Duchess of Windsor 1896-1986
In 1931 Wallis Simpson met the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, and the pair struck up a friendship. Edward was determined to marry her but the scandal that would have been caused by his marriage to an American divorcee led to calls for his abdication. On 10 December 1936 Edward stepped down from the throne and the couple married at the Château de Candé in France on 3rd June 1937. This portrait was taken in France whilst Simpson waited for her divorce to be finalised.
Wallis later remarked that she was ‘more than delighted with the pictures – certainly the best that have been done’.
She is wearing a stained blue chalcedony, sapphire and diamond flowerhead clasp on her dress. It was sold in 1987 with two rows of stained chalcedony beads, at the Sotheby’s Geneva sale for 275’000 CHF (Est. 6’000-8’000 CHF). The centre of the flower is set with a cluster of cabochon sapphires and bands of brilliant-cut diamonds.