The Duke and his Duchess

Madonna’s much-anticipated 2011 film, W.E., includes [though does not center exclusively around] the infamous Duke Edward and his American Duchess of Windsor, style icons of the aristocracy who lived a life of leisure together from the late 30s until Duke Edward’s death in 1972. Wildly controversial at the time, Edward’s affair with the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson ultimately led him to abdicate the throne in 1937, forever changing the course of the British monarchy and enraging many in his wake, not least of all his family.

Known for their impeccable style, Wallis was always decked out in classic, slender column-style dresses or skirtsuits, the only adornment one of her many exquisite brooches, while the Duke tended to dress more in the vein of a quirky English gentleman.
Nearly always photographed together, the couple cut a sharp silhouette which remains iconic to this day.

To see still images of the upcoming film, which stars Abbie Cornish as the Duchess, check out Stylesight’s latest trend watch Screen Style: Coming in 2011+2012. Photos of the real deal are below.

On their wedding day, May 1937.                                                    In matching garb, late 1930s.

Wedding gown detail, courtesy of Metropolitan                           The Duchess as shot by Irving Penn, 1947 Museum of Art.

Stylish even on the hunt                                                                           In Palm Beach, 1941

In the south of France, 1951                                                                             The Duchess’ Goyard Luggage

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