Wallis Simpson (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; 19 June 1896 – 24 April 1986), later known as the Duchess of Windsor, was an American socialite whose intended marriage to the British king Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis that led to Edward's abdication. Wallis grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father died shortly after her birth and she and her widowed mother were partly supported by their wealthier relatives. Her first marriage, to U.S. naval officer Win Spencer, was punctuated by periods of separation and eventually ended in divorce. In 1931, during her second marriage, to Ernest Simpson, she met Edward, then Prince of Wales. Five years later, after Edward's accession as King of the United Kingdom, Wallis divorced her second husband to marry Edward. The King's desire to marry a woman who had two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, and ultimately led to his abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After abdicating, the former king was created Duke of Windsor by his brother and successor, King George VI. Edward married Wallis six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, without the style "Her Royal Highness". She was instead styled as "Her Grace", a style normally reserved for non-royal dukes and duchesses. Before, during, and after the Second World War, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were suspected by many in government and society of being Nazi sympathisers.
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