URGENT Duchess Of Windsor Buried Beside Her DukeEDITH M. LEDERER , Associated Press
Apr. 29, 1986 12:56 PM ET
WINDSOR, ENGLAND WINDSOR, England (AP) _ The royal family buried the Duchess of Windsor today beside the king who gave up the British throne to marry her, thus honoring the American divorcee in death after shunning her in life.
Led by Queen Elizabeth II, 175 mourners ranging from royalty to the duchess' faithful butler and chauffeur kneeled in prayer for the woman whose romance with King Edward VIII rocked Britain 50 years ago.
The duchess, who died Thursday in Paris at age 89, was buried beside her husband in a polished oak coffin bearing a single wreath from the queen. The wreath was made of flowers freshly picked at Windsor Castle.
The plaque on the casket said simply: ''Wallis, Duchess of Windsor 1896-1986,'' without the ''HRH'' - Her Royal Highness - which the Duke of Windsor had unsuccessfully sought for his wife.
The ceremony in Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel was conducted by the Church of England, which 50 years earlier had been in the forefront of opposition to the king, its temporal head, marrying the twice-divorced Baltimore socialite.
The 30-minute service, conducted by the Dean of Windsor Rev. Michael Mann, included no eulogies and no direct references to the duchess.
At the service, the queen was flanked by her husband, Prince Philip, her son and heir Prince Charles and his wife Princess Diana, her daughter Princess Anne and Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
Eight Welsh Guards then carried the coffin, which had been flown to Britain Sunday from Paris, to a seven-car cortege which went to the royal family's private cemetery at Frogmore Gardens on the Windsor Castle grounds.
Only 15 people attended the burial - the queen, Philip, Charles and Diana, Grace, Countess of Dudley who was an old friend of the Windsors, two royal household aides, the dean of Windsor and seven members of the duchess' Paris household who flew to England for the funeral.
The duchess was laid to rest beside the duke, who died in 1972 at age 77 and whose burial in England began a slow reconciliation between the royals and the widow. It had been their wish to be buried together in England.
Edward abdicated in 1936 and married Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson in France the following year. Retitled the Windsors, they spent their lives in virtual exile imposed by the royal family, living in a mansion outside Paris. Although she occasionally visited England privately, the duchess called it a land ''I shall hate to my grave.''
Among mourners in the chapel were Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and opposition leader Neil Kinnock, U.S. Ambassador Charles Price, Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, widow of the best man at the Windsors' marriage, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and Lady Diana Mosley, widow of the 1930s British fascist leader.
Royals absent from the service were the queen's sister Princess Margaret, and the queen's sons Andrew and Edward. The explanation given by aides was that they barely knew the duchess.
Flags flew at half-staff in the little town of Windsor, 22 miles west of London, in honor of the duchess, and wreaths and bouquets poured into Windsor Castle from all over the world. Many of the wreaths were made up of white lilies, reputedly the duchess' favorite flower.
Windsor florists said they were swamped with orders. ''We have had orders from all over Britain and America, and from Germany and France,'' said florist Kim Curley.
London's Daily Mail newspaper, which is serializing letters between Mrs. Simpson and the king, printed 16 letters today written in 1935 and the first days of 1936, when his father King George V was dying and Edward was about to become king.
She chided him in one letter for his ''selfish and thoughtless'' behavior in dealing with her husband, who was still very much in the picture.
''Sometmes I think you haven't grown up where love is concerned and perhaps it's only a boyish passion for surely it lacks the thought for me that a man's love is capable of,'' she said, adding that she feared he might always remain ''Peter Pan.''
In early 1936 he wrote to her that his father was dying. ''You are all and everything I have in life and WE (short for Wallis and Edward) must hold each other so tight. It will all work out for us,'' he wrote.
After George V died on Jan. 20, 1936, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin issued an ultimatum to the new king: give up Mrs. Simpson or abdicate. The king chose ''the woman I love'' and relinquished sovereignty over a quarter of the world's population. The couple lived mainly in France for the rest of their lives.
The duchess receded from public view after her husband's death and became bedridden during her later years.
Her nurse, Elvire Gozin, said she would sometimes call out in the night '' 'David, David, where is my love?' Her love for him never died. For her it was a love forever.''