UK

Wallis Simpson's 'sensuous' style up for auction

  • 28 February 2011
  • From the section UK
A pink chiffon nightdress and matching capelet, an ivory chiffon nightdress and a scarlet chiffon nightdress with capelet and full length cape.
Image caption A selection of the duchess's nightdresses are set to go under the hammer

Items once owned by Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom Edward VIII renounced the throne, are set to be sold in an auction.

A collection of her lingerie, handbags and luggage will be auctioned next week in central London.

A scarlet chiffon nightdress from the 1940s to early 1950s is expected to fetch up to £1,000.

Proceeds from the sale, at Kerry Taylor Auctions, will go to the Dodi International Charitable Foundation.

It helps children in need of medical care and their families in Egypt, UK, France and US.

Contents of the home occupied by the couple, who were later made the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were bought by former Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed.

He bought the contents of their home on the Bois de Bologne, in Paris, when the duchess died in 1986. He later sold much of it in 1998.

Some items were held back and later donated to a charity which was set up in memory of his son, Dodi, who died with the princess of Wales in a 1997 Paris car crash.

Nightwear collection

One of the star lots is expected to be a Christian Dior black crocodile handbag from 1964, worth up to £8,000, which is engraved with a special date for the couple.

Its clasps bear the initials of Wallis and Edward and the date "30 X 1934".

In October 1934 the royal took his future wife to Italy on a holiday, accompanied by her aunt Bessie as a token chaperone.

Image caption A vanity case made by Louis Vuitton is thought to be worth up to £10,000

One of the duchess's vanity cases, made by Louis Vuitton in the 1960s and worth up to £10,000, will also go under the hammer.

A spokeswoman for Kerry Taylor Auctions identified the duchess's nightwear as an attraction.

"The sublime bias-cut confections that were her nightwear give an intimation of the sensuousness and secret allure of the duchess," she said.

Commenting on her sense of style, the duchess once wrote: "My husband gave up everything for me... I'm not a beautiful woman. I'm nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.

"If everyone looks at me when I enter a room, my husband can feel proud of me. That's my chief responsibility."

There was widespread shock when Edward abdicated in 1936 to marry Mrs Simpson, an American divorcee.

They later went to live in France.

Last year Madonna began shooting a film about Edward's wife.

The singer co-wrote the movie, titled W.E, which she also directed.

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