- NAME: Wallis Simpson
- OCCUPATION: Duchess
- BIRTH DATE: June 19, 1896
- DEATH DATE: April 24, 1986
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France
- AKA: Wallis Warfield Simpson
- Maiden Name: Bessie Wallis Warfield
- AKA: Wallis Simpson
- AKA: Wallis, Duchess of Windsor
- AKA: Wallis Spencer
- AKA: Duchess of Windsor
- AKA: Bessiewallis
- AKA: Bessie Wallis
Best Known For
American socialite Wallis Simpson became the mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales. Edward abdicated the throne to marry her, a period known as the Abdication Crisis.
Edward VIII - Wallis Simpson (1:02)
Watch a short video about Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson to learn why the man who was next in line for the throne threw away the crown.
To many, Prince Edward VIII was under the thumb of Wallis Simpson and gave orders to many people in Prince Edward's life.
Edward VIII's affair with Wallis Simpson was the cause of much scandal in England and would later be known as the Abdication Crisis when the Prince renounced the throne to marry Wallis.
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On December 11, 1936, Edward made a BBC broadcast, saying he could not do his job as king without the support of "the woman I love." In May of the following year, Wallis's divorce was made final, and on June 3, 1937, she became the Duchess of Windsor.
Wallis and Edward referred to themselves as "W.E."—their initials, but also a dig at the royal "we," which refers to a person in high office using a plural pronoun rather than a singular one to refer to him- or herself. Subversive and playful, their nickname reflects their relationship. Wallis had charisma and sex appeal. She was famous for her wit and her style. Though seemingly unimportant, Wallis played a cataclysmic role in the future of the British monarchy.
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In 1936, King Edward VIII unexpectedly abdicated the throne to marry the love of his life, American divorcée Wallis Simpson, proclaiming, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love." Edward's behavior prior to his decision to abdicate—including courting Wallis while she was still married to her second husband—garnered outrage from the British Royal Family, most notably from Queen Mary of Teck and King George V, and led to the "abdication crisis" in Britain. In 1937, the happy couple married and embarked on a jet-setting life in Paris, meanwhile referring to themselves as "W.E."—their initials, but also a dig at the royal "we," or the majestic plural. Subversive and playful, their nickname continues to serve as a testament to their lasting adoration for one another.
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