The life of the Duke of Windsor, once Edward VIII of England, and his ""romance of the century"" with the American divorcÉe...

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KING OF FOOLS

The life of the Duke of Windsor, once Edward VIII of England, and his ""romance of the century"" with the American divorcÉe Wallis Warfield Simpson becomes the backdrop for airing a hamper-full of dirty royal linen--and not all of it the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's. Parker follows much the same path and is just as waspish as Charles Higham in his recent The Duchess of Windsor (p. 875) in revealing the Duke's lifelong irresponsibility and walleyedness about his misdemeanors; his and the Duchess' ties with Hitler during the Thirties and throughout WW II (Hitler had a plan for reinstalling the friendly Duke once more as King of England); the Duchess' sexual training in a Shanghai brothel; and her liaison with Count Ciano, who was later to be Mussolini's son-in-law. Other morsels in the steamy stew include the early bisexual love life of Lord Mountbatten's wife Edwina (she later reformed) and the worming of homosexual playwright Noel Coward into the royal sex lives, which he would later boast about. Did the Duke father an illegitimate child with the sister of his longtime mistress, Freda Dudley Ward, before he met Wallis Simpson? It would seem he did. We also get the demeaning of the Duke by the Duchess and his hound-dog adoration of her despite her slurs, and her pushing him to pursue for her the royal-family honorific ""Her Royal Highness"" that Queen Mary had denied the Duchess. When the Duke became Governor of the Bahamas, he found himself covering up for his crooked friend Harold Christie, who was an unwilling accessory to the infamous Harry Oakes murder engineered by gambling kingpin Meyer Lansky. Ill and demented, the Duchess survived the Duke by over a decade. A swifter, less dense read than Higham but with as big a hook.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1988