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The Duchess of Windsor: Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson [Hardcover]

Greg King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 July 1999
In 1936, King Edward VIII renounced the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American divorcee. From her birth in Pennsylvania to her lonely end in Paris, this book traces the life of the Duchess of Windsor.'

Product details

  • Hardcover: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (15 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854106260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854106261
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 5.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 986,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'One of the essential books in any halfway-complete collection of books on the Windsors' - Royalty Digest --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Greg King's biographies include The Last Empress, about Tsarina Alexandra of Russia, The Mad King, about King Ludwig of Bavaria, both previously published by Aurum. He lives in Everett, Washington state, USA. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The untold facts about the Duchess 11 Feb 2003
By A Customer
Having been fed with the royal family's version of the Duchess of Windsor for years this book was a welcome change...a more balanced and perhaps objective account of the much maligned Duchess. I doubt many people would know (or indeed bothered to find out) that there was more to this lady than just her much publicised "frivolous" lifestyle.The factual account of events would certainly torpedo any beliefs that Wallis Simpson was the sole cause of the 1936 abdication. However, in light of recent revelations about Wallis' affair with another gentleman (while still married to Ernest Simpson and being pursued by the then Prince of Wales) one could equally argue that this book had not made a concerted attempt to show the Duchess' flaws. Indeed while undoubtedly a refreshing and interesting insight into her life this book is in danger of putting her on the pedestal as the victim of the Royal family's (esp the Queen Mother's) vendetta without any attempt to balance it with the other side of the story. Overall impression: Great read, well researched biography but some omissions and a tendency to glorify the Duchess of Windsor a bit too much
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Windsor Wonderland," a fresh and positive view. 16 July 1999
By A Customer
If you want to take an enjoyable journey into the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's "Windsor Wonderland," then read Greg King's book. Maybe I'm and incurable romantic, or maybe I am more receptive to a positive focus on the Windsor love story, but I am impressed with Mr. King's descriptive ability and vindication of the much maligned Duchess of Windsor. In addition to inviting the reader into the larger than life existence of THE trend setting lovers of the 20th Century, Mr. King shows how down to earth the Duchess was during the war years while living in the Bahamas. Oh yes, there are vivid descriptions of the lavish surroundings the Duchess created for the former King of England, but she took her responsibilities seriously and guarded against making social mistakes. The result of her efforts actually set social standards. The jewel in the (never to be worn) crown has to be the successful, happy marriage to her husband of 35 years. Bravo Greg! WE have been waiting for a book like yours. The Windsors would be pleased.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I very much enjoyed this readable and fluid biography of the Duchess of Windsor. King moves smoothly through the episodes of her life without becoming embroiled in minutiae, thus providing an excellent overview. The extensive bibliography affords the reader the opportunity to further investigate any particular aspect.
Unsurprisingly, King, an American, is very sympathetic and a trifle over romantic in his portrayal of the Duchess. However, to his credit he states from the outset that this book is not designed to be the definitive work on the Duchess and he delivers on this promise.
As a result of interviews with both friends and foes of the Duke and Duchess the book contains many interesting quotes bringing many historical characters back to life. For dedicated Royal watchers these provide an insight into the characters of King George VI, the late Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and a host of other members of the Royal family, revealing the attitudes shown towards the Duchess. However paralells drawn between the Duchess and Diana, Princess of Wales come across as a gimmick to attract the myriad of the Princess's fans in the US and were somewhat irrelevant.
King also explores many of the rumours and theories put forward by other biographers such as Bloch and Higham. Without being over technical he presents an interesting and sound assessment of the legal and consitutional issues surrounding King George VI's refusal to grant the Duchess the style of Her Royal Highness.
A unique work in its attempt to show the Duchess in a sympathetic light, this book should be a welcome addition to any collection on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This thorough and fair balanced book clears away the myths and untruths that have circulated the western world since the abdication and subsequent marriage of Wallis Warfield to Edward the Eighth over sixty years ago.It lays bare the almost hysterical fear and hatred of Wallis by the most influential of royals and establishment diehards alike. Greg King details the Windsors' lives at break-neck speed and clarity,without compromising detail or the need to substantiate the many little known facts of this much maligned couple. The systematic and never relenting machinations of the duke's family to discredit them both are brought to the fore and interestingly King dedicates this excellent book to another royal....Diana,Princess of Wales; another royal who can't answer back.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The author begins this book by dedicating it to Pss.Diana, who had visited the Windsor Villa in Paris prior to her tragic death, and ends it by describing the 1997 Sotheby's auction of the contents of the same home. In between, the pages are filled with the facts of the ducal couple's years together, with the focus on Wallis. Her journey from impoverished Baltimore belle to her role and reaction to King Edward's abdication, their marriage and subsequent exile, make a riveting saga, both for those of us who have read many other books about the Windsors and for those who may be new to the "love story of the century."
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