Wallis Simpson and the Dark Side of Royal Wedding History

wallis simpson, kate middleton

One breathes fresh air into the British monarchy, the other sucked it away.

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was sweet — so sweet it’s drawing yawns over on this side of the Atlantic. When the most talked-about image of the future King of England and his bride is actually the mug of a grumpy 3-year-old, well, more than a few who had hoped for a replay of the whole Charles and Diana princess wedding have been let down.

But a downplayed wedding and marriage is something the royals — and any family hoping for their kids’ everlasting love — must see as a good sign. After all, royal highness-ness is no guarantee for a rock-solid marriage. Nor is it a guarantee for a natural ascension to the throne.

One royal throne-wrecker, Wallis Simpson, is coming up all over the place.

Simpson is reminding the English that Kate — never before married, English, educated, mostly scandal-free Kate — is a royal catch.

Which is not what we can say of Wallis Simpson. There was a time when the world thought this American divorcee would bring down the monarchy. Instead, she shifted the royal lineage over to present-day Queen Elizabeth’s father. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry Simpson, an accused Nazi-collaborator, twice-divorced vulgar American woman.

Two new books about Simpson are set to be released and another twice-divorced vulgar American woman who loved a British man, is said to be making a movie of Simpson. Madonna wrote, directed and may score “W.E.” a tale of “parallel love stories.”

But the Edward VIII-Simpson marriage wasn’t the only disaster for British royalty. In our own time, we saw Queen Elizabeth endure the nightmare marriage of her son, Prince Charles to young and naive Diana Spencer. We all know what happened there.

The smarty-pants over at Buzzfeed list eight other English royal weddings which didn’t go so well. Some reach way back in history and make the modern-day disasters seem quaint. The list also serves as a cautionary tale for those tempted to marry their cousins or for money –  or both.

Good thing Prince Harry didn’t go first. I could imagine that might have been a Wallis Simpson, Part II.

Photo composite: wikipedia

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