Who Was King Edward's Wife, Wallis? 'The Crown' Features A Loot At Their Relationship

There is no greater sacrifice to make in the name of love than giving up something that defines you. For King Edward, his declaration of love for his wife, Wallis Simpson, was to give up the crown so he could marry her properly. In Netflix's new series The Crown , all the major players of the British monarchy are represented in the story of Queen Elizabeth's life, including King Edward and Wallis. Though Edward's wife doesn't get the attention other famous faces of history get, her relationship played a big role in shaping the British monarchy. Without Wallis, Queen Elizabeth may never have moved up to the throne.

See, Wallis was a socialite, she was also considered a commoner, and she had been divorced before. Britain's law decreed that Edward couldn't marry someone who had two living ex-husbands, and most people were hesitant to accept an American queen who wasn't born in England. So, when Edward was told he could either keep the throne or marry Wallis, he chose Wallis in a shocking move. This caused a scandal called the "abdication crisis." Wallis divorced her second husband in 1937 and became Duchess of Windsor. Edward's brother, Elizabeth's father, became the new King and Elizabeth moved into the path of succession.

If you're curious about Wallis beyond what The Crown shows, here's what you need to know about the real person — especially since the royal press office has maintained that "The Crown is a fictional drama. The Royal Household has had no involvement."

She Was American

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Unlike British royalty, Wallis Simpson was American, born and raised in Pennsylvania. According to Biography.com, she attended an expensive all-girls school in Maryland and met her first husband, Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. in 1916. The couple married six months later but Wallis spent most of her time alone, as her husband was stationed in different places for the U.S. Navy.

She Moved To London After Her Divorce

As Biography reported, after divorcing Earl in 1927, Wallis married a very different type of man: Ernest Aldrich Simpson. He was an English-American and they got married in London, where they were well-off thanks to Ernest's job as a shipping executive. According to The Independent, Wallis was friends with Lady Furness, who was an alleged mistress of Edward's. Through Furness, Wallis got to know the future king. The Independent reported that, by 1932, Wallis and her then-husband "had become regular, if infrequent, weekend visitors at his country home, Fort Belvedere."

They Still Used Cute Nicknames, Because Love Wins

After getting together, Wallis and Edward reportedly called themselves "W.E." — a combination of their initials, according to Biography. There's since been a movie released based on their love story that uses that nickname as a title.

Wallis may not have the biggest presence in The Crown or in the royal world, but, without Edward's abdication for Wallis, Queen Elizabeth would have never been so important — so I'd say she left a pretty big mark on the royal history books.