All the fanfare in anticipation of the big royal wedding this Friday has gotten me thinking about the two royal couples who have fascinated me most, both featured in The King's Speech, the Oscar-winning movie that released this winter. The film focused on King George VI, who had a terrible stammer, and the speech therapist who helped him overcome it.
But there was also plenty of drama in the movie about the tense relationship between George — a rather shy man who was apparently a bit awkward around women as he was growing up — and his older brother Edward. As first-born son, Edward (also known as David) was the man who would have been king except that he fell in love with a "commoner" named Wallis Simpson, who was also an American — and worst of all, as far as the royals were concerned, she was divorced. Wallis captured Edward's imagination, and he became determined to marry her — even though marrying a divorcee was against royal tradition.
Before watching the movie, I'd believed Wallis and Edward had been star-crossed lovers — that his feelings for her were so deep that he walked away from what was, at the time, one of the most visible and glamorous positions in the world so he could live happily ever after with her.
After watching — and doing a little reading on the matter — I got the impression that Edward was more of a rebellious and self-destructive man, and that Wallis was more of a social-climber nonpareil … that they were thinking he might be able to wed Wallis and keep his throne, but the people pulling the strings in England would have none of it. (That's why Edward's younger brother unexpectedly became king, even though he was a terrible public speaker.) Wallis, too, as far as I can tell, really wanted Edward to be king. She may have even thought it would've been better to be the mistress of the king than what she ultimately became after marrying him: The wife of the Duke of Windsor.
Did you guys see The King's Speech? Do you find Edward and Wallis as interesting as I do?