The Woman before Wallis:
A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and
Royal Scandals

by Bryn Turnbull

This debut novel is based on the life of Thelma Morgan Viscountess Furness who was a mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) before Wallis Simpson. In fact, Thelma introduced the pair. Thelma’s twin sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, became entangled in a notorious court battle for custody of her daughter, Little Gloria, after her husband died. Little Gloria was the heir to an impressive Vanderbilt fortune, and Gloria was allowed only to spend interest from the fortune to take care of Little Gloria. The Vanderbilts wanted Little Gloria in the United States and her mother wanted them to live in Europe. Thelma was a character witness for her sister at the trial. Everyone wanted to keep Edward away from any publicity which could detract from the royal family and Edward’s future role as king of England. Eventually Edward and Thelma drifted apart.

For enthusiasts of anything royal and fans of the Netflix series “The Crown”. Thelma was a real-life socialite who became part of British upper-crust society with her marriage and later association with Edward.


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