Despite millions being slaughtered in the conflict, in 1940 Mrs Simpson had ‘other pressing concerns’ in the form of her missing swimming costume. She requested the American Minister in Lisbon and the American consul in Nice to find her Nile green outfit in the South of France.
The diplomats opened up the shuttered rental property even though that part of the coast was occupied by the Nazis at the time.
Andrew Morton, a biographer who also wrote of Princess Diana, writes in his new account of Edward that the task became known privately as ‘Operation Cleopatra Whim’.
Edward, or the Duke of Windsor as he became known after the abdication, thought his brother, the King, was ‘utterly stupid, that the Queen was an ‘intriguer’ and that Churchill was a ‘war monger’.
He believed the continued heavy bombing of British cities would bring the country to the negotiating table with Germany. As to Hitler himself, the duke thought he was ‘a very great man’ and that it would be ‘a tragic thing for the world’ if the Fuhrer were overthrown.
The royal biographer goes on to claim that after Edward abdicated in December 1936 he and his wife ‘acted as if World War II was simply a minor inconvenience to their lifestyle’ and that their ‘self-indulgence knew no bounds’. Because she considered her swimming costume vital, she enlisted the American diplomats to ‘repatriate the garment’.
He says in his book: ‘Even though their rented villa was locked and shuttered and that part of the coast occupied by the enemy, the diplomats duly did her bidding.
‘In the midst of war the swimsuit was found and dispatched safely to the grateful duchess.’
Morton also writes that Edward and Mrs Simpson were in regular contact with high level Nazi commanders to beg them to protect their homes in Paris and the South of France.
In extracts already made public, Morton writes that Mrs Simpson was viewed with deep suspicion by palace courtiers and that she had been described as a ‘witch, a vampire and a high-class blackmailer’. Just weeks after her husband took the throne in January 1936 some even thought that she could be a spy. Source: Daily Mail.
I guess there are always two sides to a story, and two ways of looking at a person's personality and motives. But be very aware that every action lives on in history.
I saw a documentary about her life where Wallis Simpson was shown as a woman trapped by her own flirtations into marrying the dependent Duke of Windsor. Give her her due—she remained a supportive wife until his death. Maybe the article of swimwear was the only thing she looked good in and she needed it to maintain her image. In that case, she shouldn't have left such an important item behind.
The most important article of clothing I need is footwear. No—not beautiful high-heeled glamour items.
Without supportive shoes, I couldn't walk outside on the rough, cold streets.
Put yourself in a fantasy world and consider this: What article of clothing means most to you?