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Simpson, Mrs Wallis

Simpson, Mrs Wallis (1896–1986). Wife of Edward, duke of Windsor. Born into a Baltimore family, Bessie Wallis Warfield first married an aviator, Earl Winfield Spencer, but his fondness for drink led to separation and ultimately divorce. Mrs Spencer travelled the world, but on returning to Baltimore she met an English businessman, Ernest Simpson, also in the throes of divorce. In 1928 Mrs Spencer became the second Mrs Simpson, and moved with her husband to London. Two years later an American friend, Thelma, Lady Furness, introduced her to Edward, the prince of Wales. In 1934 Mrs Simpson and Prince Edward became lovers. Mrs Simpson lacked beauty, but oozed wit and charm; Edward, infatuated, found in her the feminine sympathy and understanding he craved. In 1936 she divorced Mr Simpson, and Edward gave up his throne in order to marry her. The couple enjoyed a devoted but childless marriage of some 35 years; she is buried next to him at Frogmore.

Geoffrey Alderman

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