In 1950, James Paul Donahue inherited a $15 million Woolworth's fortune and on the same day met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This book is the remarkable story of their extraordinary friendship. Jimmy Donahue was 35 when he met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He could fly a plane, speak several languages, play the piano, tell marvellous jokes. ...
In 1950, James Paul Donahue inherited a $15 million Woolworth's fortune and on the same day met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This book is the remarkable story of their extraordinary friendship. Jimmy Donahue was 35 when he met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He could fly a plane, speak several languages, play the piano, tell marvellous jokes. He was loved and, within the confines of AmericaAs upper class, he was notorious. People loved his wit, charm and generosity. He would shower friends with expensive gifts and flowers, seize bills in clubs and restaurants and lavishly tip waiters. His Fifth Avenue apartment became the backdrop for a series of infamous parties. Jimmy's sexual exploits - until he met the Duchess - were strictly homosexual, at a time when the homosexual act was still illegal. The Duchess was 54 - 19 years his senior - but the sexual attraction between them was instant. Jimmy, the Duke and the Duchess became inseparable - and Jimmy always paid. But the depth of the burgeoning sexual relationship between Donahue and the Duchess took its toll on the Duke, who began to drink heavily to wile away the lonely hours while his wife and her consort spent time together. She became increasingly obsessed by Jimmy and he, in turn, robbed her of her reputation and her last shreds of judgment. In the end, after passionate highs and desperate lows, the relationship deteriorated so badly it was abandoned by all. Donahue was never the same man again. He died alone in 1966 from acute alcoholic and barbiturate poisoning. His friends said he killed himself over an unrequited homosexual love.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-11-20 Those interested in the empty but privileged lives of American Wallis Simpson (1896-1986) and her husband, the duke of Windsor (1894-1972), who renounced the British throne for her in 1936, will be absorbed by this gossipy story of a strange love triangle. After the abdication, the royal family refused to accept the duchess, so the Windsors embarked on a life of travel and conspicuous consumption. In 1950, they befriended Jimmy Donahue (1915-1966), a playboy and an heir to the Woolworth fortune. Although Donahue was 19 years younger than the duchess and an active homosexual, the two began an amorous relationship that lasted four years. According to the author, despite the Windsors' epic romance, the duchess was apparently unfulfilled sexually (though she did, according to an unnamed source, indulge her husband's foot fetish and interest in masochism). Donahue's mother, Jessie, controlled his purse strings, because her son had repeatedly demonstrated his recklessness, but she approved of his relationship with the duchess. Jessie and her son paid for the Windsors' extravagances in exchange for using the royal connection for social advancement. Wilson, a London journalist and observer of royal romance (A Greater Love: Prince Charles's Twenty Year Affair with Camilla Parker Bowles), writes in a brisk, entertaining style, but there is little here to justify his description of Donahue?a self-indulgent substance abuser?as charming. Indeed, Donahue took pleasure in scandalizing those in his social circle; for instance, he would strip or display his genitals to waiters and party guests, and he enjoyed cuckolding Edward Windsor. The duke, who not only endured his wife's affair in silence but accepted gifts from her lover, did, however, eventually call a halt to the relationship. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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