It’s hard for us to imagine now, but during a certain era, people thought of Wallis Simpson as the woman who nearly brought down the British monarchy singlehandedly. Had Edward VIII not fallen for this scandalous American divorcée, the world would surely be a different place. So how did Simpson come to change the course of history? Let’s find out.

1. She Was Born Into Privilege

Wallis Simpson lived much of her life in the lap of luxury, and her birth was no different. Born Bessie Wallis Warfield, her wealthy parents—both from wealthy Baltimore families—were vacationing at a ritzy Pennsylvania resort when she came into the world in June of 1896. The circumstances of her birth lived up to her later life in more ways than one.

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