The Duchess of Windsor by Charles Higham (1988)

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The Duchess of Windsor
The Secret Life
by Charles Higham
Publisher: McGaw-Hill Book Company
Copyright: 1988

She lived a life that captivated the world. She lived a love that forever changed a nation's destiny. She was Wallis Warfield Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, one of the most mysterious and fascinating women of the century.

Her story became the stuff of romantic legend. Millions have wondered how a plain, middle-class, divorced Baltimore woman was able to enchant and capture Prince Charming -- the golden-haired Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, who loved Wallis so much that he gave up his throne for her. What was the secret allure, so powerful that she almost became queen of England? Few have known the truth about the personal life of the Duchess of Windsor -- until now.

The first biography since her death in 1986, this is the book bestselling biographer Charles Higham was born to write. He has done prodigious research, studying hundreds of newly declassified documents now available to him under the Freedom of Information Act and tens of thousands of pages of other primary and secondary material, including the records from seized German archives and British Intelligence dossiers. This material has enabled the author to write an electrifying saga of a woman's intrigues, schemes, and ambitions, played out in a glittering world of the most fabulous wealth and luxury.

In The Duchess of Windsor, the author makes many sensational revelations, including the secret of Wallis's birth that precluded her from becoming queen; her harrowing years with her first husband, an alcoholic and bisexual aviator; her extraordinary experiences in the bordellos, luxury hotels, and gambling saloons of a China racked by civil war; the abrupt end of her only pregnancy; and her subsequent medical problems; her friendships with top Nazi and Fascist officials; the role it is possible that she played in the leaking of critical intelligence information to Nazi Germany; the couple's involvement, while exiled to the Bahamas during World War II, in the cover-up of a famous murder case, solved here for the first time; the reasons for the Queen Mother's much-publicized vendetta against the duchess; and the duchess's shocking romantic life, both premarital and extramarital. The author tells the story of Wallis's conquest of the duke with more illuminating detail than in any other book on the Windsors.

After World War II, the pair emerged as the dazzling monarchs of international society. The duchess amassed an unprecedented $50 million collection of jewels and a coterie of glamorous, sometimes decadent friends. She was admired as a paragon of style and elegance. But even so, the duchess had to summon all her courage to deal with the constant censure of the royal family and her widowhood after the death of the duke.

The world was riveted when the duchess's jewels were auctioned recently at Sotheby's in Geneva to such celebrities as Elizabeth Taylor and Calvin Klein. Here is a jewel that everyone can afford: The Duchess of Windsor is sure to be an international sensation.

Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover shows shelf wear and faint discoloration. Pages may be tanning from age. Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.


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    • ISBN 0070288011
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