Tuesday 1 July 2014

Anna Sebba

That Woman or Duchess of Style – Time to reassess Wallis Simpson

The lecture is based on more than three years research into why this Baltimore woman, born in 1896 into relative obscurity, was so demonised by the British establishment and the wider commonwealth, accused of being a spy, prostitute or Nazi sympathiser, yet how, after she married the ex- king and became the Duchess of Windsor, she turned her exile and hatred into a platform from which to launch herself as one of the world’s best dressed women who entertained in the most elegant homes fit for a king – or an ex- king.

Was she simply a clotheshorse for dress designers and jewellery makers or di she have a heart that has never been fairly understood?  I will include many pictures in this lecture of Wallis and the clothes and jewellery she had made especially for her as well as the homes she lived in. But I will also tell the story of how, in the context of the 1930’s, this woman with three husbands was unacceptable as Queen of England and the Empire. I will explore who this woman was and what was the power she had over King Edward VIII. Seventy eight years since the abdication, in 1936, now is the time to reassess That Woman.