Magazine article The New Yorker

SIR GUY Series: 2/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

SIR GUY Series: 2/5

Article excerpt

In times of conflict, the quest for cheering news becomes more urgent by the day. What is required is a prime slice of international gossip, and none is more succulent and sustaining than that dished up, over the centuries, by the British Royal Family. This time, as if by popular demand, the Firm--as the Windsor clan is sometimes known, lending it a heavy-browed influence on which Tony Soprano would hesitate to trespass--has surpassed itself.

Documents released by the Public Record Office on January 30th shed a fresh and delectable light on the abdication crisis of 1936, when King Edward VIII had to choose between his throne and his love for the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The nation trembled; but so, we now learn, did Mrs. Simpson. To be precise, she trembled at regular intervals in the arms of a car salesman named Guy Trundle.

This could not be better. It was splendid enough to be told that Mr. Trundle was the son of a minister, that he was married, that he kept a place in Mayfair, and that he enjoyed a silken reputation on the dance floor. But we also have a photograph of Mr. Trundle, and it happily confirms our most fervent hopes. There he stands, lapels as thick as baize, his hat brim tilted, like the sights of a rifle, toward any customer who might walk in wearing pearls. He evidently hails from that all but extinct species known as the Ladies' Man, and, on a quiet morning at the dealership, one can still hear the ghost of his patter: "Latest model, two-seater, but, as I always say, what's wrong with two? Not sure if you know about engines, but, let me tell you, there's something pretty nifty under that hood. Go on, hop in. Feel that walnut. Tell you what, let's take her for a spin. Brighton, if you fancy. Spot of fizz, a dozen oysters, and see how the afternoon unwinds. Here, let me help you with that hand brake."

Well, it worked for Mrs. Simpson, who was tailed by officers from the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police as she pursued her unsuitable amour. From a distance, of course, Wise Guy seems infinitely more suited to her needs than Edgy Edward, on whose conduct in the boudoir it would be cruel to speculate, but whose features, at once blank and aggrieved, point to a vain and lifelong struggle with his own fly buttons. …

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