Dancing with the Devil: The Windsors and Jimmy Donahue by Christopher WilsonThe story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is one of the most romantic of all time: Edward VIII abdicated his throne and gave up an empire so that he could marry the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Very few people suspected, and even fewer actually knew, that the Duchess cuckolded him—and almost gave him up—for a gay playboy twenty years her junior.
Blond and slender, Jimmy Donahue was the archetypal post-war playboy. He could fly a plane, speak several languages, play the piano, and tell marvelous jokes. People loved him for his wit, charm and personality. The grandson of millionaire Frank W. Woolworth, Jimmy knew he would never need to work. Instead, he set about carving for himself a career of mischief. Some said evil.
Gay at a time when the homosexual act was still illegal, Jimmy was notorious within America’s upper class, and loved to shock. Though press agents arranged for him to be seen with female escorts, his pursuits, until he met the Duchess of Windsor, were exclusively homosexual. He was thirty-five when he was befriended by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in 1950. The Duchess was fifty-four, and despite the difference in age, there was an instant attraction. A burgeoning sexual relationship – a perverse sort of love – was formed between Jimmy and the Duchess. Together with the Duke, they became an inseparable trio, the closest of friends. As Jimmy had planned, the royal couple became obsessed with him.
With information from surviving contemporaries, Dancing with the Devil is the extraordinary tale of three remarkable people and their unique and twisted relationship.
LIFE STORY: Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor
Wallis grew up in Baltimore , Maryland. Her father died shortly after her birth and she and her widowed mother were partly supported by their wealthier relatives. Her first marriage, to U. Five years later, after Edward's accession as King of the United Kingdom , Wallis divorced her second husband to marry Edward. The King's desire to marry a woman who had two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, and ultimately led to his abdication in December to marry "the woman I love". Wallis married Edward six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, but was not allowed to share her husband's style of " Royal Highness ".
In the decades since the abdication of Britain's Edward VIII - formerly Prince of Wales, subsequently Duke of Windsor, and additionally, as The Crown has so vividly reminded us, Bad Uncle David the Nazi - the general view of the unhappy couple has not altered: divorcee Wallis Simpson was entirely unsuitable, he was a weak fool, and their life together was a gilded hell. Their relationship has been exhaustively described. Frances Donaldson, for example, argued that her attraction for him was that she enabled him to give up the monarchy, which he had never wanted, while his for her was precisely that he was king. So they were doomed from the start. Philip Ziegler wrote that she treated him "at the best like a child who needed keeping in order, at the worst with contempt. But he invited it and begged for more". To assume that there is little more to add is to underestimate the industry of Andrew Morton.
Scotty Bowers, a former Marine, claims to have run a gay and bisexual prostitution ring for some of Hollywood's biggest names in the s and beyond. Bowers, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, was interviewed by the New York Times ahead of the release of the book, which was written by Lionel Friedberg. Bowers, who claims to have plied his trade for nearly three decades said he has turned down many offers to tell his story over the years. Why Wallis Simpson hated Marilyn Monroe. Our obsession with Wallis Simpson. Wallis Simpson actresses. Wallis Simpson's secret letters.
The story of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, the man who was known, for the latter part of his life, as Edward, Duke of Windsor, is one of those tales that, even though it took place in the public eye, sifts down through generations not always accurately. We remember it because it seems like a great love story: Edward gave up the throne of England for the love of a woman that the monarchy would not make a queen. And we remember in part because it reinforces American values; in a country whose founders deliberately rejected the entrenched formality of the monarchy, the belief in social mobility is sacred, as is the belief in second starts.
But the ice blue couture gown by Mainbocher would do nicely, Wallis Simpson decided. It was supremely elegant, high-necked with long fitted sleeves, and bias-cut from clingy silk crepe so that it showed every angle of her impeccably slim body. That had a nice ring to it. She ought to make it a catchphrase. And it did look pretty. Wallis had arranged for society florist Constance Spry to deck the place out. And yet society photographer Cecil Beaton was the only person of note who would see the display.
Barely months previously, another letter to Ernest, at the time she fled from England, terrified by the rising tide of public hatred, read: "None of this mess It is the new Peter Pan plan. I miss you and worry about you Oh dear, wasn't life lovely, sweet and simple? The writing -- and the private name, 'Peter Pan', that she and Ernest always used about Edward -- was a disloyal act, but one she was to continue throughout the years of exile, rattling around Europe and America with the increasingly bewildered and aimless Duke. This was to be her own personal purgatory, penance for grasping at something -- someone -- she never really wanted, beguiled by what he stood for and possessed, not who he was. Wallis was venal, greedy and deluded, but she paid a high price for her follies, a living embodiment of the old proverb, 'Be careful what you wish for'.