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Friday, 9 June 2017

Denouement to the Love Affair of the Century



What had been billed as the “greatest love affair of the twentieth Century” culminated in marriage but, at least in terms of scale, it would not be the marriage of the century. The journalists lurking outside the venue vastly outnumbered the dozen or so guests brave the disapproval of Britain’s powers-that-be to attend the wedding of the ex-King. Randolph Churchill flitted between the two camps. Even the Anglican clergyman officiating at the religious ceremony had defied the instructions of his bishop to do so. Otherwise no expense had been spared: the celebrated organist Marcel Dupré had been engaged to play at the ceremony the inherent design of the Skinner organ at the Chateau de Candé meant that anyone who was mildly competent could play it just as well.[1] The bride was famous around the globe but went by a barely familiar name. The future Duchess of Windsor had adopted her maiden name for a few days adding a touch of the surreal as though becoming once again Wallis Warfield would eclipse the name Mrs. Wallis Simpson under which she had attained her status and by which she will still be known.

The harassed waiters of the cafés of nearby Monts struggling to cope with the influx of the world’s press might have drawn some comfort from the fact that Léon Blum’s Front Populaire government had struck a major blow to improve their status and self-worth in one of its final legislative acts. By a very narrow margin the Assembly approved a law banning tipping as a subversion of human dignity. Thus was ushered in the practice of a set service charge added to every bill.

Labour affairs were progressing rather less smoothly in the United Sates, where the steel strike escalated once again. One of the three companies targeted publicly announced that machine guns were being taken into one of the plants affected, naturally purely for “protective” reasons. Shots were being exchanged, some fatally. Strikers invaded the town of Lansing in a display of force which left the police powerless. The union appealed to the President to mediate.



[1] The keys act as switches playing the note in an entirely uniform manner. There is no scope for artistry in the keying.

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