Wallis Simpson and the Abdication

I went to a small literary festival yesterday and heard Juliet Nicholson talking about her book on 1936, the ‘year of three kings.’ In it she produced a letter from Wallis Simpson to the king ending their affair and saying she is going back to her husband Earnest Simpson. It appears that the king spoke to her on receipt of the letter and threatened suicide if she left him – a threat to which she succumbed. I had never heard this version of events before.

Wallis Simpson is normally described as a cold seductress who manipulated the king into marrying her at the cost of his throne. This letter, which feels and sounds genuine, shows her in very different light - a much more attractive and unhappy person, desperate to avoid the fate that she could see ahead.

I, and everyone there who heard this, said they now saw the Abdication very differently.


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