Madonna Is Accused of Rewriting History in Abdication Movie

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), August 29, 2010 | Go to article overview

Madonna Is Accused of Rewriting History in Abdication Movie


Byline: Chris Hastings

MADONNA has been accused of distorting history in a film about Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson by portraying the King as an unlikely sex symbol and the late Queen Mother as a villainous plotter.

Insiders say the pop star's depiction of the couple at the centre of the 1936 Abdication crisis in W.E., her second film as a director, is overly sympathetic and largely unrecognisable. The [pounds sterling]18 million film, currently being shot in Britain and France and due for release next year, intersperses Edward's affair with the American divorcee with a love story set in 1998. In a further Royal controversy, Madonna, 52, has included a 'friendly' portrayal of Mohamed Al Fayed, who still insists the Princess of Wales and his son Dodi were murdered by the Royal establishment in 1997.

One source close to the project said: 'The portrayal is so far removed from reality they're almost unrecognisable to anyone who knows the facts. The film may work as entertainment but it certainly doesn't work as history.' Madonna's decision to play 'fast and loose' with facts has already caused problems. The Mail on Sunday can reveal she wanted Alastair Bruce, one of the Queen's Heralds and an Extra Equerry to the Earl and Countess of Wessex, to advise on the film. After he met the singer, Mr Bruce is believed to have declined because he was uncomfortable with the 'extreme' blurring of fact and fiction.

An insider said: 'Madonna's Edward is a Latin lover-type, a strong-willed macho figure, more than a match for a determined and outspoken Wallis.

'But in reality he was rather an effeminate figure who wasn't a greatlooking man. He was always slightly in awe of Wallis.' The source added: 'You could say he has become a sort of fantasy figure for Madonna. She is a strongwilled American like Wallis and she has dreamt up the sort of man who could deal with her.' Madonna is understood to have told British actor James D'Arcy, who plays Edward, to adopt a more confident tone than the real King to film the Abdication speech, in which he announced he would give up the throne to marry 'the woman I love'.

The move resolved the constitutional crisis of twice-divorced Mrs Simpson having two living ex-husbands. …

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