Segments in this Video

Wallis Simpson Overview (02:14)


In December 1936, Edward VIII abdicated to marry an American divorcee. This film will examine her role in society and politics, and look beyond media perceptions to discover her true nature.

American Upperclass Childhood (03:00)

Bessie Wallis Warfield was born into a wealthy Baltimore family in 1896. Her mother relied on her father's disapproving relatives for financial support after his death; Bessie lived on the fringes of society. In 1911, she attended Oldfields to prepare for marriage.

Social Expectations (03:33)

At Oldsfields, Wallis focused on her debut, during which she hoped to find a husband. In 1916, she married naval officer Win Spencer, an abusive alcoholic. In 1920, she separated from him but divorce was frowned upon.

Part 6: Memorial Hospital Ethics Case - Final Evacuations (06:43)

John Thiele and Nurse Karen Wynn felt conflicted as they injected terminal patients with lethal doses of sedatives. Rodney Scott was the last living patient evacuated. They were flown to the airport, where hundreds of patients lacked adequate care.

Joining London Society (03:35)

Wallis and Simpson married in 1928 and she became known for her parties. Edward VIII championed social justice, and was Britain's most eligible bachelor. Edward’s mistress Lady Thelma Furness introduced him to Wallis in 1931; they felt a mutual attraction.

Royal Mistress (03:18)

In the early 1930s, Edward and Wallis became friendly. In 1934, they became lovers and Edward broke royal etiquette by bringing her to court. Wallis tried to keep both Edward and Simpson.

Memorial Hospital Ethics Case Epilogue and Exercise (32:23)

Investigators concluded that 24 patients were euthanized; Pou was accused of second degree murder but not indicted. Participant groups choose ethical problems from the case to discuss for 20 minutes.

Memorial Hospital Ethics Case Discussion (10:44)

Participants bring up the deviation from standard of care among doctors and nurses and the failure to provide informed consent to patients prior to euthanization. Kovarik concludes the lecture and provides ethics educational resources.

Abdication (03:24)

During the constitutional crisis, Wallis fled to France for safety. Realizing she would be vilified, she tried to convince Edward not to abdicate but he was resolute. Hear Edward’s radio address to the nation. The Duke of York became king.

King George VI (03:47)

After abdicating, Edward fled England; Wallis feared public recourse. Albert was crowned king in 1937, and denied Wallis a royal title. She and Edward were married in June 1937 in France; no member of the British royal family attended. They settled in Paris.

Nazi Sympathizing Rumors (03:43)

Edward felt Britain could learn from Hitler’s economic reforms and believed friendship with Germany would maintain peace in Europe. In a controversial trip to Berlin in 1937, he and Wallis met Hitler—tarnishing their reputations. Hear Wallis' description of Hitler.

World War II (02:26)

When Hitler invaded Poland, Edward offered to help George VI, but the royal family wouldn't receive Wallis. They returned to France and Wallis volunteered with the French Red Cross. When Paris fell, they fled to Spain and hoped to return to England.

Caribbean Exile (02:11)

As England prepared for war, Edward and Wallis' earlier trip to Germany raised suspicions that they were Nazi sympathizers. Churchill appointed Edward Governor of the Bahamas. Wallis volunteered in child welfare, but her work went unrecognized.

Post-War Retirement (02:07)

George VI's visit to London during the Blitz, compared to Edward's life in the Bahamas, further damaged Wallis' reputation. After Germany surrendered, they returned to Paris and Edward grew bored. They wanted forgiveness from the royal family but none came.

What Might Have Been (04:08)

George VI died in 1952; only Edward was invited to the funeral. The Queen mother believed Wallis had led to George's premature death by forcing Edward's abdication. Wallis and Edward became resigned to permanent exile. In a CBS interview, they express no regrets about marriage.

Royal Olive Branch (03:44)

In 1967, Edward and Wallis were invited to a memorial dedication to Queen Mary. Edward died in 1972; Wallis stayed at Buckingham Palace for the funeral. She died in France in 1989, and was buried with her husband at Windsor.

Credits: Wallis Simpson: Extraordinary Women (00:47)

Credits: Wallis Simpson: Extraordinary Women

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Wallis Simpson: Extraordinary Women

Part of the Series : Extraordinary Women
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Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Indira Ghandi, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek were worshipped, loved and sometimes even feared by millions the world over. These pioneers showed that a woman could be the equal of any man but behind the public success, there was often private heartache and personal tragedy. This series, featuring archive, interviews and dramatic re-enactment, reveals the price these women paid for their achievements and adversities they overcame to emerge as triumphant, inspirational icons of the 20th century. This documentary follows the life of Baltimore socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson, for whom King Edward VIII abdicated to marry. The British royal family blamed her for his decision, and the couple was forced to live in exile during their married life. Alleged Nazi sympathies further damaged their reputation. A BBC Production.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL95084

ISBN: 978-1-68272-290-9

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.