Skip to main content

King Edward VIII and Aspergers Syndrome or Wallis Simpson and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

King Edward and Mrs Wallis Simpson

king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder

King VIII and Wallis Simpson

The affair between Prince Edward of the English Empire and the American divorcee Wallis Simpson has often been referred to as the greatest royal love story of all time.

Prince Edward ascended his father King George V, to the English throne in 1936. Publicly at this time he was seen to be the world’s most eligible bachelor. While in reality those who frequented his social circles had already known for a number of years that the new King was conducting a very open affair with an American divorcee known as Wallis Simpson. Not only was it scandalously whispered that she was already married to husband number two but husband number one was even more scandalously still very much alive.

The British royal family and the government of the time led by Stanley Baldwin were aghast at the prospect of such a woman becoming the queen of England and all its empire. Those in high society could not believe that the heir apparent to the throne who could have his pick of eligible aristocratic women, preferred instead to spend all his free time with a divorced woman who was at that time contemplating ending her second marriage in order to become the wife of the King of England. This was deemed as unacceptable in many quarters for the ruler who was supposed to be portrayed as the moral leader of the English people and its church.

However the besotted Prince Edward told anyone who opposed his relationship that Wallis Simpson was the great love of his life and there was no question of him giving her up. Nor of his hiding her away or conducting a discreet affair in the long term.

Subsequently when the prince became King Edward VIII, he continued to declare that his life was useless unless he could share it with his Wallis. Yet was this really the love story to top all others? Were Edward and Mrs Simpson really two people who were just so in love that they had to be together? Or was the new King really serious when he declared that the English throne meant nothing to him without the love and companionship of Wallis Simpson?

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor married in France in 1936

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor married in France in 1936

king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder

What made Prince Edward fall for Wallis Simpson?

In more recent times there have been many books, films and mini-series made about this infamous couple. Initially the story of Edward and Mrs Simpson was indeed described as the ultimate tale of true love conquering all. However since then that theory has now been analyzed in much greater depth and slowly over the years new dimensions to the tale of the former Monarch and Wallis Simpson have emerged.

In 2011 the book, That Woman, written by Anne Sebba painted a very different picture of the couple who eventually were known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In royal circles and among the Queens family, Wallis Simpson was always painted as the woman who lured the naïve king away from his birthright as well as his duty to his family and country.

The royal family always maintained that had it not been for this American gold-digger with ‘two living husbands,’ then there would have been no dispersions cast over the English monarchy. They despised Wallis Simpson for supposedly luring the King away and putting the very foundations of England’s monarchy in such jeopardy.

Yet in the book That woman, it is suggested that the former King Edward VIII in fact had a complete distaste for the monarchy long before he had even met Wallis Simpson. That in fact those who were closest to the royal family and King George V were concerned much earlier in Edward’s life about his suitability to become King.

Close advisors of his father King George V, claimed that Edward was ‘not all there,’ and some said that he never developed emotionally beyond the age of about 13. The Prime Minister of the time, Stanley Baldwin also described the prince as being a strange mixture of genius and child. He allegedly said that at times the Prince was extremely intelligent and capable of great depth but then at other times he acted like a child and was completely emotionally immature and incapable of any social reason.

He also greatly feared Prince Edward ascending to the throne as he knew too that the Prince had been telling friends for many years that he thought the monarchy had become outdated. Also that it was completely out of touch and that he was going to change all that. Edward also despised most of the social etiquette and ceremony that was so much a part of being royalty. In fact he seemed to have had a complete distaste for rules of any kind and this is probably not that surprising when his upbringing is studied.

It is no secret now that Edward and all his siblings had a rather bleak childhood. His mother Queen Mary was said to be distant and not particularly maternal. The children were looked after by staff and most specifically their nanny. Their parents usually only met them for an hour a day and often in King George’s case it was even less than this. The King was also known to be a very harsh disciplinarian who was said to be particularly authoritarian with his children. His wife Queen Mary also never reprimanded her husband for his hard treatment of their offspring and remained a dutiful wife often at the expense of her children.

Scroll to Continue

So the fact that Edward was brought up under such a strict regime quite possibly led to him going in the opposite direction. So it was that he didn’t care much for rules, or the established hierarchy or he was not particularly interested in social status either. All of these characteristics are commonly observed in people on the autistic spectrum.

Did King Edward VIII really want to be King?

Yet Edward also had a great capacity to empathise and connect with the ordinary people. He was the Prince who went to the battlefields during the First World War and spoke to the foot soldiers in the trenches. Later he also visited one of the poorest regions of Wales which had become rundown due to the recessionary times and the dwindling employment provided by the local coal mines. It was because Edward did not believe in hierarchy or political correctness that the ordinary people loved him so much. He spoke to them genuinely and honestly and they recognised this in him. Also Edward had no patience for what he saw as unnecessary social etiquette such as confining his social circle to the titled classes. Instead he preferred to surround himself with celebrities and business people as opposed to the traditional aristocratic circles that most royalty tended to remain within. Also he loved the American way of life and felt it was fairer and less stilted and snobbish.

Prince Edward wanted to change the monarchy and put his own slant on it. He balked anytime he had to participate in an official ceremony or wear his bejewelled ‘traditional,’ royal clothes. Instead he loved Jazz, American suits and living a less formal life. So when Edward became King it wasn’t long before he began to offend many of the old guard by flaunting tradition and speaking in too open and honest a fashion. Also King Edward VIII started to make political comments that the government of the time did not appreciate as it did not tie in with their agenda.

In his latter years King George V, despaired over his wayward oldest son. He was recorded as saying on one occasion that his son would never become King and instead he would have to abdicate. This leads Anne Sebba to claim in her book That Woman, that it was likely that Edward did in fact have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Did King Edward VIII have Aspergers Syndrome?

Personally I would think PDD NOS could be a more likely theory i.e. Pervasive Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This is a condition on the milder end of the autistic spectrum where a person may have some strong autistic characteristics but not enough of them in every area to tick all the boxes for a diagnosis of classic Asperger’s Syndrome.

There has also been quite a bit of speculation surrounding his brother Albert who became King George VI after his brother’s departure into exile. In the 2011 film The King’s Speech where Colin Firth played King George VI, we do see a man who is very shy, has a speech impediment and has issues with anxiety. Also he suffered from gastrointestinal problems, which is another common condition that people on the autistic spectrum often suffer from.

Then there was the question of their youngest brother, Prince John who died when he was only 13 after a severe epileptic fit. He too has been the subject of documentaries and films where he is depicted as being a boy who was rather detached from reality. As well as enjoying repetitive activities he also is said to have preferred music to social interaction. In fact it was decided when Prince John was eleven that he would not attend boarding school as all his brothers had. Apparently he was not progressing academically and was considered to be somewhat a slow learner. Today this would be called a learning disability which again often co-exists with some degree of autism. Therefore there seemed to have been a lot of factors present within the Windsor family that did tend to suggest an autistic genetic susceptibility.

It is now well documented that autism does often tend to run in families. Also even when a number of siblings all meet the diagnostic criteria for autism within a family, usually they are most likely to all be at different points on the autistic spectrum.

As a teenager it was often suggested that Prince Edward was in fact anorexic. It is recorded that as a young man he was obsessed with eating as little as possible and exercising to excess. Eating disorders are also very prevalent amongst people with autism for a number of reasons. Often because exercising and being thin becomes an obsession i.e. an area of special interest. But also because a person on the autistic spectrum feels like they have very little control over most areas of their life. They are living in a world where everything is confusing and they often see monitoring their food intake and body image as a way for them to regain some semblance of control over a chaotic situation. Also letters and diary entries that Edward wrote during his teenage years portrayed a confused, at times even suicidal young man who was finding it very difficult to find his place in the world. In one interview with Edward he says his father was always reprimanding him and telling him to remember who he was. Edward said that these types of comments used to just make him wonder even more who was he?

In the book That Woman, there is a quote from the psychiatrist Simon Baron Cohen which says of Prince Edward: “his extremes of behaviour—including a refusal to eat adequately, violent exercise and obsessive concern about the thinness of his legs, verging on anorexia, arranging his myriad clothes in serried rows, his unusual speech, social insensitivity and nervous tics such as constantly fiddling with his cuffs—are just some of the characteristics that come under the broad spectrum of autism and or its sometimes less virulent cousin Asperger’s Syndrome.”

Edward VIIII in his younger days

king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder

King Edward VIII with his father George V and grandparents Queen Victoria and Edward VII

king-edward-viii-and-aspergers-syndrome-or-wallis-simpson-and-narcissistic-personality-disorder
Colin Firth plays Edwards brother Bertie in The Kings Speech

Colin Firth plays Edwards brother Bertie in The Kings Speech

King George VI and the Queen Mother. Albert ascended to the throne after his brothers abdication

King George VI and the Queen Mother. Albert ascended to the throne after his brothers abdication

Wallis and Edward. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Wallis and Edward. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Edward spent vast amounts on jewels for Wallis Simpson

Edward spent vast amounts on jewels for Wallis Simpson

Edward spent vast amounts on jewels for Wallis Simpson

Edward spent vast amounts on jewels for Wallis Simpson

King Edward VIII and his autistic characteristics

In the book That Woman, there is a quote from the psychiatrist Simon Baron Cohen which says of Prince Edward: “his extremes of behaviour—including a refusal to eat adequately, violent exercise and obsessive concern about the thinness of his legs, verging on anorexia, arranging his myriad clothes in serried rows, his unusual speech, social insensitivity and nervous tics such as constantly fiddling with his cuffs—are just some of the characteristics that come under the broad spectrum of autism and or its sometimes less virulent cousin Asperger’s Syndrome.”