The woman whose love was worth more than the throne of England

Happy Valentine’s Day! Thanks to everyone who showed up for the Mount Vernon Valentine’s Tour this past Sunday. One of our favorite stories from the tour was the story of Baltimore’s Wallis Simpson and her marriage to Edward VIII: a man who gave up the throne of England to be with the woman he loved. Nathan Dennies, one of our volunteer writers and a student at the University of Baltimore, has finished writing a great story on Wallis’ time living with her mother and stepfather at 212 East Biddle Street:

Wallis Simpson's home during the time it was a museum. Image courtesy of "That Woman" by Anne Sebba.
Wallis Simpson’s home during the time it was a museum.
Image courtesy of “That Woman” by Anne Sebba.

The house on 212 East Biddle Street had three bedrooms: one for Wallis, one for her mother,and another that Wallis assumed was a guest bedroom. Little did she know that her mother was planning on remarrying and the extra bedroom would soon become the room of her new stepfather, John Freeman Rasin, son of the head of the Baltimore Democratic Party, Carroll Rasin. Wallis was crushed. She had envisioned a life of independence with her mother, free from relying on the financial help of others. Wallis threatened to run away, but reluctantly came to terms with her mother’s decision.

The marriage was held in the parlor of their home on June 20, 1908. The climax of the wedding came when Wallis, perhaps out of spite, snuck off to the kitchen and dug her hands into the cake in search of the good-luck tokens hidden inside. When her mother and stepfather came into the kitchen and saw the ruined cake, they stood speechless. Suddenly, Mr. Rasin laughed, picked Wallis up, and twirled her in the air. This act of forgiveness touched the young Wallis, and she never gave her stepfather any more trouble.

Read the full piece on Explore Baltimore Heritage. Don’t forget to download our free Explore Baltimore Heritage app for iPhone and Android!

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