Been an avid follower for the past while, love your blog so much... :-) I'm on my way to a 2nd hand book shop to pick up a lovely vintage book on Edward VII in a few, I love browsing and coming across great finds! I was wondering if you could recommend the best books on Bertie - he's my fave royal :-)
I have vintage one's on his Coronation and a beautiful 25th anniv. book on his and The Queen Mum's wedding, and also two vintage books on his own Mother. I've Lord Beaverbrook's book on David's abdication, and a book on Wallis, but most of my books are on the current royals... Would love to hear any recommendations, particularly on Bertie and I'm sure you have some on David. (They were so handsome, I thought! XD)
Would it be silly to suggest a pic of your library? I would really love to see it should you feel like posting it... I posted up a pic of my Kennedy books from last Oct. (I've many more since - I've an addiciton! LOL!) http://jackandjackie.tumblr.com/post/3117612480/my-jfk-kennedy-library-june-09-oct-10-ive
Also, before I go, it was this blog that inspired me to set up http://jackandjackie.tumblr.com/ in January :-) Keep up the amazing work...
Pics are below. That was about two years ago, and that wasn’t all I had then. But now I have so much and it’s all spread all over my house so it would take a while to photograph everything. I also have a lot of help from my local library. My city has one of the best library systems you’ll find anywhere. I’m excited about getting my W&M student ID in May which will give me access to even more royal books.
As I’ve said, it can be hard to research Bertie because he was such a good guy. In America at least (it is a bit different in the U.K.) they tend to only publish books on royals who had lots of affairs or were involved in having people killed or started a war or something. I’m hoping that with the success of The King’s Speech more will be availible about Bertie. As it is it’s so much easier to find books about David and Wallis (or even the Queen Mum) than Bertie.
My main advice (and this is different from what everyone else says) is to avoid the Sarah Bradford book. That one pissed me off because not only was she very biased against David (repeating tons of stories about him that are likely untrue) but she wouldn’t shut up about him. I just wanted her to leave him alone and focus on telling me more interesting stories about Bertie. Plus her angle was very much “aw Bertie was so sad let’s all feel bad for him” rather than making him out to be a strong and heroic figure.
My favorite book on David in recent years was Susan Williams’s The People’s King simply because the angle was so completely different than anything I’d read before and the level of research involved really amazed me. I really wish there was a flawless wonderful book on Bertie I could reccomend but I don’t think there really is. The official biography is good if a bit dry, but if you really like Bertie it’ll be worth it. My main complaint is that I know he was more interesting and witty than he comes off in that book. There’s a good picture book on Bertie and Elizabeth I found at the library a few years back, but I can’t remember the details.
Love your Tumblr and started following you! I adore the young Kennedy men. Your book collection is impressive. I have got to take some new pictures of all my royal books soon.
note: my use of “skanky” is tongue-in-cheek, in reference to the content of the documentary i watched, which featured a lot of weird sexist slut-shaming. i do not use words like that or think things like that about women.
in all of history, i’d be hard pressed to find anything that interests me…
A little bit about Wallis’s alleged “skankiness”, if that’s even a word. In the 1930’s a woman could be branded a slut just for painting her nails red. Wallis was seen as being, in the words of the Queen Mother “the lowest of the low”. She was a slut, a bitch, a golddigger, and any other sexist term you could think of. In my experience, people will believe anything of Wallis. Anything.
For instance, people say she slept with Joachim von Ribbentrop. We know that isn’t true. To copypasta from my review of the crappy Upstairs, Downstairs remake: Wallis Simpson did not have an affair with von Ribbentrop. Didn’t happen. No, this isn’t just one of those stories there isn’t any evidence for, but this is the rare royal rumor that’s origins can be easily traced. You see, for most of 1936 the German Ambassador was a man named Leopold von Hoesch. A (totally unproven) rumor emerged that he and Wallis Simpson were somehow involved. This rumor is fairly well documented; it reached the ears of many political figures who recorded it. Now, sometime along then Mr. von Hoesch died (or perhaps was whacked) and von Ribbentrop replaced him. Because the rumor was being spread about that Wallis was sleeping with the German Ambassador, the rumor morphed into the now much more well known story that Wallis was sleeping with von Ribbentrop. But she wasn’t. She only met him twice, maybe three times at the most. Of all of the many society types who knew both, several kept detailed diaries of the parties they went to and who they saw. No one mentioned hanging out with the two of them together. There also aren’t any photos. Another part of the rumor involved Ribbentrop sending Wallis seventeen carnations, one for each time they slept together. Considering no one ever remembered Wallis having a lot of carnations hanging around her house, this is also bullshit. That exact story was also told about Mae West and some gangster she was sleeping with.
We know with some level of certainty this isn’t true. Yet the story just keeps coming up again and again. Which leaves two possibilities: either writers keep repeating this story they know isn’t true because it’s juicy or the people writing about Wallis don’t know enough about her to know if this is true or not. Either way, it doesn’t look good for all the other stories that are harder to prove or disprove.
The royal family really hated Wallis. They always tend to blame the woman for things like this. It was much easier to say Wallis led David astray than to admit that he had never been cut out for the royal thing to begin with. Now, I actually sympathize with Bertie’s point-of-view most of all. Bertie seemed to genuinely think that Wallis did not love David and was using him for personal gain. I don’t think that was the case, but that’s how it looked to Bertie. If your brother got involved with someone you thought was using him and that relationship caused him to distance himself from you, you would probably dislike that person too. The rest of the family had motives I’m more inclined to side-eye. Elizabeth seemed to dislike Wallis for personal reasons and Mary of Teck was Mary of Teck and didn’t have the right to judge anyone. The younger Mary and Prince George actually didn’t seem to have much against Wallis but kept away for fear of offending their mother. Not to mention that slut-shaming is a hobby for the Windsor family just as much as hunting and horseback riding.
Now, when it comes to what Wallis was actually up to, she wasn’t causing nearly as much trouble as people think. I really don’t believe she cheated on David. Gossip aside, no one she actually knew had heard anything about the Guy Trundle story, not to mention most the other ones. None of Guy Trundle’s friends seemed to know anything about it either. Before she got involved with David, Wallis had perhaps gotten around a bit, but it’s worth noting a “good girl” in the 1930’s was only allowed one sexual partner in her entire life. And she had to marry him first. Now, it wasn’t right for Wallis to be cheating on her husband, but Ernest Simpson was sleeping with Wallis’s childhood best friend during most of the time Wallis was sleeping with David.
The big issue seems to be whether or not Wallis loved David. I don’t think I could muster much sympathy for her if she didn’t. David certainly thought she did, and her letters to him were almost always signed with “I love you” or something similar. This wasn’t really the typical royal mistress situation. David believed Wallis loved him and he actually told friends that much of her appeal came from the fact that Wallis loved him more than he thought anyone else ever had. I don’t doubt she was drawn to him because of who he was and what he had, but the same could be said for most ordinary people who get involved with celebrities. If Wallis didn’t love David she had plenty of time to get out before there was any kind of crisis or scandal. They were together for nearly three years before the Abdication Crisis. Now, I don’t think she really wanted to marry him, but that was more because of the drama involved and the fact that his family didn’t like her rather than her not wanting to be with him. I honestly don’t think Wallis would have agreed to divorce Ernest if she didn’t love David. I also don’t think Wallis and David would have stayed together for thirty-five years if they weren’t in love. They were both difficult people to put up with.
I think it’s rather funny that everyone thinks Wallis was a golddigger but I’ve never heard Mary of Teck called one. Mary of Teck came from an impoverished royal family, and got engaged to a prince and then after he died hooked up with his brother. But because she was a princess (and didn’t have a past like Wallis did) no one would dare accuse her of anything no matter how much she needed the money.
As for the whole Nazi thing, David and Wallis supported appeasement (like all the other royals) and failed to understand how much of a threat Hitler posed. When they made the visit to see Hitler in 1937, little was known of what he was planning. Not that there wasn’t some pretty horrible stuff going on in Germany, but during this time period the United States was regularly sterilizing women against their will and locking up disabled children in institutions. So it was a pretty offensive time period and Wallis and David didn’t realize how special Hitler was in regards to evil deeds. Hitler promised them during this meeting that he didn’t want a war and wasn’t going to cause any more trouble. That was the same line he was using on other royals and nobility as well as plenty of foreign politicians. During the war, all evidence suggests David and Wallis supported the Allies and any stories accusing them of treason are bullshit. Most of these stories involve some kind of conspiracy to explain the lack of evidence anyway. It’s funny how it works; a lot of these popular ”facts” about David and Wallis would be obviously seen as conspiracy theories if they were said about living people, or even dead people who aren’t quite as widely disliked. Most of the accounts that paint them as being pro-Nazi come years after the fact and usually from people who don’t have any proof. To give a comparison, a few years ago the Daily Fail published an article claiming Bertie abused his wife. Their source was some fame-whoring royal hanger-on talking decades after the fact. No royal fans believed this story because it was obviously bullshit. Yet when presented with stories damaging to David and Wallis, people are willing to believe things with even shakier evidence than the Daily Fail provides. People seem to turn off their otherwise functioning bullshit detectors whenever David and Wallis come up.
People also love to claim Hitler wanted to put David back on the throne if he invaded Britain. They always forget to mention that the Nazis thought it would be necessary to kidnap both David and Wallis and brainwash them to get this plan to work. Not to mention it was only one idea out of several they were considering.
I’m actually considering doing a whole week of posts on David and Wallis in June for their birthdays in which I’ll do some more debunking. I find it kind of amusing Wallis is more hated among royal fans than Leopold II of Belgium.
Charles : Oh stop! I want to feel my way along you, all over you and up and down you and in and out.
Charles : … particularly in and out
(I really want to continue with a “late night dirty quote” series but it’s so hard to find stuff from people who aren’t Chuckles and the Rottweiler; if you have a bad/amusing example of royal dirty talk please submit it)
Did you know that Edward VIII was too Hungarian to be king?
I’ve been digging through some of my vintage royal articles, and I found something from 1938 that explains the Abdication Crisis. Not sure what I can quote because of copyright issues, but the overall message is that Mary of Teck’s grandmother was Hungarian and apparently Hungarian people are known for being wildly “passionate” and presumably prone to sleeping with married American women in their 40’s.
This Hungarian blood that David inherited from his mother apparently made him unsuitable to reign. Never mind that Mary of Teck (who preumably would have had her Hungarian blood less diluted) was as straight-laced as they come. Or that Bertie had just as much of the evil Hungarian blood as David.
I wonder what other royal scandals we can blame on the taint of that evil Hungarian blood?