The Duchess of Windsor and the Kents (Part one)

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Heritage Image Partnership Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Besides her future husband, it was probably Prince George, Duke of Kent and later also his wife Princess Marina, who had the most contact with Wallis, as members of the royal family.

Prince George was King George V’s fourth son, and he first met Wallis in 1931 at the same time his brother did – on 10 January 1931. Like the Prince of Wales, Wallis got to know George as well, as he was part of the same social circles as his brother. Both Wallis and Ernest were invited to George’s wedding to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Prince George lived at Fort Belvedere as he prepared for his wedding, and so Wallis saw quite a lot of him during this time and even went to the theatre with him. Wallis sarcastically wrote to her aunt, “I do well with the Windsor lads.”1

Two days before the wedding, a reception took place at Buckingham Palace, to which Wallis and Ernest were also invited. King George and Queen Mary were by now well aware of their son’s interest in Wallis, and it was reportedly on this occasion that they ordered her name to be crossed off the guest list. The Prince of Wales reportedly told his parents that “if he were not allowed to invite these friends of his, he would not go to the ball. He pointed out that the Simpsons were remarkably nice Americans, that it was important England and America be on cordial terms, and that he himself had been most kindly entertained in the States. His parents gave way, and the Simpsons duly came to the ball.”2

For the ball, Ernest wore black knee-breeches, and Wallis wore a violet lamé dress with a green sash and also borrowed a tiara from Cartier for the occasion. Wallis wrote, “We took our places in the line of guests that by custom forms on either side of the reception rooms on the approach of the Sovereign and his Consort. As they proceeded with great dignity down the room, members of the Royal party followed in their wake, stopping now and then to speak with friends. The Prince of Wales brought Prince Paul, Regent of Yugoslavia and also brother-in-law of the bride, over to talk with us. ‘Mrs Simpson,’ said Prince Paul, ‘there is no question about it – you are wearing the most striking gown in the room.’ [..] The reception was rendered truly memorable for me the reason that it was the only time I ever met David’s father and mother.3 After Prince Paul had left us, David led me over to where they were standing and introduced me. It was the briefest of encounters – a few words of perfunctory greeting, an exchange of meaningless pleasantries, and we moved away. But I was impressed by Their Majesties great gift for making everyone they met, however casually, feel at ease in their presence.”4

Two days later, the royal wedding took place at Westminster Abbey, and Wallis thought the ceremony had been very solemn and moving. They had been seated on a side aisle from which they had a clear view of the altar. Wallis later wrote, “It seemed unbelievable that I, Wallis Warfield of Baltimore, Maryland, could be part of this enchanted world. It seemed so incredible that it produced in me a dreamy state of happy and unheeding acceptance.”5

Wallis came to frequently see George and Marina, as opposed to other members of the Prince of Wales’s family. Even after Edward became King, he and Wallis often visited the Kents in London and at their country house, Coppins. Nevertheless, it was said that Marina remained reluctant to meet Wallis.6 On 10 December 1936, the Duke of Kent was present when his brother signed the abdication papers, and he also signed as a witness. Edward was to travel to Austria, where he would spend the final months waiting out Wallis’s divorce decree. The first member of his family to visit him in his exile was his sister Mary, Princess Royal, and her husband. They visited in early February, and the Duke of Kent followed three weeks later.

Read part two here.


Our book The Duchess of Windsor – A Collection of Articles is available now in the US and the UK.

  1. Wallis and Edward edited by Michael Bloch p.123
  2. The Duchess of Windsor by Greg King p.115
  3. She was also presented to them in 1931
  4. Wallis and Edward edited by Michael Bloch p.124
  5. The Duchess of Windsor by Greg King p.115
  6. King Edward VIII by Philip Ziegler p.234

About Moniek Bloks 2741 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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