9780006531593 / 0006531598

Dancing with the Devil: The Windsors and Jimmy Donahue





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About the book:

It shouldn't be a fascinating read, this book, it really shouldn't. It's just Higher Gossip about how Wallis Simpson took a younger lover after her marriage to Edward, and how she and said lover enjoyed nights of "non-penetrative and principally oral sex." I mean, who cares? Shouldn't our minds be on higher things? The trouble is, it's all absolutely fascinating. The lover was the mad, bad and dangerous-to-know Jimmy Donahue, one of the Woolworths clan, grandson of founder Frank W. Woolworth, relative of Barbara Hutton, heir to millions, and considered to be dashingly good-looking. From the photos in this book, he looks like a baby-faced bore to me, but maybe having those millions in the bank skewed perceptions of him somewhat ... He could fly a plane, speak several languages, was a marvellous raconteur, and on top of all this, Donahue was a promiscuous homosexual. That didn't stop him from forming a passionate friendship with Wallis, however, that soon turned into more than mere friendship. Wilson suggests that this constituted, on Wallis' part, perhaps "the greatest betrayal in history". Edward gave up his throne and his kingdom for the woman he loved, only for her to take off with another man. However, it was never quite so simple as this. Edward didn't really want a normal sexual relationship with Wallis (he got all the satisfaction he wanted from playing with her feet), while she evidently continued to adore him, even if she found that the need for sexual satisfaction drove her into Donahue's arms. It may even have been that Edward knew, and didn't mind. The whole thing reads like some kind of royal soap opera, and as such, it is absolutely riveting. --Christopher Hart

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