Wallis and Edward were told that their child had died at birth. What had begun a few months earlier as a joyful secret had now become a secret tragedy. Wallis and Edward privately commemorated their child through hidden meanings contained within their jewelry, photographs, and letters to each other. Their tragic secret, that they could not possibly have shared with many others, was an unknown additional bond between them, and this together with his love for Wallis, made Edward’s decision to marry her irrevocable.
Unbeknownst to Wallis and Edward their child, their daughter, had not died. She had been placed in another identity, where, even if they were to realize that they had been deceived they could never find her. She had been taken to the United States of America, where she replaced a newborn baby at a hospital after that baby’s birth on June 8th, of 1934, near the small town of Marietta, Ohio. Her name was now Elizabeth Marie Francis, and she was to never be reunited with her true parents.
Could such a story possibly be true? Let us begin by examining the only personal record of Wallis or Edward, from that time, which is available to us now. We find it in Wallis’ letters to her Aunt Bessie Merryman in the U.S.A., published in a book after Wallis’ death in 1986. The book is titled Wallis and Edward Letters 1931-1937, The Intimate Correspondence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, edited by Michael Bloch. If Wallis and Edward had a child in June of 1934, Wallis’ correspondence from that time should reflect this in the circumstances mentioned therein.
From late August until late September of 1933 we find Wallis accompanying her husband Ernest Simpson on his business trip to Norway, and then Germany. In her letter dated Sept. 9th (1933) Wallis writes ... "we would leave on the 23rd arriving Hamburg the night of the 24th and England about 4 days later..."
Michael Bloch interjects that upon their return from Germany Wallis and Ernest were immediately invited (by Prince Edward) to Fort Belvedere (his home), for the first of many weekends spent there that autumn.
On Saturday Oct. 14th (1933) Wallis writes, "We have been out every night but 2 since our return from Hamburg. E (Ernest) had the flu for a few days but I still went on." This was eight months before June of 1934.
On Monday Feb. 12th (1934) Wallis writes, "I think you better send me the dress as soon as possible as I’m really naked."
On Thursday 22nd (February 1934) Wallis writes, "I am feeling very well but am quite thin not in the face but in the figure. Naturally worry over finances is not fat making. I weigh 8 stone undressed but eat and drink as usual."
On Sunday April 15th (1934) Wallis writes, "I have the dress and it’s grand. I wore it here last night for the first time. It was too big so had to have it fixed- an easy alteration."
On Friday night (postmarked 21 April 1934) Wallis writes, "Getting fatter."
On Wednesday April 25th (1934) Wallis writes, "still eating but can’t gain to much... Ernest is saving money or lacking it to such an extent that I had a masseuse for 15/-- and we didn’t speak for a while it made him so furious. I thought it cheaper than a Dr and very good to remove acidity."
On Tuesday May 22nd (1934) Wallis writes, "I am feeling fine and have gained weight at last... I have cashed the cheque and paid for my massage which I continue in spite of poor E (Ernest) as they did do me loads of good,...Please don’t think I’m completely in the ether. Mentally I’m quite sane about it all but I am not given much time to do things ... Hurry over to see me and then you’ll realize everything is OK."
Apparently Wallis’ next surviving letter to her Aunt Bessie is from Friday (27 October 1934). Aunt Bessie was to accompany Wallis on vacation with Edward, and others during August and September. Apparently there are no surviving letters from Wallis to Aunt Bessie during the time prior to Aunt Bessie’s arrival in England in early July. Wallis never again writes of desiring to gain weight until after an illness, mentioned in her letter of Saturday August 1st (1936). The only other instance to be found in this book where Wallis had mentioned gaining weight was in her letter of Thursday February 4th (1932), after her tonsillectomy. In both of the instances Wallis offered explanation for desiring to gain weight. She did not offer any explanation for desiring or expecting to gain weight during the first six months of 1934. What was the nature of her unspeakable condition? In contrast, we read in The Woman He Loved by Ralph G. Martin, in chapter 41, Wallis’ famous quote, "You can never be too rich or too thin." and a quote related to the author by a close friend of the Windsors, "He didn’t want to be fat and she didn’t want to be fat. After fighting fat for forty years, dieting comes naturally."
Their vacation of August and September of 1934 should have been a happy time for Wallis and Edward. In her memoirs Wallis described it as such. Oddly, most available photos which were taken of them during this time show them in a somber mood.
It was of this vacation that Wallis wrote, "Perhaps it was during these evenings off the Spanish coast that we crossed the line that marks the indefinable boundary between friendship and love....."
In 1987, following the Duchess of Windsor’s death in 1986, Sotheby’s sold at auction the jewelry belonging to Wallis and Edward. Many of the items can be found mentioned in two books, published in 1987: The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor by John Culme and Nicholas Rayner; and The Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes. The book titled The Duchess of Windsor by Michael Bloch published in 1996 also contains mention of some of these items. In these books can be found a photograph and description of what must have been the least lavish piece in the Duchess’ collection, however, it may be one of the most important. It is described as twelve charms, on a necklet or bracelet, and apparently includes some of the earliest mementos exchanged between Wallis and Edward.
At the auction this necklet sold for $123,000 to Mohamed Al Fayed, who had already obtained all of the Windsor’s possessions not being sold at this auction. Mr. Al Fayed was also given the lease on their Paris home. In these books the mysterious meaning of some of these charms have been interpreted, or misinterpreted to some degree. We submit that of these twelve charms at least four (listed here) pertain to Wallis and Edward’s child.
The Charm Necklet
A cushion shaped plaque decorated with a red enamel figure 3 and dated on the reverse: 9/4/34 March 12th,1934 14/5/34. The three dates are not in chronological order, and the first and third dates are inscribed in a different fashion (numerals only with day, month, year) indicating that the second date (March 12th 1934) is the original inscription and meaning, and it was intended to remain distinguishable from the other dates. The first and third dates were added to account for the prominent numeral 3 on the front, (three dates or occasions) thus concealing it’s true meaning which was Wallis, Edward, and, considering the date, their expected child. Obviously it was very important to conceal it’s true meaning.
A hinged notebook, inside the letters D W in red and blue enamel, dated: June 1934 1st-4th. These were the days which Wallis was in the hospital, during the birth of their child on June 3rd. Thereafter Wallis was unable to have children.
A medallion thought to represent the letters OK, the reverse inscribed: I doo too July (sic). This medallion actually symbolized a baby.
A locket dated: April’ 35, the interior with a hair compartment and inscribed: ‘Wallis-David’. This locket, from Edward to Wallis, was accompanied by a letter (shown below). This letter also can be found in the book Wallis and Edward Letters 1931-1937.
Edward’s message hidden within this letter was accomplished through the underlining. Not in the words underlined but in the underlining itself. Having been through naval college, sea duty, and then having served as an officer in the Grenadier Guards during WWI, he fully understood international Morse code. It was not by chance that he spelled out a very important word which defined their secret.
The Missing Links
In Sotheby’s catalogue for Sale 7000 Property From The Collection Of The Duke & Duchess of Windsor, The Public Collection on p. 173 lot 474 we find a photo, and explanation, of a note from Wallis to Edward. The note reads: “We do remember last March 12th I hope these will never be the ‘missing links”’.
It is explained that the “missing links” refers “to a bunch of dried flowers that accompany the note”, and, “It seems likely that this note was written on or about March 12, 1935.”
This note is most likely Wallis’ reply to Edward’s present and letter from Easter 1935. “Missing Links” then refers to Edward’s present of a locket charm with interior hair compartment, and other charms on Wallis’ necklet, especially the plaque with the red enamel figure 3 commemorating “March 12th 1934”, the date to which Wallis refers to in her note. The meaning of Edward’s gift and letter to Wallis must have been associated with “last March 12th”. The expression "missing links" implies a chain of evidence.
The sale of Wallis and Edward’s jewelry by Sotheby’s in April of 1987 raised $50,208,315; which benefited the Pasteur Institute. In order to examine Wallis’ set of crosses we turn again to The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor, page 122, lot 92. A diamond bracelet, by Cartier, circa 1935.
Designed as a single row of spectacle-set brilliant-cut diamonds supporting one plain and eight gem-set, Latin crosses, This jeweled bracelet has been referred to as being the most intimate link between Wallis and Edward. Each representing a stepping stone in their love story.
(1) In Platinum, inscribed and dated: “WE are too (sic) 25-XI-34”. The first and only plain cross, was bought for Wallis from Cartier by the Prince of Wales on the 3rd of December 1934. December 3rd was the six month anniversary of their child’s birth. As one author commented about this bracelet "some commerorate personal events while others refer to anniversaries."
(2) In sapphire, inscribed and dated: “Wallis - David 23.6.35”. Edward, Prince of Wales’ forty-first birthday. (Also see Edward’s set of crosses.)
(3) In ruby, inscribed and dated: “Wallis - David St. Wolfgang 22.9.3(5)”. This cross is in reference to, Wallis and Edward’s fall vacation of 1935. (For more information refer to Edward’s set of crosses.)
(4) In baguette diamonds, inscribed and dated: “The Kings (sic) Cross God bless WE 1.3.36”. this inscription refers to a meeting which is thought to have taken place between Edward VIII and Ernest Simpson, in the first week of March. A private arrangement was reached between the King and Ernest, whereby Ernest agreed to put an end to his marriage with Wallis provided that the King promised to remain faithful to her and look after her.
(5) In emerald, inscribed and dated: “X Ray Cross Wallis - David 10.7.36” This inscription refers to a letter from Wallis to her Aunt Bessie “I had my self X-rayed from head to toes. They found a healed ulcer scar.”
(6) In aquamarine, inscribed and dated: “God save the King for Wallis 16.VII.36”. This inscription refers to July 16, 1936 when King Edward VIII escaped an apparent assassination attempt.
(7) In sapphire, emerald and diamond, inscribed and dated: “Our marriage Cross Wallis 3.VI.37 David, slightly imperfect.” This inscription is in reference to Edward and Wallis’ marriage on June 3, 1937 at the Chateau De Cande, France.
(8) In amethyst, inscribed and dated: "Appendectomy Cross Wallis 16.VIII.44 David". On August 29, 1944 Wallis was admitted to Roosevelt hospital for an appendicitis operation.
(9) In yellow sapphire, inscribed and dated: 'Get well' Cross Wallis Sept. 1944 David”. (see #8 above.)
As you see each cross represents an important event in Wallis and Edward’s life. Of Wallis’ nine crosses it is the plain platinum one(1) that seemingly lacks such an event. This cross is clearly visible in the photo of Wallis in 1935, by Dorothy Wilding.
Although Edward’s crosses are not as well know as Wallis’, they are no less important. Their importance lies in their number, colors, and dates.
Edward’s necklace consist of three Latin crosses. The one on the left is made up of rubies and is inscribed: “David Wallis 23.6.35”. The date on this cross was Edward’s forty-first birthday. It is documented that the rubies were meant to represent Edward.
The cross on the right is made up of sapphires and is inscribed: “22.9.35 David-Wallis St. Wolfgang”. The date inscribed on this is from the time of Wallis and Edward’s fall vacation 1935, in which from the days September 20-24 they visited St. Wolfgang, near Salzburg, Austria. Once again it is stated that the sapphires were meant to represent Wallis.
And finally in the center, situated between the ruby and sapphire crosses, we see the third Latin cross. Unlike the other two crosses it has no precious jewels, composed only of gold. It is inscribed: “Wallis 5.11.34”. This plain cross represented their child, and it’s lifeless appearance is another clue in determining the events of early June 1934. Wallis gave this commemorative to Edward just over five months later.
This necklace became widely know at the time of the controversial Nahlin cruise in the summer of 1936. The reason for these three crosses is unknown to most, but as is stated in The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor “The reason, as for so much of the jewelry in the Duchess’ collection, was clearly very personal”.
The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor like many other books, offers little, if any explanation about what these two plain crosses represented.
In late 1934, and early 1935, Wallis and Edward exchanged portraits of themselves. Each with their own coded inscription to one another. These three portraits are each vital in unraveling the unknown events of June 1934.
The first portrait we are going examine is of Wallis holding her Cairn Terrier “Slipper”, taken by Dorothy Wilding at her London studio in January 1935 (Sotheby’s Private Collection page 426-427, lot 2977 ). Wallis has inscribed the photo: “W.E. 3” with the 3 thrice underlined.
To understand the inscription we must return to Wallis and Edward’s coded letters. The WE (the capital W symbolizing Wallis and the capital E symbolizing Edward) is something that appeared on many other pictures and soon became one of their most famous inscriptions, as it was destined to be used on hundreds of their personal items. Here we see the other portrait of Wallis, also taken by Dorothy Wilding.
The ‘3’ thrice underlined, unlike the W.E., only appears on these two portraits, both from approximately the same date ( Sotheby’s Private Collection page 424-425, lot 2972).
The only explanation given concerning these portraits, was that Edward had a portrait taken in December of 1934, by Hugh Cecil,
inscribed: “Hello! Wallis 3”
( Sotheby’s Private Collection page 238-239, lot 2474), and in-turn Wallis had two portraits taken of herself, inscribed: “W.E. 3”, and “Wallis 1935”, in response to Edward’s coded message. It is interesting to note that the ‘3’appears on Edward’s photo, but is not thrice underlined like Wallis’ photo. This is the one and only known portrait of Edward that has been inscribed with the “3”.
To examine Wallis’ two portraits, the question arises; what is the hidden meaning behind the “3” and what does it represent? If Wallis is the first and Edward is the second, as was explained through their crosses, then who, or what is the third entity being represented here? This entity would have to be part of their lives prior to 1935, and be important to both Wallis and Edward.
The 3... Two Possibilities
(1) In the later months of 1934, Wallis wrote, “I have a Cairn puppy-adorable and aged 4 1/2 months.” This was Edward’s gift to Wallis, for Christmas 1934. To comfort her after all she had been through that year (and the years that followed). Wallis and Edward named the puppy Slipper or as he later became known as; Mr. Loo, a reference to his incontinent house manners. he was to play an important part and later did in their relationship. (Wallis and Edward Letters 1931-1937.)
(2) Their child, born less than six months before, is the third individual. The child that they had been waiting for.
Lets look at the first possibility, that it is Slipper. If this were true why not continue to put the three on the other pictures and portraits, as was done with W.E. After all Wallis had slipper for over two more years, until his death in April 1937. During this time there must have been hundreds of photos including many with both Slipper and Wallis. But the ‘3’ doesn’t appear on another photo. Also, on the charm bracelet, mentioned on an earlier page, there appears a “3” with the latest date being May 14, 1934. Wallis did not receive Slipper until much later that year. In fact Slipper was not even born until June/July 1934 (there is some dispute over whether Slipper was born on June 7, or July 7).
So Wallis and Edward definitely used the “3” before Slipper came into the picture. Could Wallis have put the three on the charm in preparation of the baby? Was their child the third entity?
It seems more than a coincidence that Edward would have selected a puppy born in the first week of June/July 1934, and it is reasonable to assume that Edward probably offered Slipper to Wallis as a substitute for the child they both had lost. On April 7 1937, Wallis writes to Edward about Slipper’s death: “He was our dog- not yours or mine but ours” and “Now the principle guest at the wedding is no more.” At this date there was still the expressed chance that some members of the British Royal family would attend Edward and Wallis’s wedding, including the soon to be crowned King George VI.
The reason for the “3” being thrice underlined is still a mystery.
Elizabeth, with her first and second sons, 1954
More details will be available in the weeks to come.
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