By Susan Z. Diamond
(Presented at a meeting of The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes by the author in 1993, and at a
meeting of The Hansom Wheels in Columbia, SC by your host’s Lovely and Vivacious Bride in 1999)



Let me ask you to go back with me in time — back to a time very much like our own — a time of financial difficulty and uncertainty — a time when the love life of the heir to the British throne was of great interest to most people.

The year is 1934 — the Prince of Wales is involved with a woman described by one biographer in the following terms: "her determination, her steely will, her fight to overcome her own deficiencies; her love of intrigue and her energetic dabbling in espionage; her pride in herself as an adventuress and a dominant woman who more than held her own in a world of men."

The British nation and the British government are shaken by the potential ramifications of the Prince’s romance. I submit to you that it is only natural that Stanley Baldwin and the powers that be would turn for help to the man who, in his brother’s words, was the British government. And it is equally natural that Mycroft Holmes, who was never comfortable with women, would turn to his brother Sherlock for assistance.

Ah, yes, I see your raised eyebrows: Sherlock, too, you say, was uncomfortable with

women. I answer, Perhaps. After all, as the late W. S. Baring-Gould proved conclusively, there was one woman the Master was comfortable with — comfortable enough, at least, to sire a son. And she, too, was an adventuress, a woman to whom the description I’ve just read might apply equally well.

Clearly, the Government and Mycroft’s goal was to end the Prince’s affair. Sherlock was undoubtedly called upon to meet with Mrs. Simpson, and meet with her he did ... on several occasions. He found an opponent worthy of his mettle — as resourceful as the late Irene Adler. They sparred.

And I suggest they went beyond sparring — the Master found the energy and vitality of this dynamic brash American woman intriguing. And she, who had the next King of England at her feet, found it even more exhilarating to have the world’s greatest detective evincing an interest in her. Besides, as history has shown, the Prince of Wales was both sexually inept and extremely jealous. While tête-à-têtes with most men might make him suspicious, the Prince would hardly suspect Wallis of having a liaison with an octogenarian detective who was known to dislike and distrust women.

At last events progressed beyond discussion. Wallis Simpson loved to play the game for the game’s sake — and viewed the Master as the ultimate sexual challenge. At the same time, she felt safe from pregnancy — after all, Holmes was in his 80s. On the other hand, the Master was prepared to make the supreme sacrifice to save his country from a major constitutional crisis. After intimacy had been achieved, he felt he could persuade Wallis to step aside.  However, the result of their liaison was something neither of them envisioned. Wallis became pregnant in April of 1934.

Holmes thought the pregnancy would destroy her hold on the Prince, but Wallis checkmated him. She pointed out that no one would believe the child was sired by an aging private detective, no matter how well fortified by the royal jelly of the queen bee. The assumption

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would be that the child was the Prince’s. Given the Prince’s insecurity about his sexual abilities (his two prior mistresses had intimated that he had ... well, shall we say, performance problems), he might even welcome the chance to prove his virility.

Fortunately, her slight body carried the additional weight well, though on an August voyage with the Prince, she spent days in her cabin, ostensibly from seasickness.

While she could not hide her condition from the Prince, she could tell him the child was his, thus flattering his always insecure ego, and that she would arrange for adoption. He agreed, and the child was carried to term. Towards the end of the pregnancy, her condition was impossible to conceal. Thus, the Prince went off alone to Sandringham to spend Christmas 1934 with his family.