The royal and celebrity biographer rehashes the tale of Wallis Simpson (1896-1986) and King Edward VIII (1894-1972), offering just a few new tidbits.
A young woman sets her cap for a man who can give her everything she wants. When he gives up the very thing she wants, she’s stuck with him. Morton (17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History, 2015, etc.) does his best to spice up the familiar story, accepting Wallis’ suggestion that her first two marriages were never consummated. She had a well-known difficulty sticking to the truth. If that were the case, in the days when divorce was not accepted, both marriages would have been eligible for annulment. In his thorough yet frothy narrative, Morton digs into the diaries, letters, and news accounts of friends whose words easily refute Wallis’ self-portrait. His best sources are Katherine and Herman Rogers, friends of the king; Wallis depended on them to back her up, to hide her, and to help lick her mostly self-inflicted wounds. Truer friends could not be found, and she used them as she used everyone she knew. Wallis was seemingly the world’s biggest tease, jealous, possessive, needy, and vindictive; she had a sharp tongue, wild temper, and cruel streak that dominated every man she met. The author effectively shows the king’s true colors. He was a man who never wanted to reign, a playboy puppy who trailed after Wallis begging for affection. The best part of the book deals with the aftermath of the abdication. Wallis never got her grand wedding, and Edward was cut off from pretty much everything and everyone British. One can easily project what sort of life they lived and the pathetic ends they met.
Interesting tittle-tattle for royal watchers.