Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006

Wallis Warfield Simpson: 1936

When American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson captured the heart of Edward, the Prince of Wales, the romance plunged Britain into a constitutional crisis and made Mrs. Simpson "the most-talked-about, written-about, headlined and interest-compelling person in the world," according to the TIME article naming her Woman of the Year for 1936.

Declaring it impossible to carry out his duties "without the help and support of the woman I love," Edward became the only monarch in the history of Great Britain to voluntarily abdicate the throne. TIME said "the news that the King, as King, wanted to marry Mrs. Simpson was the final culmination of a tide of events sweeping the United Kingdom out of its cozy past and into a more or less hectic and 'American' future." The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as they were henceforth known, lived for several years in the Bahamas, and spent their remaining decades in Paris.

Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center