Meghan Markle will soon be moving into Frogmore House, the Windsor family castle where another divorced American woman who married into the Royal Family, Wallis Simpson, is buried. However, the difference here is that Meghan’s marriage into the Windsors doesn’t look like it’s going to threaten the very existence of the British monarchy.
As Town and Country Magazine reports, it’s not uncommon for members of the Royal Family to be buried on the grounds of Royal residences. And Frogmore House is where Wallis Simpson and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge — who reigned briefly as Edward VIII — are buried.
Frogmore House is also where Meghan and Harry are going to make their home. The two are striking out from Kensington Palace, where they’ve lived next door to future King Prince William and his wife and their kids.
Perhaps ironically, Meghan has something in common with Wallis: both women are divorced Americans who married into the Royal Family. But while Wallis’ marriage caused a scandal that almost brought down the monarchy, Meghan’s marriage has caused little more than a few batted eyes and the rare bit of pearl-clutching among older Brits.
The middle 1930s were a different time across the Pond. British society, and in particular the Church of England — of which the monarch is the titular Head — were much more uptight about divorce than they are now.
— Woolley & Wallis (@WoolleyWallisEA) December 3, 2018
So when the Duke of Cambridge began a relationship with Baltimore-born, twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, it was scandalous beyond words. However, there was an even bigger problem: the Duke wanted to marry Wallis, and Church of England rules forbade a man from marrying a divorced woman whose ex-husband was still alive, as was the case with Wallis. Such a man could most certainly not be the titular Head of the very church that forbade it, let alone rule the country as King.
The Duke didn’t care for those rules at all, and gave his country an ultimatum: he could marry Wallis and be King, or he could marry Wallis and not be King, and live the rest of his days in exile. He chose the latter option, abdicating the throne after reigning briefly as King Edward VIII. On his abdication, his brother became King George VI, while the Duke and Duchess spent the rest of their lives flitting about in café society.
80 years later, Meghan Markle, another divorced American woman, married into the Windsors. Of course, by this time, times had changed. The Church of England has changed its rules on divorce — else Prince Charles, who is himself married to a divorced woman, would never be able to become King — society has lightened up, and Meghan is, by all accounts, almost universally beloved and accepted by not just the Windsors, but by the British public as well.
Still, two chapters of British history will have taken place, at least partially, at Frogmore House. But Meghan’s chapter is likely to have a much happier ending.