Noblesse Oblige: The Duchess of Windsor as I Knew Her (2010)
Imagine being a twice divorced, middle-aged woman of average looks, shunned by relatives only to discover the most eligible bachelor in the world cannot live without you. Now imagine being that handsome, charming bachelor who was taught nothing but tradition and duty in order to become a perfect King-Emperor and rule over one third of the world.
But both of these extraordinary beings had the same secret dream: To breakaway from their apparent destiny with a soul mate regardless of the cost and public outrage.
So it was that, in 1936, Britain’s King Edward Vlll abdicated his throne to marry Wallis Simpson – “the woman I love” – against the violent objection of the Royal Family, the Cabinet and the Church of England.
For the following thirty-six years the iconic couple became King and Queen of international high society as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This new, private account of their lives refutes history’s traditional, often scurrilous portrayal of the mysterious duo and reveals here-to-fore unknown details of their lives, illnesses and very different deaths.
Noblesse Oblige is Silvin’s personal description of the Duchess’ last valiant battle to protect her young protégée while he was running a famous hospital in Paris, France. The detailed memoir sits atop an easily absorbed history of both protagonists as the author rejects historians’ claim that the Duchess was a ruthless, conniving and superficial woman. Instead he validates Time Magazine’s decision to honor her as the first Woman of the Year, who, it has been said, “out-Hollywooded Hollywood” while making Greek tragedy seem trivial.
FAU Jupiter Blog Rene on the Wikipedia page for Wallis Simpson Palm Beach Daily News: Revisiting the final days of Duke, Duchess of Windsor
Mark Sunderland on Design
Atl & Co Interview with René Silvin