EXCLUSIVE: At a moment of endless fascination and controversy involving the Royal Family, what better time to mount a movie about Wallis Simpson, the woman who prompted King Edward VIII to abdicate the crown in 1936? The Gotham Group has closed a rights deal for The American Duchess: The Real Wallis Simpson by New York Times-bestselling author Anna Pasternak.
The film will be produced by The Gotham Group’s Lee Stollman and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, with the author exec producing. In light of shows like The Crown – which told a fascinating story about how a young Queen Elizabeth was forced to confront Edward for his actions as a Hitler booster — Downton Abbey, and the CNN series The Windsors, to say nothing of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s public abdication and the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew, there’s seemingly not enough stories to sate the world’s appetite for the British royals.
“Now that our American duchess, Meghan, has moved back to Hollywood, never has it been timelier to consider the fate of the original American duchess, Wallis Simpson. As both could attest, life has always been difficult for women marrying into Britain’s royal family,” said Pasternak.
Book was published last year by the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria. Pasternak focuses on Simpson’s beginnings as a divorced American socialite who was not welcomed by 1930s Britain when she entered into a relationship with King Edward VIII. That’s understatement. She became one of the most vilified women of the 20th century, opposition against her so fierce that in order to marry the woman he loved, Edward was forced to surrender the throne. Using fresh insider accounts, the author explored how a warm, intelligent woman was systematically undermined, and how twisted gossip and public distrust have always haunted women who dare to fall for a British royal. The book is up for The Wolfson History Prize 2020 and the paperback is coming April 14th.