Sunday, June 5, 2011

Behind Closed Doors,The Tragic Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor by Hugo Vickers.

I have read a number of Hugo Vickers books and they have all been very good and in many ways this is another very good book.
It is beautifully written, marvellously researched and the illustrations are first class.
Part One Starts with the Death of the Duke of Windsor and follows through various rather unfortunate fazes until the Death of the Duchess and the sale of her Magnificent Jewellery collection.
Part Two details the early life of the Duchess (Wallis Warfield Simpson) and traverses through until the Duke and Duchess Twilight Years 1960-1971.
This book is part mystery especially in regards to what really went on in the Duchess life after the Dukes death, whose agenda was honest and whose was not?  Was she really ill for years and years, when did she become non compos mentas and not able to enunciate her own wishes, let alone sign documents and deeds and issue statements decrying this, that and the other and litigating at will, well it all comes down to whom you believe.
The book is rife with petty jealousies and cheap shots, accusations fly like missiles from a launcher yet very little has ever been proven,other than that the Duchess may have fallen under the control of a woman who may not have had her best interests at heart and the Royal Family seemed rather unconcerned with what was (maybe) happening to Aunt Wallis and her possessions except for Lord Louis Mountbatten who apparently turned up at regular intervals to pester dear Wallis no end!
There was very little chance that the Royals would uplift the elderly, ill and frail Duchess and install her in a snug little Palace so why anyone would imagine they should beats me, she certainly may not have wanted to live under their roof and as an independent woman who had made many decisions over the years and chosen a life style of her own design, the reality of the final years if as painted may have been very hard for her to bear.
There were visits and flowers from the Royals,apparently but other than the return of Official Documentation covering the Dukes life and some bequests in her will, no real relationship existed.  The pity was that she was blamed for the Dukes actions and choices and although much bitterness existed over the supposedly early death of George VI due to the strain of reigning, the reality was that George VI was frail from childhood and his brother the more robust Edward VIII was totally unfit to be King unless England wanted to become a part of Germany.
This book is more than worth reading if you are a history buff however it would have been a better read if Part 2 had come before Part I, an interesting concept to reverse the telling of the tale but really for me it didn't work but in fairness it may work for you!

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