Born in 1896 in Pennsylvania, Wallis moved to London in 1931 after marrying her second husband, maritime director Ernest Aldrich Simpson.
She befriended Lady Thelma Furness who was the then Prince of Wales’ mistress.
During the year 1931 the Simpsons were gradually absorbed into Edward’s social life, spending frequent weekends with him at Fort Belvedere, his 18th century home in the grounds of Windsor Great Park.
The turning point in the friendship came in January 1934, when Thelma embarked on a visit to the United States. According to Wallis, Thelma said with a laugh, “I’m afraid the prince will feel lonely. Wallis, won’t you take care of him?
Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson is pictured in 1927, four years before moving to London
As the couple grew closer, he wooed Wallis with gifts of jewelry as well as money to buy clothes and other luxury items.
At Edward’s insistence, Wallis, wearing a tiara borrowed from Cartier, was officially presented to his parents, King George V and Queen Mary. The meeting, in which few words were exchanged, was not a success.
Outraged at having to receive “this woman into my own house,” the king ordered that Mrs. Simpson not be invited to any of the Silver Jubilee functions scheduled for the following year, nor to the royal precinct of Ascot.
As word of the case spread, the Duchess of York – later Elizabeth, the Queen Mother – has openly stated that she will no longer meet Ms Simpson and that she will retreat whenever “This woman” would surrender in the same evening.
In 1936 Edward ascended to the throne after the death of his father George V. He made it clear that he intended to marry Wallis upon his second divorce.
It caused a national scandal and the Church of England ruled that he could not marry a divorced person with two former husbands alive.
Wallis went to live in exile in France to escape the pressure, and in December 1936 Edward abdicated so they could marry, assuming the lesser title of Duke of Windsor.
The king abdicated, concluding his brief reign with a program referring to “the woman I love”.
Simpson received offensive and hostile hate mail and was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer.
In 1937, she and Edward went to Germany to meet Hitler, before the atrocities of WWII, with her husband eager to make her experience the pomp and ceremony of a royal tour, denied to Wallis in England.
Edward became governor of the Bahamas between 1940 and 1945, and the couple spent the rest of their lives enjoying the lives of high society figures.
However, she never lost her affection for Ernest Simpson, her beloved second husband and her friends and confidants have since declared that she never wants a divorce.
Significantly, she continued to write to him and these intimate letters, which have only come to light in recent years, reveal that Wallis was beset with fears and regrets about the turn of his life.
Upon the Duke’s death in 1972, Wallis became something of a recluse and was rarely seen in public until his death in 1986, at the age of 89.