Madonna Portrays a Royal Windsor Scandal with Her Film “W.E.”

Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy play the Duke and Duchess of Windsor

To enjoy this period film about a royal and historic Windsor love story/scandal, ignore all the criticism about Madonna’s directing debut and open your heart to the lush costumes and accessories. For there are many and the reward is great.

Set in pre WWII-England, the story is about how King Edward VIII gave up the British throne to marry the woman he loved—a twice-divorced American named Wallis Simpson (“W.E.” as the two lovebirds called themselves, stands for Wallis and Edward).

After Edward abdicated the throne, the two became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Wallis became “the most despised woman in the world.”

The movie toggles between England in the mid-1930s and 1998 New York City, where a young woman named Wally finds herself besotted with the seemingly romantic royal story as an escape from her unhappy marriage. She spends hours at Sotheby’s gazing upon items from the Windsor estate, which are up for auction and serve as pivot points for historic flashbacks.

To create historical accuracy and silver screen vibrancy for the main character’s 60 costume changes (into the likes of Balenciaga, Dior and Schiaparelli, to name a few), Madonna commissioned the couture houses to create dresses for the film as the originals are currently housed in museums. Costume designer Arianne Phillips also created original apparel and accessories to fit seamlessly into the era.

Jewelry Fit for a Queen

Due to the scandal that rocked the world, Wallis never earned the title Her Royal Highness. To make her feel special, not to mention royal, Edward lavished her with exquisite jewelry.

In the spirit of cinematic accuracy, Phillips established contacts with Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to replicate a cross bracelet and 10 other famous pieces of jewelry owned by the Duchess. Also look for incredible hats, gloves, cigarette cases, pill boxes, purses and other accessories from the mid-30s.

The film also picked up two Golden Globe nominations—one for best original score and best original song—so try to just sit back, enjoy the show and not let all the scuttlebutt about who directed it get in your way.

To view the trailer, click here.

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Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Lauren Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Accessories Magazine &
As Editor-in-Chief of Accessories for the past 14 years, Lauren Parker has covered women's fashion accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. She frequently judges industry design competitions and loves seeing the next generation of designers come into their own. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including women's fashion accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.