It Seems Like Yesterday: Aboard the Queen Mary with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor


Once when i was photographing the Duke of Windsor, a reporter asked about the dark blue suit with a large white check he was wearing. The Duke replied, “Savile Row. I’ve had it a long time.” The Duchess chimed in, “You will always find the tailor’s name and the date it was made in the right inside jacket pocket of a gentleman’s suit.”

Everyone knows the fairytale account of the December 11, 1936, abdication of King Edward VIII, who relinquished the throne of England to marry “the woman he loved,” the American divorcée Wallis Simpson.

After the war, the Windsors lived in Paris and spent much of their time in New York and Palm Beach as the guests of their many American friends.

In the photograph here, the Duke seemed melancholy; all I saw was sadness in his eyes. Obviously weary and bored, he might have been wondering what his life could have been. The Duchess did the talking. The Duke sat there hoping the interview would end soon. He didn’t show any enthusiasm or spirit, no anecdotes—his eyes were lifeless. In other words, to me, this was a broken man. 

Pictured, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor arrive in New York aboard the Queen Mary for one of their many visits to America, 1967.