JAN MOIR: Edward VIII was a typical Windsor male10/26/2023
JAN MOIR: Edward VIII was a typical Windsor male: whiny and petulant… Remind you of anyone?
A lost memoir of Edward VIII has come to light and for the first time we hear the authentic inner voice of the man who had briefly been King.
And what does that voice sound like? Whiny, romantic, wild, egotistic, a top note of royal petulance underpinned with a faint grasp of reality? Exactly. A typical Windsor male, in other words.
‘I was a bachelor, alone and tired,’ he moaned. It sounds like the opening line of a Johnny Cash song, but he was describing how he felt before he met Wallis Simpson. ‘To live without love would have been intolerable,’ he said, after he had fallen for her.
To his adviser, Walter Monckton, he set out his plans following the death of his father, King George V, in 1936. They are shocking to this day, because naive Edward really did think he could become King and have the twice-divorced, plucked and powdered Wallis by his side as Queen.
‘I refuse to become a prisoner of the past. I must have a private life of my own,’ he wailed.
Naive Edward really did think he could become King and have the twice-divorced, plucked and powdered Wallis by his side as Queen
Not so fast, your majesty. Private Secretary, Sir Clive Wigram, quickly informed him of the sobering truth of his situation in 1930s Britain. He said: ‘Sir, you are quite mistaken. The King has no private life whatever.’
On hearing this, Edward threw all his toys out of his Silver Cross pram and abdicated instead.
All this is revealed in Once A King by Jane Marguerite Tippett, which throws a fresh perspective on how and why Edward chose to abdicate rather than live without the only woman he ever loved.
And reading the truth about Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, I’m afraid I am not filled with syrupy admiration for his romantic sacrifice and subsequent elopement, but more struck by his selfishness and utter dereliction of duty. Edward kicked everyone in his family to the kerb, so that he and Wallis could live an aimless and empty life in exile, coddled by luxury but not much else.
Ditto Prince Harry with another American divorcee, nearly a century later. Meanwhile, King Charles and Queen Camilla? Let’s not rake over those still-smouldering coals.
Yet while the Windsor men indulge themselves with their own wants and needs, it is noticeable that the Windsor women have always put duty first. Queen Elizabeth II, of course, rock solid on the throne for 70 years, no further explanation needed there.
Princess Margaret was no saint, but when she had to give up the love of her life because he was divorced, she accepted her fate so as not to upset the monarchy.
Princess Anne is not going to come over all rom-com any time soon, but whatever the right thing is to do, she has always done it.
Down the years his love story has echoes in the tortured relationship of others in the ongoing drama of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
You can’t always say the same for her brothers, uncles and occasionally wayward nephews.
Indeed, when you think about it, you have to wonder how the Windsor dynasty has managed to stagger on for so long. Certainly it is in spite of these selfish men rather than because of them.
It was Edward VIII who sowed the petulant seed that grew the giant hogweed of entitlement, and down the years his love story has echoes in the tortured relationship of others; in the long-running affair that preceded the marriage of King Charles and Queen Camilla; in the ongoing drama of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
History repeats itself over and over, right down to Edward VIII moaning about the Press while blaming everyone else for his own feebleness and limitations.
He was blinded and entranced by a woman in kick pleats from the New World who he believed could rescue him from the misery of privilege and the burden of destiny. Sound familiar?
Princess Margaret was no saint, but when she had to give up the love of her life because he was divorced, she accepted her fate so as not to upset the monarchy
In one chapter, he even rates Wallis Simpson’s defining characteristics, writing down that she was ‘demanding, strict, inflexible, exacting, chic, must-have-the-best and is easily hurt’.
Ring any bells in Montecito? Any glimmer of recognition or acknowledgement of shared experience from his Mini-Me great-great nephew? Thought not.
But, really, how have the Windsors got this far? To be a successful dynasty there must be strong leadership and a constant supply of family members who are committed to the cause; team players who vow to ensure clan survival above personal needs.
The Habsburgs, Mughal Empire, Hindujas — tick, tick, tick. The Cadogans and the Grosvenors, all the Lords of Bath; look upon them and wonder.
They have all managed to hang on to their fortunes, their vast estates and their power down the centuries with barely a blip; woe betide anyone who comes between a Cadogan and a month’s rent, or a Grosvenor and an inch of their 300 acres of prime Belgravia and Mayfair, a family asset since the 17th century.
In one chapter, he even rates Wallis Simpson’s defining characteristics, writing down that she was ‘demanding, strict, inflexible, exacting, chic, must-have-the-best and is easily hurt’
Clogs to clogs in three generations, as the saying goes. The miracle is the Windsors have survived at all, for it always seems that the achievements of strong Windsor women will for ever be frittered away by weak Windsor men.
The rot started with Edward, but where will it end?
Chic Jen makes our news gals look frumpy
Many of us are still devoted to The Morning Show (Apple+) despite that disastrous second series that we don’t talk about — and a cringe-worthy new cameo from Jon Hamm, blundering about as Elon Musk-alike mogul Paul Marks.
GLAM GODDESS: Jennifer Aniston stuns in silver as she attends a premiere in Los Angeles
So far he’s had a sex scene with anchor Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and flown into outer space, all without shaving his hideous Fred Flintstone stubble. Still, I am soothed as always by Alex’s dreamy, monochrome luxe work wear; Saint Laurent trouser suits, Celine jackets and even a Khaite jumpsuit. This week the ultra-groomed goddess wore a beige front pocket knit midi-dress by Jil Sander, a masterpiece in minimalism for around £1,500.
I have to be honest. Our home-grown newsreader gals look like frumps in comparison.
Preachy play is a must-miss
Another oh-aren’t-men-awful play opens in the West End, only to meet with oh-what-awful-rubbish reviews. There were high hopes for Lyonesse, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, but not even their combined star power seems enough to save the production. ‘Demonising of the entire male sex gives it the whiff of a lecture,’ read one review. ‘A curiously laboured and lacklustre affair,’ wrote our very own Patrick Marmion.
Written by Penelope Skinner, Lyonesse tells the tale of an ageing star (Kristin) who wants a media executive (Lily) to tell the world how she escaped an abusive partner — but can her truth survive the process?
Frankly, who cares? Haven’t we had enough morality sermons about #MeToo and coercive control, especially when set in a world where all the men are either irredeemably wicked or dead — or both?
‘My vagina is broken,’ says Lily at one point, in a performance that reviewers have noted is ‘irritatingly whiny’ from someone who is ‘not a natural stage actress’. Do you think it sounds like a must-miss? Me, too.
Dame Mary Berry says we should all relax this Christmas. We should do ourselves a favour and buy ready-rolled puff pastry and use other culinary shortcuts such as panko breadcrumbs and shop-bought jars of mincemeat to ease the pain. Mary, I’ve got news for you. We’ve all been doing that for years. In other reheated advice, the dame of festive delights suggests roasting your potatoes the day before and warming them up in the oven on Christmas Day. Sometimes, you know, she goes too far.
Dame Mary Berry says we should do ourselves a favour and buy ready-rolled puff pastry and use other culinary shortcuts this Christmas
In other dame news, Dame Maggie Smith is the unlikely star of the new Loewe campaign, photographed wrapped up in some sort of shaggy yeti coat and clutching their darling Puzzle handbag.
So chic! So covetable! It’s the only advert I’ve even seen that actually makes me want to go out and buy the damn bag, but that was before I discovered the price — £2,400.
Who are all these fabulously rich women who can afford all these fabulously expensive things? That’s what puzzles me.
One minority police seem loath to protect
You could be the most pro-Palestinian supporter in the world. You could convince yourself to loathe Israel and everything it stands for. But even if this were your position, it still takes a special kind of person to find satisfaction in the slaughter and abuse of innocent families, the elderly, women and children.
Those affluent, carefree, smug young people in London and elsewhere who have been ripping down the posters of kidnapped Jewish children not only make my heart sore, they make me fear for the future of humanity. You can argue about whether or not the Israeli response to the Hamas attacks is justified, you can take a side if you must — but why tear down pictures of women and children who have been abducted by Hamas terrorists? And even smirk as you take a delight in doing so?
There is abundant footage of these easily recognisable people on social media websites. Have any of them been arrested yet?
And now this weekend in London there is to be another ‘March for Palestine’
There are barely 300,000 Jewish people in the UK, compared to four million Muslims
If it is a hate crime to misgender a transwoman or racially abuse a Muslim, surely this must count as a transgression, too? Not just because their pleasure in this mindless, petty desecration is awful to behold.
And now this weekend in London there is to be another ‘March for Palestine’.
Fair enough that people want to express their support, but it is just not acceptable to do so in hostile ways.
There are barely 300,000 Jewish people in the UK, compared to four million Muslims.
Yet this is one minority the police seem loath to protect.
After the fall-out from Cakegate, Catherine Tyldesley has put her luxury house on the market — removal firms beware!
The former Coronation Street actress might try to tempt you with mentions on her social media in exchange for free transport to her new abode, you know what she’s like.
Her four-bed house is on a quiet tree-lined cul-de-sac in the Greater Manchester area. It has a 36 ft open-plan kitchen, every modern luxury and is on the market for £875,000.
That could buy Catherine a lot of cupcakes, if she were inclined to pay for them in the first place.
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