Wallis Simpson, previously Wallis Spencer, later the Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; 19 June 1896 – 24 April 1986), was an American socialite whose third husband, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, abdicated his throne to marry her.
Wallis's father died shortly after her birth, and she and her widowed mother were partly supported by their wealthier relatives. Her first marriage, to U.S. naval officer Win Spencer, was punctuated with periods of separation and eventually ended in divorce. In 1934, during her second marriage, to Ernest Simpson, she allegedly became the mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales. Two years later, after Edward's accession as King, Wallis divorced her second husband and Edward proposed to her.
The King's desire to marry a woman with two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions. This prospect ultimately led to the King's abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After the abdication, the former king was created Duke of Windsor by his brother George VI. Edward married Wallis six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, without the style "Her Royal Highness".