King Edward VIII, who died from throat cancer 51 years ago, spent the final weeks of his life bleating “like a lamb” for his wife of 35 years Wallis Simpson, his night nurse claimed.
In the three or so weeks leading up to his death spent at the couple’s home, known as “Villa Windsor” in France, Edward was under the care of Julie Chatard Alexander.
The then 26-year-old Ms Alexander, who found the Duke of Windsor “very sweet”, was “shocked” that Wallis failed to check in on her dying husband.
This was despite the fact that Wallis was at home, in her bedroom on the same floor as Edward’s, she said.
In fact, Wallis “never” came in to see Edward and Ms Alexander said the Monarch, whose reign lasted just under a year, ended up dying in her arms.
READ MORE: The rise and fall of Edward VIII — Britain’s ‘Traitor King’
In Andrew Morton’s 2018 book Wallis in Love, Ms Alexander said: “[Wallis] never came to see him or kiss him good night or see how he was. Not once. Poor fellow.
“He would call her name over and over ‘Wallis, Wallis, Wallis, Wallis’ or ‘darling, darling, darling, darling’. It was pitiful and pathetic. Just so sad, like a lamb calling for its mother.”
According to Mr Morton’s biography, Wallis had feelings for her friend Katherine Moore’s husband, Herman Rogers, the World War One veteran and businessman.
In fact, he claims that there was a “very odd triangular relationship” between Wallis, Edward and Herman with the Duke said to be more like a child than a partner to Wallis.
He continued: “[Wallis] told Herman’s second wife, Lucy Wann, that he was the only man she had ever truly loved.
“Herman acted at times more like Wallis’s husband than her friend. And Edward acted more like her little boy than her husband.”
When Edward finally succumbed to death in the early hours of May 28, 1972, Ms Alexander remembered pitying the former King who she felt had died in the wrong woman’s arms.
The nurse, who like Wallis grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, recalled thinking: “The poor Duke of Windsor died in the arms of the wrong Baltimore woman.”
While some accounts claim that Edward died in Wallis’s arms, the couple’s secretary John Utter told writer Hugo Vickers that she was asleep when he died, adding that he had had to wake her to break the news.
When Edward abdicated decades earlier, he told the nation and the world that he did so for the woman that he loved. It follows that many believe his and Wallis’s was one of the “great love affairs” of the twentieth century.
Yet historian Andrew Lownie, writing in his 2021 book Traitor King, highlighted that others felt the American socialite was “trapped in a marriage that she had never wanted”.
According to their friend Mona Eldridge, quoted in Mr Lownie’s book, they both lived unhappy lives. She said: “The Duke and Duchess led totally self-centred lives; there was no consideration for anything but the gratification of their own needs. The life they led was borne out of disappointment, frustration and unfulfilled expectations.”
Similarly, Mr Lownie writes that the Duke and Duchess’s marriage was quite the “contrary” to a great romance. He said Wallis was “emotionally blackmailed” into marriage, only sticking it out because “she had no other option”.
He continued: “She had been attracted to him as Prince of Wales and King, but that attraction had waned after he had given up his throne, leading to a mixture of guilt, pity, dissatisfaction, boredom and irritation.
“The affairs, the constant shopping, the travel and entertaining were an attempt to provide some stimulation in a life with little meaning and with a man she did not love.”
Wallis died several years after Edward from bronchial pneumonia in Paris at the age of 89 on April 24, 1986.
Andrew Morton’s Wallis in Love: The untold true passion of the Duchess of Windsor, published by Michael O’Mara in 2018, is available here.
Andrew Lownie’s Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, published by Blink Publishing in 2021, is available here.