Article 115

The Windsor Love Film You May Never See

A TV film drama about the Duke of Windsor made in Hollywood and described there as "the greatest love story of the century," is being cold-shouldered by Britain.

The Americans paid huge fees to Richard Chamberlain, of the Dr Kildare series, and Faye Dunaway, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, to portray the King and Mrs Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he gave up his throne 36 years ago.

Studios chiefs calculated that the film, entitled The Woman I Love, must have instant appeal to world-wide audiences. But they have made a mistake about reaction over here. While the people of Britain are mourning the Duke's death I asked officials at Buckingham Palace and in British TV: "Will this picture about the Duke's love affair ever be allowed on our TV screens?"

The answer was an emphatic NO from television chiefs.

And there was a sigh of relief from people close to the Queen.

Sir Lew Grade, the ATV chief, made it clear he had no intention of hiring this hour-long picture for his channel.

"We don't need the Americans to make documentaries about our Royal Family," he said. "We carried a half-hour programme about the Duke the other night, and that's enough."

"The man had a fantastic, wonderful life. He was a marvellous person."

"I don't think it would be right to go back, so soon, over those past years of his life."

Sir Lew added: "I don't think the other ITV companies will be interested, either.

Salesmen for the American company, which created The Woman I Love, have tried to sell the film to the BBC. No luck there.

"We won't be buying it." Said an executive at Television Centre. "We don't think it will be shown in Britain."

The fictional film story is said to be based on fact. But Hollywood TV-makers are unrivalled at adding glossy trimmings.

There are lashings of make-believe dialogue, glimpses of a touching romance in various hideaways, even an embrace a few hours after Edward VIII's abdication speech.

Now the film company are so concerned at reaction in Britain that they are not allowing even the script to be published in this country.

But here are some examples of the action:

At the first screen meeting between the King and Mrs Simpson at Fort Belvedere he kisses her to the strains of that old tune, Avalon.

He tells her later: "It is my fault. You're being humiliated, sensationalised, because I am who I am."

To which Mrs Simpson replies: "Oh, David. You're marvellous."

"Everyone else in the more or less civilised world sees it just the other way around. Your name and future threatened because I am who I am. A commoner, an American, a divorcee."

Then the King says: "Everyone else is wrong. The King is always right."

But his mother, Queen Mary, plainly disagrees with him, according to a gem of dialogue in her sitting room.

"Unfortunately, the lady is not suitable," she says.

"She has been twice divorced. Both husbands are still living..."

The film shows the ex-King, now the Duke, and his companion sharing tender moments on a beach.

They hold hands and talk about the happiest days of their life. And there is another embrace.

I understand reports of this scene, depicting their secret love, upset the Duke of Windsor.

But Mr David Victor, the film's executive producer, has always maintained he was striving for good taste in giving the facts a fictional gloss.