Her birth name was Bessie Wallis Warfield, but she became known and scandalously famous, as the Duchess of Windsor, when she married the abdicated King of the United Kingdom, Edward VIII, in 1937.
Born out of wedlock in 1896 in the USA, a high-spirited and wilful girl, she was married twice before the scandal which culminated in marriage to Edward when she was 41.
She had already had an exciting life, involving working for the USA in China (possibly as a spy) and travelling much of the world, until in the early 1930s she arrived in England and managed to capture the heart of the heir to the English throne.
There was a massive effort to stop the alliance.
She was unacceptable as Queen and was under immense pressure, as was Edward, but in the end he abdicated precisely because he would not give her up.
Her power over him, whether inadvertent or not, was immovable.
The Duke and Duchess became immensely positive supporters of Adolf Hitler and his plans, but it is doubtful if they really knew what those plans ultimately were.
Nevertheless, they were instrumental in his hideous campaign to rule Europe.
They were frequently photographed with him or his allies, smiling and giving the Nazi salute.
But despite his continuous efforts, the Duke was denied a role in England’s war campaign — although he later served a stint as Governor of the Bahamas.
Scandal, or the threat of it, followed them everywhere they went.
They moved around continuously, accumulating vast amounts of jewellery and other fine things.
But forgiveness by the Royal Family did not come until the Duke’s death in 1972. Wallis died in 1986.
We get a picture of two infamous, peripatetic people who desperately never achieved their dream.
It makes an interesting read.
— Lee Stephenson