Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Waxworks

By the early fifties, they started to look like they'd saved on embalming by starting early.

It's strange. I find these two weirdly interesting. Even though the more I learn about the hapless Prince Edward and his ... singular ... choice of One True Love, the more I despise the pair of them, nonetheless there is something about their aimless, vacuous, suffocating life that fascinates.

The long, strange road traveled by Bessiewallis Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor is something that requires a Thackeray or a James to do her justice, although the more lurid details of her varied life (just what did she learn in those Chinese brothels? What was the attraction to her of the bizarrely effete Woolworth heir?) might better be covered by Mickey Spillane or Truman Capote.

The excuses used by their admirers - they were stylish, they were misunderstood, they were the victims of his rapacious family - ring increasingly hollow as they fade into history. What we're left with are images like this: a pair of dazed puppets, stiff and vaguely accusatory, oblivious to their luxe surroundings and even to the pugs at their feet. I wonder if she ever wished she'd stayed in China?


  1. I read that they never asked the price of anything, which I thought was wonderful and set out to emulate them. It didn't work out so well for me, though, as a starving student. How does one find a partner with an inexhaustible supply of wealth?

  2. Unless one is advertising through one of those agencies that offers discreet companionship in the back pages of the International Herald Tribune, I'm afraid it's hit and miss, finding Mr. or Ms. Millionaire. And in this economy, really, what's a million or two? Pocket change!

    And the reason that the Wandering Windsors never asked the price of anything? The sordid truth is that they leeched like crazy, predating the likes of Jennifer Lopez by decades in their addiction to freebies, whether freely offered or shamelessly wheedled - translatlantic voyages, couture frocks, nights out at the Stork and El Morocco - you name it, they at least tried for a discount. And they were lousy tippers (the unforgivable sin).