Wallis Simpson wedding
This photograph of the French wedding of Edward, Duke of Windsor to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson on June 3 1937, was part of a collection of 17 that were hammered down at an auction at Bellmans for £9200.

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The lot comprised 17 original photographs of the wedding of Edward, Duke of Windsor, to the divorcee Wallis Simpson on June 3 1937, which took place at the Chateau de Cande in France.  

Edward VIII had abdicated the previous year – 80 years ago this month – to be with Simpson, passing the throne to his brother, then the Duke of York, who would become George VI.

The photographs were offered at Bellmans Auctioneers in Sussex with a £4000-6000 estimate. After interest both online and in the room, the lot was hammered down at £9200 to an absentee buyer who left a bid with the auctioneer ahead of the sale.

There were few guests at the nuptials of the former Edward VIII and his American bride and five reporters were assigned to cover the event, almost outnumbering the guests.

The official photographer was Cecil Beaton but this set of photographs sold at Bellmans were taken by Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, wife of the Duke's friend Fruity Metcalfe with a ‘rogue’ camera. She died in 1995, having outlived all the other guests.

Wallis Simpson wedding 2

This photograph is one of 17 ‘unofficial’ images of the French wedding of Edward, Duke of Windsor to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The set of photographs include images of the bride and groom, their wedding guests, the wedding breakfast table, the floral arrangements by Constance Spry and a seven-tier cake.

This set was presented to Mr W Cunningham Graham, the British Consul at Nantes, who was a guest at the marriage.

Denise Kelly at Bellmans, who sold the photographs at its Wisborough Green saleroom in West Sussex on November 30, described the lot as “of the greatest rarity – not least because of the use of a rogue camera at such an event”.

She added: “It is unusual to receive consignments of any such private royal photographs, but having 17 of them in one lot, which represent the king who gave away his empire for the woman he loved, is extraordinary.”

Bellmans buyer’s premium is 20%.