Born – 19th June 1896
Died – 24th April 1986
Father – Teackle Wallis Warfield (1869 – 1896)
Mother – Alice Montague (1869 – 1929)
Spouses – m. 1916 div. 1927 – Winfield Spencer, m. 1928 div. 1937 – Ernest Simpson, m. 1937 – Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor (1894 – 1972)
Children – None
1896 (19th June)
Wallis Simpson was born Bessie Wallis Warfield to Teackle Wallis Warfield and Alice Montague at Square Cottage, Monterey Inn, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. She was initially called Bessie but at some point this was dropped and she was referred to as Wallis.
1896 (15th November)
Wallis’s father died of tuberculosis.
Unable to support herself and her daughter, Alice was supported by her brother-in-law Solomon Davies Warfield.
The family moved to Baltimore where they lived with Wallis’s aunt Bessie Merryman.
Wallis and her mother moved to a house of their own in Baltimore.
Alice Montague, Wallis’s mother, married John Freeman Rasin, son of a prominent Democrat party member.
Wallis was confirmed at Christ Episcopal Church, Baltimore.
Solomon Davies Warfield, Wallis’s uncle, paid for her to attend Oldfields Girls’ School in Maryland.
Wallis met naval aviator, Earl Winfield Spencer while paying a visit to her cousin.
1916 (8th November)
Bessie Wallis Warfield and Earl Winfield Spencer were married at Christ Episcopal Church, Baltimore.
After the United States entered World War One, Winfield Spencer was posted to San Diego, on the Pacific Coast, and he and Wallis moved there.
Winfield Spencer was posted to the Far East but Wallis remained in America. She began an affair with Argentine diplomat, Felipe de Espil.
Wallis paid a visit to Paris before sailing to the Far East on the USS Chaumont to be reunited with her husband.
Wallis began an affair with Count Galeazzo who she met in Beijing. She became pregnant and had an abortion. The procedure left her unable to have children.
Wallis and her husband returned to the United States but they led separate lives.
Winfield Spencer and Wallis divorced.
1928 (21st July)
Wallis married Ernest Aldrich Simpson, a shipping executive, at a register office in Chelsea, London. Simpson had divorced his wife to marry Wallis. The couple made their home in Mayfair, London.
Wallis Simpson met Lady Furness, mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales.
Wallis returned to the United States to visit her mother who was ill.
The Wall Street stock market collapsed and Wallis lost a great deal of money.
Wallis Simpson met the Prince of Wales at a party hosted by Lady Furness.
Wallis and her husband lived beyond their means and were in debt. Wallis continued to move in high society and met the Prince of Wales frequently.
Wallis became Prince Edward’s mistress.
Edward was deeply in love with Wallis.
Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward went on holiday together in Europe.
1936 (20th January)
King George V died and Edward, took the throne as King Edward VIII.
1936 (16th July)
Jerome Bannigan, aka George Andrew McMahon was seen on Constitution Hill with a loaded revolver as Edward was riding in the area. He claimed that he had been hired to kill Edward but was not believed and was imprisoned for a year.
Edward and Wallis cruised the Mediterranean on the yacht Nahlin.
1936 (27th October)
Wallis Simpson filed for divorce from her husband.
1936 (16th November)
Edward told Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he wished to marry Wallis Simpson when her divorce was finalised. The royal family, politicians and the Church of England were firmly opposed to Edward marrying Wallis Simpson. As head of the Church of England it was unthinkable that the British monarch could marry a twice-divorced woman.
1936 (2nd December)
As news of their relationship became public, Wallis left Britain for France to escape the pursuing media.
1936 (10th December)
Edward signed abdication papers at Fort Belvedere. A clause was included that Edward would live abroad and would only be allowed to return to the UK by personal invitation of the sovereign.
1936 (11th December)
Edward VIII formally abdicated the throne so that he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. He made a public broadcast to the nation explaining that he could not be King without the woman he loved. That evening he left Britain for Austria where he would wait for Wallis’s divorce to become final.
1936 (11th December)
Edward’s brother, Albert, reluctantly took the throne as King George VI of Great Britain and Emperor of India. He chose the name George to emphasise continuity with the reign of his father, George V.
1936 (12th December)
Edward was created Duke of Windsor by his brother King George VI. He retained the style HRH.
Wallis’s divorce from Ernest Simpson was finalised. She changed her name to Wallis Warfield by deed poll.
1937 (4th May)
Having remained apart while Wallis’s divorce was finalised, Wallis and Edward were reunited at the Chateau de Cande.
1937 (27th May)
Letters patent determined that the style Royal Highness would only be applicable to Edward and would not be held by his wife or his descendants. The government refused to grant Edward money from the Civil List. He was paid an allowance by George VI but did not feel that it was enough.
1937 (3rd June)
Wallis and Edward were married in a private ceremony at the Chateau de Cande, Tours, France. Members of the British royal family were forbidden to attend by King George VI.
Wallis and Edward travelled to Nazi Germany and met Adolf Hitler. The tour led to rumours that Edward was a Nazi sympathiser. The rumours intensified after the outbreak of World War Two.
Wallis and Edward fled to Biarritz in the south of France after the Germans invaded France.
Edward and Wallis fled to Spain after France fell to Nazi Germany.
Edward and Wallis moved to Lisbon. A plot was uncovered whereby the Germans planned to kidnap Edward and put him back on the British throne as a puppet king. The British government wanted him back in British territory. He was appointed Governor of the Bahamas and ordered to depart immediately.
1940 (1st August)
Edward and Wallis left Lisbon and sailed to Bermuda.
1940 (15th August)
Edward and Wallis left Bermuda for the Bahamas where they remained for the rest of the war.
When World War Two ended, Edward and Wallis returned to Paris.
1952 (6th February)
King George VI died of lung cancer at Sandringham House, Norfolk. He was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth.
1952 (15th February)
Edward returned to England to attend the funeral of his brother, King George VI. Wallis was not invited to attend and remained in France.
Wallis and Edward moved to a villa on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne.
1953 (late March)
Edward returned to England to attend the funeral of his mother, Mary of Teck. Again, Wallis was not invited to attend.
1953 (2nd June)
Edward’s niece was crowned Queen Elizabeth II. Neither Edward or Wallis were invited. Instead they watched the ceremony on television.
Edward underwent surgery for an aneurysm of the aorta.
Wallis and Edward went to London where Edward underwent surgery for a detached retina.
Edward and Wallis were invited to London to attend the unveiling of a plaque to Queen Mary at Marlborough House.
1968 (30th August)
Edward attended the funeral of his sister-in-law, Princess Marina of Kent.
Edward was diagnosed with throat cancer.
1972 (28th May)
Edward died of throat cancer.
1972 (5th June)
Wallis travelled to Britain to attend Edward’s funeral. He was buried in the royal burial ground at Frogmore.
Wallis’s lawyer, Suzanne Blum, took power of attorney over Wallis and sold many of her belongings.
Wallis’s health began to deteriorate and she suffered bouts of confusion.
Wallis lost the ability to speak.
1986 (24th April)
Wallis died at her home in the Bois de Boulogne. A funeral service was held at St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle. She was laid to rest next to her husband.
First published 2017, updated and re-published Apr 24 2021 @ 10:19 am – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2021). Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor 1896 – 1986 Timeline.