Of all the scandalous women in history, Wallis Simpson is probably one of the most vilified, the most fascinating, and the most misunderstood. Since she first made a splash on the international stage in the 1930s, interest in her has only grown, thanks in no small part to the success of films and television shows in recent years like The King's Speech and Netflix's The Crown. People have imagined Simpson as everything from a victim to a romantic heroine and fashion icon, and she has even been accused of being a seductress and a Nazi spy.
This American socialite became notorious for her affair with Prince Edward. Edward was not just any old prince: he was the eldest son and heir of his father, King George V, and was thus next in line to the throne of the United Kingdom. His obsession with Simpson did not lessen when he become King Edward VIII in 1936 - he was so besotted with her that he actually went through the trouble of abdicating the throne so that he could marry her. Known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor after Edward's abdication, the couple captured the public's imagination. The public saw their love affair as a storybook fantasy, and the couple became the poster children of romance winning out over duty and defying the contempt of the government.
There is no consensus about Wallis Simpson's motivations or even some details about her private life. But there are enough tantalizing, fascinating facts about this woman to keep historians intrigued.