Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reel People: Andrea Riseborough is Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor, Duchess of Windsor

The film is W.E. directed by Modonna with a script written by Modonna and Alek Keshishian.

Wallis (Or Wallis Warfield, Wallis Spenser, Wallis Simpson or the Duchess of Windsor)

Bessie Wallis Warfield was born June 19, 1896 in Pennsylvania. Her father, Teackle Wallis Warfield, died of tuberculosis in November of 1896. Her mother was aided by the charity of her family until she re-married John Freeman Rasin.

Wallis would attend Oldfields School, a prestigious girl's school in Maryland, paid for by her uncle. There should would rub shoulders with the socialites in her community.

Wallis married Earl Winfield Spencer, Jr in 1916. Wallis met the US Navy pilot while visiting her cousin in Pensacola, Florida. They moved to San Diego when WWI started in 1917. Through the war and under different circumstances they separated, and at times lived in different places. Wallis also had the opportunity to see the world. In her travels and separations there were various affairs, including the believed affair with Count Geleazzo Ciano, the future son-in-law and foreign officer of Benito Mussolini. With Ciano, Wallis became pregnancy, had a botches abortion, and was never able to conceive again.

Wallis and Winfeld Spencer would divorce in 1927 after living apart for a few years.

Half a year after the divorce, Wallis married Ernest Aldrich Simpson, a man she had become involved with prior to her divorce with Winfield. Ernest Aldrich Simpson divorced his wife (with whom he had one child, Audrey). They set up home in the Mayfair area of London where they thrived due to Ernest Simpson's successful shipping company. In 1929 Wallis' mother died penniless after the Wall Street crash.

Wallis met Prince Edwards of Wales in January of 1931 (through a friend's sister who was Edward's mistress, Thelma Furness). Wallis Simpson would then encounter Edward, the heir apparent, at a number of parties and engagements over the next three years.

In 1934 when Lady Thelma Furness was away in New York, Wallis became Edward's mistress despite public denials. The escalation of their relationship grew, including family outrage, extravagant gifts, trips across Europe. When Edward's father George V died in 1936 the public crisis began. Wallis fled to southern France as the media crisis began as the King was intent on marrying Wallis.

On December 10, 1936, King Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication and announcing the following day that he could not carry on the duties of King without the woman he loved.

Wallis would divorce her husband Ernest Simpson in May 1937. Wallis and Edward would marry in the following month, June 1937 at Château de Candé. With the wedding scheduled on what would have been his father's birthday (King Edwards V), it was viewed as a statement against his family, additionally, no member of the royal family attended.

Through the controversy, Edward's brother King George VI (Bertie) gave Edward the royal title duke of Windsor, and so Wallis became the Duchess of Windsor, although she was formerly denied the title of "her royal highness."

Edward and Wallis would live in France prior to WWII, where they would entertain friends who would later have fascist roots. Into WWII they experienced criticism for many of their choices, and spent most of their time in the Bahamas where Edward was installed as governor. Wallis also aided the red cross during this time.

After WWII they tended to stay in general isolation away from London and the royal family in most situations, they owned homes near Paris, France and once in the French countryside.

In 1972 Edward died of cancer, and Wallis returned to England for his funeral and stayed in the Buckingham Palace. Following his death, she was supported from Edward's estate and an allowance from the Queen Elizabeth II.

Wallis, aging herself with a series of health problems, dementia, and lost speech. She died in 1986 in Paris.


In addition to the telling the story of Wallis Simpson's relationship with King Edward VIII, this story is the backdrop for story is a contemporary story of married woman who falls in love with a Russian security guard.

In addition to the part of Wallis being played by Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy will be playing the part of Edward VIII.

The contemporary story will have Abbie Cornish playing fictional Abbie Cornish, Richard Coyle playing her husband (William), and Oscar Isaac playing the Russian security guard (Evgeni).

Other historical casting will include Natalie Dormer playing the young queen mother, Eliabeth Bowes-Lyon, James Fox plays King George V, while Laurence Fox will play the part of Bertie (King George VI).

Will Andrea Riseborough receive another Oscar nomination or perhaps even a win for his portrayal of this Reel (Real) Person?

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