Saturday, 15 September 2012

Who? W.E.

The world juddered to a stop when the unprecedented news of the brand new heir to the British throne, King Edward VIII, broadcasted his abdication in order to run off with ‘the woman that he loved’.

The stupefied British public-and Royal Family, looked on as the dashing playboy monarch exchanged wedding vows within the safety of France with a twice-divorced American. The year was 1936.

I had the chance seeing her cross the lobby of our hotel as a child. My family and I were staying at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue where the couple occupied the penthouse. By then, the once most hated woman in England appeared as soignée as she did uninviting.

Leave it to the film’s producer, Madonna, to exalt one of the most notorious Shebugs of the last century by wrapping the true story in glossy cellophane and a heavy dash of Hollywood stardust. The film is aptly named W.E.: W for Wallis Simpson and E for Edward.

Baltimore-born--out of wedlock--Wallis Warfield skyrocketed from zero to zenith by age forty.  Trained in the brothels of Bangkok during her first marriage, the rumours of her actually being a man only added another coat of mystery to her persona; meanwhile, whispers of Edward’s peculiar carnal predilections also circulated in high society. The adulterous couple soon became the talk of the town.

Her second poached husband, Mr. Simpson, offered Wallis the golden opportunity to hobnob with friends in very high places. Their flat in Mayfair, overlooking Grosvenor Square, eventually offered up the biggest catch of the kingdom a Shebug could hope for: a prince.

Wallis cunningly erased all traces of her high-pitched voice and replaced it with a soft Southern drawl. Exotic sexual techniques aside, it was Wallis’ ability to make a man shine that bewitched the simpler minded royal. The whippet-thin woman excelled at conversation and kept impossibly high standards insofar as entertaining her guests. Her housekeeping habits make Martha Stewart’s pale in comparison!

The opening lines of this titled Shebug’s autobiography read, “Mine is a simple story. It is the story of an ordinary life that became extraordinary.”

The Duchess of Windsor did not make history; this Shebug made herstory!

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