Shelved Dolls: Wallis Simpson – How Did She Seduce Prince Edward? What Is ‘The Baltimore Grip’?

Winston Churchill once said that every town in Britain should erect a statue to Wallis Simpson, because she saved England from Edward. He meant that insofar as Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry the woman he loved in 1936. He also meant that Edward would have been an absolutely terrible King of England during wartime. Churchill was being a jerk about that. A jerk who was correct.

As Nazi sympathizers, Wallis and Edward both met with Hitler. Here is a picture of Adolf Hitler kissing Wallis Simpson’s hand:

Prince Edward Wallis Simpson Adolf Hitler

I wanted to get that out of the way early in this story, to make it clear that the meeting happened, because I refuse to do the elaborate dance director Madonna did in W.E. where she tried to explain that really, the notion of Wallis and Edward being Nazi sympathizers was blown out of proportion and nothing was on record. Since I saw W.E. six times – there’s a scene where Wallis Simpson swirls around in a beautiful gown -


(this scene)

I am familiar with that argument, and that argument is wrong. Edward and Wallis were both glamorous, fashionable people who loved parties and who had moral compasses permanently set to “fun.” They probably would have been very poor rulers of England.

Fortunately, Edward was King for a very brief time, because he was forced to abdicate in order to marry Wallis Simpson, as she had been divorced not once, but twice. This governmental decision has to do with the concern about a woman married to a prince possibly carrying another man’s child that has been a part of the monarchy really up until Will and Kate. Edward’s abdication speech is still remembered as one of the most moving in recent history. He said:

At long last I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never wanted to withhold anything, but until now it has not been constitutionally possible for me to speak.


A few hours ago I discharged my last duty as King and Emperor, and now that I have been succeeded by my brother, the Duke of York, my first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with all my heart.

You all know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the throne. But I want you to understand that in making up my mind I did not forget the country or the empire, which, as Prince of Wales and lately as King, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve.


But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.


And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine and mine alone. This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself. The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course.


I have made this, the most serious decision of my life, only upon the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all.

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    • Alle

      Fun fact: When they lived in exile in Paris (I think?) Wallis would only have blonde servants. Apparently this was because she thought it would make her stand out more as a brunette.

      Obvs that’s a little crazypants, but I love love love stories like that.

      Source: Deborah Mitford’s memoir (I think? Could possibly be a Mitford sister biography)

      • Jennifer Wright

        This just sounds completely like something she’d do.

    • Anouck

      This is the first time i comment on the Gloss, but i love these series, and so i took a note of the sandwich story that Jennifer found and added ‘sex’ to Baltimore grip on Google, and look what i found

      “She was reputed to be able to perform ‘the Baltimore clinch’, whereby
      her vaginal muscles could grip a man’s penis when it entered her, and
      retain it inside until the sex act was complete.”

      There’s more dicussion whether Simpson worked in a brothel in China here –>,11075504

      But, well, that’s that, i guess. I still have a very vague idea of how it is possible, i’m afraid my imagination will run amok!

      They’ve been coming up a lot lately. There’s quite a story about Edward and Wallis in british TV series Any Human Heart. It’s beautiful and very interesting, by the way!

      Sorry for the novel,guys!

      • Deering24

        IIRC, the Baltimore clinch is also known as the Cleopatra Grip–and one was also supposed to put cocaine on the genitals before sex to increase the kick

    • Glory

      It’s also worth noting that Thelma Furness was the twin sister of Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, mother of the designer (and grandmother of Anderson Cooper).

    • Jenni

      I’m so glad he abdicated. Not just for the welfare of England, but could you imagine having pugs instead of corgis?! Blasphemy! The royal corgis always steal the show!

    • MR

      Egad, a woman who knows how to use her pelvic muscles. :)

    • Lisa

      Hmm, I think young Wallis is rather beautiful myself, but perhaps not in a conventional way.

    • CarolineS&C

      Jennifer, I always look forward to reading your ‘Shelved Dolls’ series! All these fabulous eccentric women, some of whom I’d never heard of before… it’s such a wonderful and well-executed idea! Please keep ‘em coming! :) xx

    • whiteroses

      Wallis once said, “I can never leave him now.”

      I think that’s pretty illuminating, don’t you? I have to wonder if it really is the great love story everyone claims.

    • VanCan

      Edward was on the autism spectrum but he loved parties and slept with just about any woman he met? Shhhhyeah. It’s much more likely that his persnickety behavior and social insensitivity were a result of being born a prince and therefore not really having to give a crap about other people’s feelings. Ties into the whole “schtupping other men’s wives” thing, too. He was a spoiled, self-absorbed twit.

    • Alicia S.

      Citing data lounge, where people will write just about anything, or sensationalist authors does not a true account of a person’s life make. Better standards for research needed before journalism becomes tabloid muck.