- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2000

A book that will claim that the duke of Windsor was cuckolded by a homosexual playboy has caused controversy among historians.

According to "Dancing with the Devil," to be published this spring, the duchess of Windsor had a four-year affair with the American multimillionaire Jimmy Donahue, betraying the duke, who had given up his throne for her.

The author, Christopher Wilson, claims that the former Edward VIII was so pathetically grateful for the continued presence of his wife that he endured her perverse relationship with Mr. Donahue rather than challenge and lose her.

The book states that the American-born Wallis Simpson was 54 when she fell in love with Jimmy Donahue, the 34-year-old grandson of five-and-dime magnate F.W. Woolworth.

She had been married to the duke for 13 years and had become frustrated by his suffocating dependence upon her and the cold-shouldering of George VI and the British establishment.

She encountered Mr. Donahue, a homosexual, at his mother's house in Palm Beach in 1941.

The Windsors and Mr. Donahue became inseparable from 1950 through 1954, when the couple relied on the playboy to finance their expensive lifestyle.

Although the close friendship was widely commented upon, Mr. Donahue's homosexuality led historians to believe there to be no basis for an affair.

But in his forthcoming book, Mr. Wilson quotes surviving friends of the royal couple, and members of Mr. Donahue's family, in corroboration of his disclosure that the duchess became so infatuated with the playboy that she even discussed divorce.

Mr. Wilson says that in the end only the intervention of Mr. Donahue's mother prevented the plan's execution: She threatened to cut her son off without a cent if he attempted to wreck the royal marriage.

The book further asserts that the duke became so depressed by his wife's infatuation that when he was crossing the Atlantic in pursuit of her, a friend accompanying him became so convinced that the former king was contemplating suicide that he refused to allow him out on deck alone at night.

But when the duke was reunited with his wife in New York after a month's separation, he allowed Mr. Donahue to pick up restaurant bills and pay for vacations.

He even accepted a pair of diamond cufflinks from him. The affair ended abruptly after a dispute among the threesome while they vacationed in Europe in 1954. Mr. Donahue died of drink and drugs in 1966.

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