From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to
the "maisons de rendezvous," luxurious chateaus in the French
countryside, "The Woman Before Wallis" recounts the untold story of
Prince Edward''s tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and
the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now.
Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdicated
his crown over his love for the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
But two decades earlier, he was an inexperienced young man,
stationed behind the lines during World War I, socializing with the
elite aristocracy of Europe while fellow soldiers were being
shelled in the trenches. Gradually, the awkward young man, who was
desperate to see action, became involved in a very different sort
of action--when his path crossed with the queen of the Paris
Marguerite Alibert was a beautiful but tough Parisian who had
fought her way up from street "gamine" to a woman "haut de gamme,"
possibly the highest-ranking courtesan in Paris. She entertained
some of the richest and most powerful men in the world--from
princes to pashas. When the inexperienced Prince Edward was
introduced to the alluring Marguerite, he was instantly smitten.
After their tumultuous love affair ended, Edward thought he was
free of Marguerite, but he was wrong. Several years later,
Marguerite murdered her husband--a wealthy Egyptian playboy--by
shooting him three times in the back at the Savoy Hotel in London.
When Marguerite stood trial for murder, Edward was at risk of
having his affair and behavior during the war exposed. What
happened next was kept from the public for decades, uncovered
thanks to exceptional access to unpublished documents held in the
Royal Archives and private collections in England and France.