Expert on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor Fascinates Audience at The Redwood Library

René Silvin speaks with guests

With the current speculation about the romance between a Royal and a divorced commoner, the twentieth century drama of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor suddenly becomes more contemporary, more relevant, more alive.

Virginia Smith & friend

The world is watching the course of the relationship of Prince Harry and actress Megan Markle. We cannot help but harken back to the turbulent romance, and the abdication of The Duke to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.  Theirs was a story of Shakespearean proportions, and its turbulent history  came to vivid life at The Redwood Library, when author and book publisher Richard René Silvin brought a priceless collection of slides to tell the Wagnerian tale in detail ( think Tristan and Isolde).

Dr. Robert Versteeg, Rene Silvin & Ford Ballard

To a completely overflowing house, Mr. Silvin (who had actually met the Duchess), recounted the early life of the Duke, his military service, and his meeting with Mrs. Simpson.  When he became King Edward VIII, marriage to a divorcée was against the Church of England's rules, and he chose abdication to marry the woman he loved.  The Royal Family would not recognize or meet her for an overlong time, although King George VI created the title Duchess of Windsor.

Ellen Barnes, Mary Shepard & Anna Templeton-Cohill

Moving to the continent, France, then to the Bahamas (Where the Duke became Governor), and then to Palm Beach and New York, these Royals created a fascinating presence and wake. Sought after in Palm Beach society, and the Duchess subsequently becoming a member of New York society, she was finally accepted by the royal family and met Queen Elizabeth II in l967.  The titles were retired upon the death of the principals, and there will never be another Duke or Duchess of Windsor.

David & Carol Brodsky check in

Her Paris couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, called the Duchess “four pins”, as "everything was perfect, nothing was out of place”,t hat was all it took to fit her clothing. And she was the darling of vendors and jewelers.

Through charming anecdotes and period slides, the whole story lived again.


After the lecture, Mr. Silvin spoke with guests, and graciously signed copies of one of his books, "Noblesse Oblige", talking about the Duke and Duchess’ visit to Newport as guests of Bob and Anita Young at their mansion, Fairholme.


Seen were Ford Ballard, Mary and Doug Riggs (who introduced the speaker, Amaro Temptleton Cohill, David and Carolyn Brodsky, and Dale Clark

                                                                       —Linda Phillips

Slide Images courtesy of Silvin Books & Productions.  For further information, go to

The Harrison Room pre-lecture


Friend & Mary Riggs


Waiting for the speaker


Mr. Silvin being introduced by Doug Riggs before his presentation


The Duke's young life


Prince of Wales leaving on the Renown during a world tour


Early images of Wallis Simpson


The audience overflowed into the Library


Wallis & Edward become a couple


The yacht Nahlin the Windsors used to the cruise the Mediterranean


The tabloids followed the romance


Time Magazine’s first Woman of the year.


At the Rothschild's outside Vienna, Austria


Chateau de Cande where they were married, with 7 in attendance


Their small hideaway in Cap d'Antibes, France


War comes to Europe


The Duke serves as Governor of The Bahamas


Hubert de Givenchy comments on fitting the Duchess


King George VI


An interview with Edward R. Murrow in New York


Happily settled in Palm Beach


Meeting the Queen at Marboro House


With the Queen at Marlboro House


Posing with President & Pat Nixon at The White House


An Impromptu interview at Le Bois


With Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth & Prince Charles


The Duchess' last trip to New York


The Duchess' last known outing


Interred next to her husband,


John Primiano & Dick Brickley


Mr. Silvin discusses his book with a guest


Mr. Silvin with a photo of The Duke & Duchess in Newport at Fairholme


Railroad tycoon Robert Young and wife Anita (siser of painter Georgia O'Keeefe) entertain the Windors in Newport, late 1950's



















































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