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Ernest Aldrich Simpson (May 6, 1895November 30, 1958) was a British shipping executive best known as the second husband of Wallis Simpson, who later would marry the former Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. He worked for the shipbroker Simpson, Spence & Young.


Born in New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker, and educated at Harvardmarker, Simpson was briefly a captain in the Coldstream Guards during World War I. His father, Ernest Louis Simpson, a cofounder of the international shipbroker of Simpson, Spence & Young in 1880, was a British citizen whose original surname had been Solomon. His mother, Charlotte Woodward Gaines, was American, daughter of Royal Aldrich Gaines, a New York lawyer, and his wife, the former Laura Walker. He had an elder sister, Maud (married Peter Kerr-Smiley, MP, in 1905, and died 1962).

Simpson renounced his United States citizenship shortly after leaving Harvard and became a naturalized British citizen.

"In his younger years he was described as tall, with blue eyes, blond, curly hair, a neat blond moustache and a fastidious dresser," according to an article in The New York Times.

First marriage

His first wife, whom he married in New York City, New York, on 22 February 1923 (divorced 1928) was Dorothea Parsons Dechert (died 1967), the former wife of James Flanagan Dechert. She was a daughter of Arthur Webb Parsons, a lawyer, and his wife, the former Frances Margaret Graves. The bride was a great-granddaughter of Theophilus Parsons, a Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Courtmarker and a president of Harvard Universitymarker.

Dorothea and Ernest Simpson had one child, Audrey Simpson, who married, firstly, American journalist Murray J. Rossant and, secondly, on 1 April 1949, New York advertising executive Edmund Hope Driggs III. Audrey Simpson Driggs, as she is now known, is an artist and currently lives in Canada. Simpson also had a stepdaughter by this marriage, Cynthia Josephine Dechert (Mrs Robert Harold Baker, Mrs Henry Coolidge Adams Jr, Mrs Imbrie).

Second marriage

His second wife was Wallis Warfield Spencer (1896–1986), a former wife of Earl Winfield Spencer, Jr. and the only child of Teackle Wallis Warfield and his wife, Alice Montague. They were married in London, England, on July 21, 1928, and divorced on May 3, 1937. As his obituary in The New York Times noted, the publicity over his second wife's remarriage to the Duke of Windsor and her subsequent fame thrust him into the role of "the forgotten man." The two remained friends, however, the newspaper noted, with the now Duchess of Windsor sending him flowers when he was in hospital for surgery and Simpson offering advice and clarification when his former wife was working on her memoirs.

Third marriage

His wife was Mary Huntemuller Kirk (1896–1941), former wife of Jacques Achille Louis Raffray, a French-born New York insurance broker, and a daughter of Henry Child Kirk, owner and manager of the Kirk Silversmith Co. of Baltimore, Marylandmarker, and his wife, the former Edith Huntemuller.

A girlhood friend of Wallis Warfield, Mary Raffray was a bridesmaid at Warfield's first wedding and introduced her to Ernest Simpson in 1925; she also was the other woman with whom Simpson took a hotel suite in Berkshire in order to give his wife, Wallis, evidence of adultery to so she could bring divorce proceedings against him. Ernest Simpson and Mary Raffray were married in the Diamond Jubilee ballroom of the Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfieldmarker, Connecticutmarker, on November 19, 1937, six months after the groom's divorce from Wallis Simpson and three weeks after the bride's divorce from Raffray (whom she had married 29 July 1918). Mary Simpson died of cancer on October 2, 1941, at the couple's home in Wiltshiremarker, Englandmarker.

Mary and Ernest Simpson had one child, Ernest Henry Simpson, who was born prematurely on September 29, 1939, and christened at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracksmarker, London. He changed his name legally after 1958 to Aharon Solomons and became a soldier in the Israeli army.

Fourth marriage

His fourth wife was Avril Joy Mullens (1910–November 28, 1978), the former wife of Brigadier General Hugh Nugent Leveson-Gower, RA, a former wife of H.S.H. Prince George G. Imeretinsky, and the younger daughter of Sir John Ashley Mullens, of Manor House, Haslemeremarker, Surreymarker, by his wife, Evelyne Maude Adamson. Simpson and Avril Leveson-Gower were married in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, on August 12, 1948. By this marriage he had one stepdaughter, Lucinda Gaye Leveson-Gower (born 1935, married Sir Spencer Le Marchant in 1955). Avril Simpson was killed in a car crash in Mexico.


Ernest Aldrich Simpson died in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, of throat cancer.


  5. "Mrs Rossant Is Bride of Edward Driggs 3d", The New York Times, 2 April 1949
  6. She was the sister of author E. Buckner Kirk Hollingsworth, who dedicated her book Her Garden was Her Delight to her memory. Mary Kirk Simpson's letters, along with her sister's, reside in the Harvard University archives.
  7. Raffray married, on 2 December 1937, former stage actress Constance de Bower (née Constance Edna Farber, 1898-1987), the former wife of Herbert F. de Bower. He died on 5 March 1971.

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