The Duchess Of Windsor's satirical 
guide to entertaining

How to entertain like Wallis Simpson: Gloriously acid-tounged guide for Vogue in 1949 reveals Duchess made guests discuss controversial topics and entertained after 8.45pm when ‘women over 40 look their best

  • Wallis Simpson became renowned hostess after Edward VIII abdicated throne
  • In 1949 shared with Vogue her tongue-in-cheek guide to entertaining at dinner
  • Tips included bringing up controversial subjects if the conversation gets boring
  • Said Brits are content to drink champagne all night as a ‘release from austerity
  • From accusing guests of having controversial views to liven up conversation to avoiding celebrity attendees, the Duchess of Windsor had some unconventional hosting methods.

    Wallis Simpson became a world famous hostess, jetting around the globe entertaining high profile figures, after her husband, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in December 1936.

    Writing for Vogue in 1949, the American socialite shared her witty guide to entertainingwhich has been reprinted to conicide with party season.

    In a tongue-and-cheek assessment, she wryly joked that Soviet Rusland may not have been solely laser-focused on building a nuclear bombbut also keen to beat the French in their pursuit of fine cuisine.

    The Duke and Duchess of Windsor attending a party being held in their honour at the Waldorf Astoria in 1953

    The Duke and Duchess of Windsor attending a party being held in their honour at the Waldorf Astoria in 1953

    Wallis Simpson became a world famous hostess, jetting around the globe entertaining high profile figures, after her husband, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in December 1936

    Wallis Simpson became a world famous hostess, jetting around the globe entertaining high profile figures, after her husband, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in December 1936

    The Duchess noted that while the USSR was locked in a nuclear arms race, it was also the birthplace of fine dishes such as Stroganoffpredicting that Soviet Russia hadn’t yet ‘lost their appetite for the good things in life’.

    Citing the race to build an atomic bomb, she questioned whether the Russians could be focused on more than just this ‘unpleasant task

    ‘Suppose that it should presently turn out that other Russians were working with equal fanaticism and secret to produce a fine Sauce Gribiche to break the French monopoly?’ sy het geskryf.

    She suggested that while peace could not be made at dinnera ‘truly elegantdining table‘one of the finest flowerings of the good society’ – could be reflective of the success of individual countries.

    Writing for Vogue in 1949, the American socialite, pictured a week before King Edward VIII abdicated, shared her satirical guide to entertaining

    Writing for Vogue in 1949, the American socialite, pictured a week before King Edward VIII abdicated, shared her satirical guide to entertaining

    The Duchess commented that while the discussion of politics is essential to every good dinner party, her husband was expected not to take a view on the issues of the day.

    Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII: 'N Skandaal wat 'n nasie ontstel het

    Januarie 1931 – Wallis ontmoet prins Edward in Januarie 1931, nadat sy kennis gemaak het met haar vriendin Lady Furness

    1931- 1934 They see each other regularly at various parties

    Augustus 1934 – Wallis erken dat sy en Edward nie meer net vriende is nie, nadat hy saam met hom op 'n cruise was

    Januarie 1936 – Koning George V hierdie. Edward vra Wallis om na die afkondiging van sy toetreding saam met hom uit St.. James se paleis

    Augustus 1936The pair enjoy a cruise. Besonderhede van hul verhouding verskyn in die Amerikaanse pers

    Desember 11, 1936 – Edward kondig sy abdikasie aan

    Junie 3, 1937The couple get married in France. Wallis was formeel bekend as die hertogin van Windsor, but was not allowed to share her husband’s title of ‘Royal Highness

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    Wallis never focused her dinner parties around the hot celebrities of the moment, adding that few were able to decipher between expensive meats like pheasant and guineafowl.

    Sy het bygevoeg: ‘The present generation of bright, young global thinkers, who were weaned on the box lunches served by transoceanic airliners, are lost to the subtleties of a menu.

    In the Duchess’ oë, ten was the ideal number of guests to invite to a dinner party because more than eight meant no souffléa ‘melancholy omission’ – terwyl 12 meant staff wouldn’t be able to serve all the food at once.

    The Duchess warned hostessto avoid long rectangular tables because it would be impossible to spark conversation again once it inevitably died.

    Adding that one guest is always left out of conversation, Wallis suggested reviving conversation by bringing up a controversial topic, and accusing another guest of having strong views on the matter.

    She suggested rotating seating partners with each course and said in general, the French and British eat more than Americans because the French often have a second helping while Britons finish their meal with cheese and port.

    Another tip was ensuring never to leave a French chef alone because they all have a ‘secret ambitionto ‘obliteratetheir delicious meal with a ‘violent outpouring of sauces’.

    She also suggested summoning the chef three or four days in advance to discuss your worries with them.

    During the discussion with your chef, she suggested combining your own menu with their three or four ‘experimental’ opsies.

    To avoid falling into a rut while hosting dinner parties, she suggested keeping a record of guest lists, menus and seating arrangements to avoid inviting the same group of friends each time and the event becoming boring.

    She suggested the reason Europeans dine much later than Americans is because by 8:45pm ‘bankers and industrialists are as mellow as they are ever likely to be, and women over 40 begin to look their best’.

    The Duchess shared tips including swapping guests with every course and leaving the British to drink champagne for the entire evening

    The Duchess shared tips including swapping guests with every course and leaving the British to drink champagne for the entire evening

    Dismissing the French custom of a new wine for each course, she suggested just one throughout the dinneradding that the British are content to drink nothing but champagne as ‘their one release from austerity’.

    The Duchess warned against the British custom of men staying behind after dinner to chat over coffee, brandy, cigars to avoid solving all of the worlds problems after 11pm and forgetting them in the conference room the next day.

    Uiteindelik, the Duchess joked that planning the party is often more interesting than the dinner itself, and if you’re worried about things going wrong, she shared her golden rule: ‘Moenie bekommerd wees nie. It never happens.

    Who was Wallis Simpson and how did she shape the monarchy?

    Gebore in 1896 in Pennsylvania, Wallis verhuis na Londen in 1931 nadat sy met haar tweede man getrou het, gestuur uitvoerende beampte Ernest Aldrich Simpson.

    Sy het 'n vriendskap aangegaan met Lady Thelma Furness, die meesteres van die destydse prins van Wallis.

    In die loop van 1931, die Simpsons is geleidelik opgeneem in Edward se sosiale lewe, gereeld naweke saam met hom op Fort Belvedere deurbring, sy huis uit die 18de eeu op die terrein van Windsor Great Park.

    Die keerpunt in die vriendskap kom in Januarie 1934, toe Thelma vertrek vir 'n besoek aan die Verenigde State. Volgens Wallis, Sê Thelma laggend, 'Ek is bang die prins gaan eensaam wees. Wallis, sal jy hom nie oppas nie?’

    The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson is pictured in 1927, four years before moving to London

    The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson is pictured in 1927, four years before moving to London

    Terwyl die paar nader kom, hy het Wallis bederf met juweliersgeskenke en geld om klere en ander luukshede te koop.

    Op aandrang van Edward, Wallis, dra 'n tiara wat by Cartier geleen is, is formeel aan sy ouers voorgehou, Koning George V en koningin Mary. Die vergadering, waarop min woorde uitgeruil is, was nie 'n sukses nie.

    Woedend om 'daardie vrou in my eie huis' te moet ontvang, die koning het bevel gegee dat mev Simpson nie uitgenooi moet word na enige van die Silver Jubilee -funksies wat vir die volgende jaar beplan word nie, ook nie na die Royal Enclosure in Ascot nie.

    Soos die nuus van die saak versprei het, die hertogin van York - later Elizabeth, the Queen Mother — declared openly that she would no longer meet Mrs Simpson and would beat a hasty retreat whenever ‘that woman’ walked into the same party.

    In 1936 Edward het die troon bestyg na die dood van sy vader George V. Hy het sy voorneme duidelik gemaak om met Wallis te trou sodra haar tweede egskeiding kom.

    Dit het 'n nasionale skandaal veroorsaak en die Kerk van Engeland het besluit dat hy nie met 'n geskeide met twee lewende voormalige mans kon trou nie.

    Wallis het in ballingskap in Frankryk gaan woon om die druk te vermy, en in Desember 1936 Edward het afstand gedoen sodat hulle kon trou, met die mindere titel van hertog van Windsor.

    Die koning abdikeer, ondertekening van sy kort bewind met 'n uitsending wat verwys na 'die vrou wat ek liefhet'.

    Simpson het beledigende en vyandige haatpos ontvang en word daarvan beskuldig dat hy 'n Nazi -simpatiseerder was.

    In 1937, sy en Edward is na Duitsland om Hitler te ontmoet, voor die gruweldade van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, met haar man wat graag vir haar die prag en seremonie van 'n koninklike toer wil beleef, geweier aan Wallis in Engeland.

    Edward word goewerneur van die Bahamas tussen 1940 en 1945, en die egpaar het die res van hul dae uitgeleef en geniet die lewe van hoë samelewingsfigure.

    Egter, sy het nooit haar liefde vir Ernest Simpson verloor nie, haar geliefde tweede man en haar vriende en vertrouelinge het sedertdien gesê dat sy nooit van hom wou skei nie.

    Aansienlik, sy het aan hom en hierdie intieme briewe bly skryf, wat eers die afgelope jare aan die lig gekom het, onthul dat Wallis angstig en spyt was oor hoe haar lewe verloop het.

    Toe die hertog sterf in 1972, Wallis het iets van 'n kluisenaar geword en was selde voor haar dood in die openbaar gesien 1986, op die ouderdom van 89.

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