Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu for once-in-a-lifetime event is hit or miss

Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu was put together for a single evening in 1956 as she marked a huge life moment

Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu revealed. Seen here in Paris
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Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu for a once-in-a-lifetime event is hit or miss but it showcases her royal taste.  

Whilst Princess Margaret’s extravagant lifestyle captured fans’ imaginations over the years and earned her a reputation as one of the most glamorous and rebellious royals, she wasn’t the only one to enjoy a little luxury. Wallis Simpson - the wife of King Edward VIII who abdicated - was no stranger to a spectacular and unique lifestyle herself. Not everyone will enjoy hearing about Wallis Simpson’s stomach-churning breakfast but when it comes to food she once went all out. 

According to The New Yorker, The Times reported that Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu was put on for a once-in-a-lifetime event in February 1956 in New York. She apparently opted for a black velvet Dior suit that was a far cry from Kate Middleton’s dresses and stayed in a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria to mark the publication of her biography, The Heart Has Its Reasons.

Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, wife of Edward VIII

(Image credit: Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

This turned out to be her first and only book, making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience and she reportedly invited 90 members of the press to enjoy very specific foods and beverages. Wallis Simpson’s menu made available for her guests is said to have included “six pounds of caviar” and “300 Clams Casino” - a recipe that sees clams cooked with bacon and with breadcrumbs sprinkled on top and served in half a shell.

When it comes to drinks she supposedly had “liquid refreshments ranging from pink champagne to milk”. Milk is an unusual drink to accompany these rich fish dishes and the choice of food is also very surprising for a royal. 

It’s believed that shellfish is one of the common foods the Royal Family are banned from eating themselves at big occasions. However, she might not have eaten the clams herself and by 1956 she and the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward, weren’t undertaking royal engagements. 

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, Holding an Umbrella

(Image credit: Photo by Toni Frissell/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

It seems that those who don't eat seafood for any reason didn’t have much alternative with six pounds of caviar and 300 clams to be eaten making this somewhat hit or miss. Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu for this one off event wasn’t the only glamorous part of the evening. She apparently had a “Valentine-shaped” brooch on her arm and declared she wore her “heart on [her] sleeve”. 

She and the Duke of Windsor were married in 1937 and long before their controversial nuptials, Wallis Simpson’s astrologer predicted an eerily accurate outcome for her future high-profile life. The Duchess’ astrologer reportedly told her, “You will lead a woman’s life, marrying, divorcing, marrying again, with several serious emotional crises. The power that is to come to you will be related to a man.” 

Duke and Duchess of Windsor aboard SS United States

(Image credit: Bettmann via Getty)

Wallis married three times and was with the Duke of Windsor until he passed away, though she never received the title Her Royal Highness. Despite this, Wallis Simpson’s bizarrely luxurious menu to mark her 400-page biography’s publication shows that she still enjoyed many aspects of a glamorous royal life like her niece Princess Margaret went on to do.  

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!