British monarchy.

    Morton both lays out who Wallis was and who she wasn't. People all across the world were very concerned when Edward abdicated. I was interested especially in the way that politicians worldwide were concerned about what the abdication might do in shaking up the political order of the world even with the monarch being perhaps the spiritual leader of the country but not the political leader.

    Morton also squashes some of the rumors that were spread about Wallis at the height of abdication mania. Like many women in the public eye, she had a lot of pretty hurtful rumors spread about her. Some seemed to bother her more than others. I liked seeing what was true and untrue and why certain rumors seemed to shake the public's psyche, while others were put to rest rather quickly.

    Overall, this was a good look at Wallis and will interest my fellow royal watchers!

  • Judy Frey

    A fascinating book!! Bessie Wallis Warfield is a prudish, rather obsessive girl from Baltimore. As a child she was imaginative, ambitious and extremely spoiled. Most of her life was a search for status and social acceptance. Her father died when she was young, and she frequently clashed with her mother. Wallis was simply never satisfied with her lot. She dreamed of being a princess and admitted she happily allowed her mother to sacrifice her health in order to give Wallis the best. She lived sho

    A fascinating book!! Bessie Wallis Warfield is a prudish, rather obsessive girl from Baltimore. As a child she was imaginative, ambitious and extremely spoiled. Most of her life was a search for status and social acceptance. Her father died when she was young, and she frequently clashed with her mother. Wallis was simply never satisfied with her lot. She dreamed of being a princess and admitted she happily allowed her mother to sacrifice her health in order to give Wallis the best. She lived short of poverty due to the largesse of her Uncle Sol. All the while she complained about how little he did for her. Many wealthier friends, over the years, helped her by giving her clothes. Every relationship she had with s friend was used to further her status, increase her social acceptance, allow her to meet newer, wealthier men. She had no qualms over pursuing men who belonged to her friends. In time she married, and divorced, twice. She traveled to Washington, China, France, the United States, and London. She fought constantly to climb the social ladder and take her place in London society. Nearly all who knew her described her as hard, brittle, and enormously egocentric. But eventually she won the attention and affection of Edward VIII who became king and abdicated for her. English royalty did not ever accept her. She was never allowed to be called Her Royal Highness snd she became deeply embittered.

    While she always maintained she never slept with her first two husbands (who both found comfort elsewhere), she did have some passionate affairs. By all accounts, Edward was pathetically devoted to her for more than 25 years, while she could barely tolerate him. All in all, this is a fascinating story of two extremely egocentric, almost pathetic, people snd their place in history. Great reading

    Many famous names in history are here

  • Sandy

    I was under the mistaken impression that Wallis Simpson was a misunderstood woman who fell in love with the King of England. My eyes have been opened to the truth.

    Wallis was a young girl who felt she deserved the best of everything. Men were her stepping stones to get what she wanted. She was a very selfish person who didn't care who she hurt or who she used to get what she wanted. Her very calculated way of moving up the ladder hurt many people; men who loved her and women who were her friends.

    I was under the mistaken impression that Wallis Simpson was a misunderstood woman who fell in love with the King of England. My eyes have been opened to the truth.

    Wallis was a young girl who felt she deserved the best of everything. Men were her stepping stones to get what she wanted. She was a very selfish person who didn't care who she hurt or who she used to get what she wanted. Her very calculated way of moving up the ladder hurt many people; men who loved her and women who were her friends.

    King Edward VIII of England was a man who wanted her to dominate him and he gave up his throne for her. He complained to everyone that he didn't want to be King even before he met her, during his many affairs with married women who babied him. This book portrays him as a weak and pathetic man. He must have been to allow her to walk all over him. He died in the arms of a nurse with Wallis in the room next door. He hadn't even seen her in days. He couldn't give her the title of Queen and she couldn't give him the time of day.

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    This advance reader copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.

    Years ago when I still thought that Wallis Simpson and David Windsor were a match made in heaven and soulmates, it was such a romantic vision. It was very disheartening over time to learn that although the former king worshiped the ground Wallis walked on, the twice-divorced American Mrs. Simpson was just looking to become HRH queen at his side. Her whole existence revolved around elevating her social position. In th

    This advance reader copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.

    Years ago when I still thought that Wallis Simpson and David Windsor were a match made in heaven and soulmates, it was such a romantic vision. It was very disheartening over time to learn that although the former king worshiped the ground Wallis walked on, the twice-divorced American Mrs. Simpson was just looking to become HRH queen at his side. Her whole existence revolved around elevating her social position. In the process, she sacrificed true love. It's not the rags to riches or fairytale story with a beautiful ending.

    I already knew this, but chose this book to read solely on the basis of Andrew Morton authoring it. He's famous for writing the explosive tell-all "Diana: Her True Story" that set the English Monarchy on its head back in the nineties. The writing and research was more than adequate. However, my distaste for both the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was never more deep than after reading this particular biography. Wallis truly had no purpose in life other than the superficial: decorating, entertaining, socializing with the elite...and becoming the elite. The former king had no sense of duty to his country and was lacking in any depth. He abdicated his kingdom for a shallow gold digger who had no love and respect for him. All I can say is, England triumphed in the end when they both exiled to France.

    I have read a couple of other books on this subject that I found more satisfying that interested readers might want to partake of:

    : Although this book was published in 1995 and the Wallis Simpson crisis was just one part of the book, it was one of the most interesting parts of the book.

    : If you enjoy the way Phillipa Gregory presents her novels in first person narration format, you'll love this. Of course, the author takes much poetic license in presenting the facts as they could have happened, but it's easier and much more pleasurable to digest.

  • Grace

    Author Andrew Morton faced a herculean task - researching and crafting a biography of a wholly unlikable public figure who often sparks vitriol in the hearts and minds of people, even today. After slogging through this book, it's clear that Morton did little more than his due diligence in researching the Duchess of Windsor's (formerly Wallis Warfield, Winn, Simpson) whirlwind of a life. There wasn't much new information. And, in the process, he did a poor job of humanizing her, but maybe that wa

    Author Andrew Morton faced a herculean task - researching and crafting a biography of a wholly unlikable public figure who often sparks vitriol in the hearts and minds of people, even today. After slogging through this book, it's clear that Morton did little more than his due diligence in researching the Duchess of Windsor's (formerly Wallis Warfield, Winn, Simpson) whirlwind of a life. There wasn't much new information. And, in the process, he did a poor job of humanizing her, but maybe that wasn't his intention.

    I would have enjoyed this book more if Andrew Morton had dug a little deeper. Wallis' anxiety is glossed over in parts of the narrative. Why was she anxious? How did this impact her daily life? How did she overcome it or at least learn to live with it? What about her "poor childhood" gave her an inflated sense of self and her place in high society? What correlations are there between Wallis, thrice married, and her mother, Alice, also thrice married and off trailblazing her own path in life, society rules be damned? And what about the Duke and Duchess' connection with the Nazis? That would have been interesting reading! The book seemed to cover nothing more than what was necessary, seemingly opting to cash in on the interest in Wallis due to the popular Netflix show, The Crown, instead of digging in and uncovering new information.

    My biggest complaint; however, with this book is that it is poorly written. This book could have been so much more, so full of life, as was the subject if the author had shied away from his reliance on the passive voice. The narrative switches tenses; one minute we're in the past tense and then figures long dead are being spoken of in the present tense. The narrative is choppy, bouncing back and forth in time so much it became difficult to ground myself in where I was within the story. Who was the reigning monarch - George VI or Elizabeth II? Was it before World War II or after?

    Sentences are poorly constructed. I often found myself rewriting sentences in my head as I read. For a traditionally published book by a well-known publishing house, I was unimpressed.

  • Simon

    There is nothing in this book that has been "untold", since people have been writing about the Duchess of Windsor for decades. She was (and remains) a woman with a lot of enemies. Wallis was also someone who accomplished nothing at all, or at least nothing that has lasted. You don't get many admirers because you dressed well, set a fantastic table and kept attractive homes. She was important from January-December, 1936, when Edward VIII was King of England. Morton challenges even that, since he

    There is nothing in this book that has been "untold", since people have been writing about the Duchess of Windsor for decades. She was (and remains) a woman with a lot of enemies. Wallis was also someone who accomplished nothing at all, or at least nothing that has lasted. You don't get many admirers because you dressed well, set a fantastic table and kept attractive homes. She was important from January-December, 1936, when Edward VIII was King of England. Morton challenges even that, since he is unable to identify Wallis' fatal attraction. He seems to imply that after Thelma Furness divorced her husband, any married woman would have done as a substitute "wife" for the Prince of Wales. Mrs. Ernest Simpson just happened to be leading the pack at that particular moment. There may be something to that, but we will never know. That's about as deep as Morton's analysis gets in

    , which incidentally makes no sense as a title. If Morton is correct, Wallis never had the personality to love anyone save . . . Wallis. He tries to indicate that the one true love of her life was a friend named Herman Rogers. If so, she had a peculiar way of handling it. There is literally no evidence of anything other than a close friendship with Herman and his first wife, Morton trots out a "bombshell" that Rogers claimed years later that Wallis had suggested he impregnate her --- at 43 --- just before her wedding so that the Duke would think the baby was his. Because in 1937 a middle-aged woman believed that she would get pregnant the first time out of the gate, so to speak. Of course, Morton believes that neither the Spencer or the Simpson marriage had been consummated, although she had been carrying on like a house afire with Felipe Espil, an Argentinian diplomat she had known in Washington. Morton also introduces us to Courtney Letts, who later

    Espil, and whom he presents as a Wallis doppelganger. Or something. What she is doing as she scampers through the Morton book is never made clear.

    Nor did she change the monarchy. She changed the

    , which isn't the same thing. It may well be that future King William and Queen Catherine will change the institution, but it remains pretty much what it was when Edward left the throne. Hidebound and resistant to change.

    Nothing to see here, move along. Or don't if you have to read everything you can about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They are one of my historical guilty pleasures. But even for me, this was a pretty thin book.

  • Sarah

    Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for a free copy of Wallis in Love. This is a well-written, informative biography of someone who I find next-to-impossible to like. Kudos to the author for making this such an interesting read. Would definitely recommend to people who enjoy non-fiction and particularly biographies related to the royal family.

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