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From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to the maisons de rendezvous, luxurious châteaus in the French countryside, The Woman Before Wallis recounts the untold story of Prince Edward's tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now. Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdica From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to the maisons de rendezvous, luxurious châteaus in the French countryside, The Woman Before Wallis recounts the untold story of Prince Edward's tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now. Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdicated his crown over his love for the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But two decades earlier, he was an inexperienced young man, stationed behind the lines during World War I, socializing with the elite aristocracy of Europe while fellow soldiers were being shelled in the trenches. Gradually, the awkward young man, who was desperate to see action, became involved in a very different sort of action—when his path crossed with the queen of the Paris demimonde. Marguerite Alibert was a beautiful but tough Parisian who had fought her way up from street gamine to a woman haut de gamme, possibly the highest-ranking courtesan in Paris. She entertained some of the richest and most powerful men in the world—from princes to pashas. When the inexperienced Prince Edward was introduced to the alluring Marguerite, he was instantly smitten. After their tumultuous love affair ended, Edward thought he was free of Marguerite, but he was wrong. Several years later, Marguerite murdered her husband—a wealthy Egyptian playboy—by shooting him three times in the back at the Savoy Hotel in London. When Marguerite stood trial for murder, Edward was at risk of having his affair and behavior during the war exposed. What happened next was kept from the public for decades, uncovered thanks to exceptional access to unpublished documents held in the Royal Archives and private collections in England and France.


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From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to the maisons de rendezvous, luxurious châteaus in the French countryside, The Woman Before Wallis recounts the untold story of Prince Edward's tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now. Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdica From the glittering dance halls of Paris during World War I to the maisons de rendezvous, luxurious châteaus in the French countryside, The Woman Before Wallis recounts the untold story of Prince Edward's tempestuous affair with a Parisian courtesan and the scandalous aftermath that has remained secret until now. Prince Edward was the King of England when he famously abdicated his crown over his love for the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But two decades earlier, he was an inexperienced young man, stationed behind the lines during World War I, socializing with the elite aristocracy of Europe while fellow soldiers were being shelled in the trenches. Gradually, the awkward young man, who was desperate to see action, became involved in a very different sort of action—when his path crossed with the queen of the Paris demimonde. Marguerite Alibert was a beautiful but tough Parisian who had fought her way up from street gamine to a woman haut de gamme, possibly the highest-ranking courtesan in Paris. She entertained some of the richest and most powerful men in the world—from princes to pashas. When the inexperienced Prince Edward was introduced to the alluring Marguerite, he was instantly smitten. After their tumultuous love affair ended, Edward thought he was free of Marguerite, but he was wrong. Several years later, Marguerite murdered her husband—a wealthy Egyptian playboy—by shooting him three times in the back at the Savoy Hotel in London. When Marguerite stood trial for murder, Edward was at risk of having his affair and behavior during the war exposed. What happened next was kept from the public for decades, uncovered thanks to exceptional access to unpublished documents held in the Royal Archives and private collections in England and France.

30 review for The Woman Before Wallis: Prince Edward, the Parisian Courtesan, and the Perfect Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    A killer killing ! It was a hot and thundering night in London, July, 1923, when a stunning Frenchie (ex-courtesan) arrived at the Savoy Hotel w her 22 year-old Egyptian millionaire husband. She was ten years older and had only been married for six months. A few hours later he was dead. She admitted to shooting him, things got out of control...he had been demanding "sex acts" that -- never mind. The demi-mondaine (and former street hooker) was stressed. Her pink butt-hole hurt, she said. Mon Die A killer killing ! It was a hot and thundering night in London, July, 1923, when a stunning Frenchie (ex-courtesan) arrived at the Savoy Hotel w her 22 year-old Egyptian millionaire husband. She was ten years older and had only been married for six months. A few hours later he was dead. She admitted to shooting him, things got out of control...he had been demanding "sex acts" that -- never mind. The demi-mondaine (and former street hooker) was stressed. Her pink butt-hole hurt, she said. Mon Dieu. Andrew Rose notes that this society crimer reveals prejudices about sexuality and race: "It reflects a stubbornly illiberal streak in English society." Author Rose is fascinated x the 20s, and how England was still "shellshocked" after WW1. The lady in question, Marguerite Fahmy, was acquitted by a jury. After all, the dead man - Ali whatsis - was "an Oriental, effectively a black man," and most certainly bisexual, her lawyer argued. She also had love letters fr a royal. The sensational case centered on sex, but it was really about skin color. When the French press asked Mme if she'd inherit, she replied: "He's dead, isn't he?" Ali's reputation was a casuality of political interests and racism. Mme, who lived until 1971, soon partied w Czech and Austrian aristos, American vulgars, and violinist Fritz Kreisler. She never remarried. For true-crime & trial buffs, you can't top this murder at the Savoy. Chere Madame seen and cited in 1926 at the Chateau de Madrid, a Paris club: "Ablaze! Princess Fahmy in clothed in jewels and little else." "The Paris that's not in the Guide Books" by Basil Woon. An essential slice of history. Should be republished, but it's too high-brow for NYRB -- which stays middle-brow. -- Just learned the author has a newer version out titled, "The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder." It seems Mme had dated the Prince of Wales pre Wallis and held a packet of his "love" letters. Hence her trial was a bogus piece of "arranged" theatre. See YT: 1923 Murder at the Savoy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    What a disappointing book and with a somewhat misleading title. The reader could be forgiven for thinking that the future Edward VIII was involved in the 1923 murder in the title but he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. His only connection was that the perpetrator of the crime, Marguerite Alibert had been one of his (many) mistresses some five years previously. Thereafter he had very little, if any, contact with the lady. As a consequence of this situation, the Prince of Wales is absent from What a disappointing book and with a somewhat misleading title. The reader could be forgiven for thinking that the future Edward VIII was involved in the 1923 murder in the title but he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. His only connection was that the perpetrator of the crime, Marguerite Alibert had been one of his (many) mistresses some five years previously. Thereafter he had very little, if any, contact with the lady. As a consequence of this situation, the Prince of Wales is absent from huge swathes of the book and occasionally, probably to remind the readers that Edward is some part of the story, the author introduces a most tenuous link such as 'A suite had been arranged for Madame Fahmy (Marguerite's married name) ... at the more discreet Princes' Hotel ... Some six years earlier the Prince of Wales had joined intimate friends there to celebrate the Duke of Westminster's birthday.' Relevant to the plot? Possibly not. The main body of the story revolves around the murder of Marguerite's Egyptian husband, seemingly in cold blood and her subsequent trial. Edward's name is not linked to the proceedings (not that he had been involved with the lady for a number of years) due to the insistence and threats by the authorities and the Director of Public Prosecutions. So Marguerite's chequered past (she was a courtesan to put it politely) is kept away from the judge and jury just in case anything should slip out. There is plenty of racial bias at the trial because of her husband's Egyptian background and eventually Marguerite is found not guilty, not only of murder but also of manslaughter, much to the surprise of many of the onlookers. The Egyptian courts did not see it that way and desperately tried to get the verdict overturned or at least reviewed but the English authorities closed ranks and did not allow any further action. Perhaps if Edward's name had not been so closely involved with the lady at one time this might not have happened so possibly there lies the relevance of his part in the action. As I say, a most disappointing read and I was delighted when I had finished it and could move on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Val Penny

    In April 1917 Edward, Prince of Wales, (the future King Edward VIII of Great Britain) at a luncheon at the Crillon Hotel in Paris, France had the misfortune to meet the very sexy and utterly loathsome Marguerite Alibert. The Prince The Princess and the Perfect Murder, is the story of the playboy prince, one of his mistresses, and the murder in London, England of an Arab playboy. The action in this thoroughly researched book takes place in a maison de rendez-vous, a luxurious chateau in the Frenc In April 1917 Edward, Prince of Wales, (the future King Edward VIII of Great Britain) at a luncheon at the Crillon Hotel in Paris, France had the misfortune to meet the very sexy and utterly loathsome Marguerite Alibert. The Prince The Princess and the Perfect Murder, is the story of the playboy prince, one of his mistresses, and the murder in London, England of an Arab playboy. The action in this thoroughly researched book takes place in a maison de rendez-vous, a luxurious chateau in the French countryside that provided hospitality for the British upper classes. Marguerite was a successful demimondaine who could be amusing company, sophisticated in manner and extremely chic. She was an expert in bed but she was also an expert at manipulating men and parting them from very large sums of money. When crossed she proved spoilt, vindictive and possessed of a terrifying temper. The Prince fell for her at once and began an affair which lasted just over a year. Edward was 22 years old but young for his age and naïve. During his infatuation with Marguerite, he unwisely wrote her a number of dangerously indiscreet letters, containing, among other things, comments about the conduct of World War I and some abusive criticism of his father. When eventually Edward tired of her, Marguerite apparently threatened to blackmail him, although in the event, and probably through the intercession of the Palace and Special Branch, nothing came of that threat. Some years later, Marguerite traveled to Cairo, Egypt and met the multi-millionaire playboy, Ali Kamel Fahmy bey. He was nervous and rather weak but Ali was accustomed to having his way. He spent huge amounts of money on cars and motor boats and gambling in Deauville, Monte Carlo and Biarritz. He also expected his women to do exactly as they were told. Marguerite was not used to this. He and Marguerite were soon at each other’s throats. So Ali tried to ‘train’ his wife. This further infuriated Marguerite. She also very much disliked his keenness for anal sex. In July 1923 Ali and Marguerite arrived in London, England and moved into the Savoy Hotel where they had another violent row during a late supper and Marguerite threatened to smash a wine bottle over Ali’s head. he couple retired to their suite and in the early hours of the morning Marguerite shot and killed her husband. Marguerite’s trial for murder at the Old Bailey takes up much of the book. There was some concern on the part of the Prince of Wales lest the existence of his embarrassing letters should come up in court when Marguerite was questioned about her past, but no mention was made of them nor of his friendship with the accused. So, the author’s strenuous attempts to structure the book as an establishment cover up fall flat. Edward had little part to play in Marguerite’s problems at this point in her life. The story of Marguerite is interesting because it reveals her as a far from appealing personality but also the book explains the social history of the time and a glittering and decadent lives of the rich, both in Paris and Cairo. Andrew Rose practiced law as a barrister in London for twenty years and was a judge until 2008. He has written many novels and biographies and his first book, Stinie: Murder on the Common, was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger Nonfiction Award by the Crime Writers’ Association. He now divides his time between London and France. In The Prince The Princess and The Perfect Murder the author’s lengthy account of Marguerite’s trial is magnificent. However, in much of the book, the narrative flow is frequently held up by detailed research. Nonetheless, Marguerite Alibert was well worth examining, It also shows The then Prince of Wales in a most unflattering light. This is an interesting book, but it is quite a heavy read for a rather thin volume. However, if you are interested in that period in history or in the history of the royal family, I do highly commend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder by Andrew Rose is about Prince Edward VIII (yes, that one who abdicated) who in his early twenties had a love affair with the beautiful Parisian Marguerite Alibert. Our inexperience prince was instantly smitten with Marguerite Alibert and some could say say slightly obsessed. Their love affair ended and everyone thought it was all placed behind them. Fast forward Marguerite Alibert murders her husband—a wealthy Egyptian playboy—by shooting him three The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder by Andrew Rose is about Prince Edward VIII (yes, that one who abdicated) who in his early twenties had a love affair with the beautiful Parisian Marguerite Alibert. Our inexperience prince was instantly smitten with Marguerite Alibert and some could say say slightly obsessed. Their love affair ended and everyone thought it was all placed behind them. Fast forward Marguerite Alibert murders her husband—a wealthy Egyptian playboy—by shooting him three times in the back at the Savoy Hotel in London. You might be thinking, well what does this have to do with the future King of England? Well, it risks exposing his love affair but I think the fact (view spoiler)[while other young British men were fighting and being slaughtered at the front he was in Paris drinking expensive champagne and having an affair with Marguerite Alibert. Obviously, not a fantastic look. (hide spoiler)] But besides that I think it focuses more on the issue on race, marriage and the social history. Overall, it was an okay read. The title is very misleading though, considering there was really one person here who was an actually prince who had nothing to do with the murder. The "princess" was more like in terms of a "social princess" not an actual princess and she did the killing (her husband). I thought I was originally going to DNF this book but I changed my mind. 2.75 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I found this book via Goodreads recommendations and it found its way under the Christmas tree. I was pretty darn excited about the topic: high class Parisian courtesan! Royalty! Murder! Interwar Europe! And yet, this book was a supreme disappointment. The book is based around a murder that took place in London in 1923. Marguerite Fahmy, Parisian courtesan and socialite, shot her husband, Ali Kemal Fahmy bey, in the hallway of the Savoy Hotel, just outside the suite they were staying in. If the bo I found this book via Goodreads recommendations and it found its way under the Christmas tree. I was pretty darn excited about the topic: high class Parisian courtesan! Royalty! Murder! Interwar Europe! And yet, this book was a supreme disappointment. The book is based around a murder that took place in London in 1923. Marguerite Fahmy, Parisian courtesan and socialite, shot her husband, Ali Kemal Fahmy bey, in the hallway of the Savoy Hotel, just outside the suite they were staying in. If the book had covered Marguerite's previous life, marriage to Fahmy, the murder, the trial, and Marguerite's post-script, it could have been a good historical narrative. Unfortunately, the author here decided to wrap the story around a tangential connection that Marguerite had with Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII). Marguerite did have a brief dalliance with Edward in 1918, and there were some love letters exchanged. Rose decided that this was the most important part of the story, and inserted Edward and his entourage (with excruciating detail) into every possible part of the book. I didn't know much about Edward going in, but declared within the first chapter that he was a jerk, to which my husband replied, yes, he was a jerk, didn't you know that? He was a notorious jerk. Edward got the bulk of the good writing as well, including an overview of how he thought or felt at certain points, and his motives for doing things, as well as every possible detail from what he wore to a certain party to his predilection for misplacing the apostrophe in contractions (do'nt instead of don't). Side note: I can't believe this book went to press without spell check. I caught several typos in the text, including "preffering" and Musssolini. Surely a good spellchecker would know that Mussolini did not have three s'es in his name. Rose's treatment of Marguerite glosses over much of her early life and career, unless he had an opportunity to name drop. Another side note: I am not intimately familiar with the British aristocracy, and often had no idea who Lady and Lord Smith-Jones-Cumblebumblepants were. Marguerite was certainly an interesting woman, although we only know her as a selfish, superficial bitch, characterized by Edward. I'm not saying she was the nicest person in the world, but I'm sure she had thoughts and feelings which were displayed in her letters (which, unlike Edward's, were hardly mentioned at all and never quoted). Under Rose's pen, she is a two dimensional plot point. We learn very little as well about Fahmy, other than he is a wealthy Egyptian of rank. One might think that the crescendo to climax part of the book would be the murder trial itself, but no, Rose instead spends pages and pages explaining how the trial was rigged by the Prince's handlers through secret meetings and now-lost notes, all in the name of making sure Marguerite never mentioned the Prince at trial. Given the fact that the affair was long over and forgotten, and the only thing Marguerite might have had were some love letters (which Rose never proves existed or were given back), plus the fact that the trial was concerning the murder at hand, it seems ridiculously improbable that the Prince's name would have come up. All in all, a dull read, unless you are interested in learning the life stories of the men who made up the Prince's entourage. It's generally difficult to make a sensational murder trial into a boring book, but Rose's attempt to put me to sleep is a wild success. (Literally. I often fell asleep reading this book.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Harry Buckle

    The Prince the Princess and the Perfect Murder. Andrew Rose. The current success of the ridiculously inaccurate, exaggerated and consequently mostly fictional TV/Netflix series 'The Crown' will, as Peggy Noonan pointed out in the WSJ, yet again mean that many in the US will learn about matters of international import or at least historical significance from a romanticised and as stated, mostly inaccurate 'Hollywood Movie ' version of events. Fine acting and realistically dressed sets are no subst The Prince the Princess and the Perfect Murder. Andrew Rose. The current success of the ridiculously inaccurate, exaggerated and consequently mostly fictional TV/Netflix series 'The Crown' will, as Peggy Noonan pointed out in the WSJ, yet again mean that many in the US will learn about matters of international import or at least historical significance from a romanticised and as stated, mostly inaccurate 'Hollywood Movie ' version of events. Fine acting and realistically dressed sets are no substitute for accuracy and truth when the subject is in theory a 'biopic or docu-drama'. Half a century or so before the real life and sad reality soap opera of Charles, Prince of Wales his then wife Diana and the Egyptian Dodi Fahad, the British Royal family was was involved in a society scandal including sexual shenanigans and murder. Followed by a well orchestrated and successful establishment cover-up. Unlike Peter Morgan's bastardised but deservedly addictive version of current British monarch Queen Elizabeth's long life and reign, Andrew Rose's, 'The Prince The Princess and the Perfect Murder,' presents the reality of events with documented reality. The fact that author Rose is an experienced lawyer and also gained access to previously secret British Judiciary, Royal Family and Government papers helps with the creation of a more factual recounting of the story. And what a story: As the clouds of war gathered over Europe ,an earlier Prince of Wales had also become infatuated and involved in an equally deadly love triangle with a fabulously wealthy Egyptian. Prince Edward was destined to be the future King of England,(a role he would never fulfil due to his love for American divorcee and serial man eater Wallis Simpson.) His previous affair rocked English society and had also threatened to jeopardize the royal family. Liaisons fuelled equally by lust, champagne and avarice regularly took place in 'maisons de rendezvous', effectively 'high class' brothels in the French countryside. They providing much in demand 'sinful services of all kinds ' for the British upper classes, including with their fine foods and finest wines flocks of beautiful and very available women. The decades long affair set against the unfolding reality of The Great War - ending up with a murder being committed in London's Savoy hotel. Despite much press 'innuendo and suggestion' at the time the truth has remained largely covered up by the British Royal family and the government of the day. Prince Edward was infatuated at least physically by one Marguerite Alibert. Several times he tried to step out of the relationship, and soon after the end of the first world war, as duty (and other relationships) called he tried again to halt the addictive and tempestuous affair. Tempestuous was the scene in London as just weeks later as a violent thunderstorm raged outside the Savoy Hotel, Marguerite fired three shots from a pistol. Her husband, an Egyptian multimillionaire and playboy, was shot dead at point blank range. Marguerite stood trial for murder at the Old Bailey. Given that his affair had mostly taken place whilst thousands were dying in the trenches of the war just a few hours away from carnal delights of Paris the British Prince risked exposure as a degenerate dilettante quaffing champagne - and addicted to Marguerite for whom the popular song 'Love for Sale' could have been written. Andrew Rose's story really is a 'can't put downer' and confirms for me again that attention should always be given to 'Roses' with a literary bent.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    An interesting topic particularly if you’re a fan of watching the royals. While I am not in that group, I found The Netflix series “The Crown” a pleasure to watch both from the historical aspect and from the political point of view. This book proved to be an in-depth look at the life of Marguerite Alibert who came from a common background, became a courtesan, and thereafter used her feminine wiles and information gleaned from her paramours to feather her own nest. A social climber, Marguerite ev An interesting topic particularly if you’re a fan of watching the royals. While I am not in that group, I found The Netflix series “The Crown” a pleasure to watch both from the historical aspect and from the political point of view. This book proved to be an in-depth look at the life of Marguerite Alibert who came from a common background, became a courtesan, and thereafter used her feminine wiles and information gleaned from her paramours to feather her own nest. A social climber, Marguerite eventually bags a husband from a royal playboy from Egypt.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tocotin

    I’m not sure why or how it happened that I bought this book, but I’m glad I did and I truly enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t without faults. It is an account of a criminal trial that took place in 1923 in London. A French lady, formerly a high-end courtesan, who married a wealthy Egyptian guy, then shot him shortly after in what appears to be a more or less premeditated murder. It was highly publicized and widely reported in international press. The lady, Marguerite Alibert, self-styled “Princess Fa I’m not sure why or how it happened that I bought this book, but I’m glad I did and I truly enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t without faults. It is an account of a criminal trial that took place in 1923 in London. A French lady, formerly a high-end courtesan, who married a wealthy Egyptian guy, then shot him shortly after in what appears to be a more or less premeditated murder. It was highly publicized and widely reported in international press. The lady, Marguerite Alibert, self-styled “Princess Fahmy” (the name of her murdered husband, who was very wealthy, but not a prince at all), was acquitted and lived the rest of her long life very comfortably, using the fortune she received from her former clients, got from her husband and his relatives, and made as a profit from several Parisian brothels she had shares in. What the public didn’t know was that Princess Fahmy had an affair with the Prince of Wales and held his letters, and this book speculates that the Royal Family made sure that she would not be convicted of murder to avoid a scandal. Normally, I would cheer for a character such as Marguerite, and she was certainly a very interesting person – tough, smart, calculating, manipulative, seductive, and amoral, and winning, always winning – but it was difficult to root for her. Everything was clearly predestined to go her way courtesy of racism, prejudice, and character assassination of not only the victim, but also his friends and servants. It’s hard to tell what really happened at the Savoy, due to police carelessness and general tampering with the evidence; the couple always fought – verbally and physically, and publicly too – but it seems that the husband was equally, if not more afraid of the wife, not only the other way around, and that he cared about her more than she did about him. I did not get an impression that Marguerite was a victim who shot her abuser in self-defense. The racist and Orientalist attitudes of the time and their influence on the verdict and the general public feeling about the case were the most fascinating part of the book for me. I wish there was more about the reaction of the Fahmy family to both the marriage and the case and its treatment in England; I understand that it was probably difficult to research, but that’s one of the major flaws of the book in my opinion. I would gladly have done without the boring parts about the Prince of Wales, whose portrait figures so prominently on the cover; I guess he is *the* selling point, but really should not be. The story is fascinating enough without him occupying so much space – it wouldn’t lose much by relegating him to the background. I would have liked to see Ali and Marguerite’s pictures on the cover instead… oh well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jaqui Lane

    Well! There's clearly much I am still to learn. I am not really into the Royals, but I love stories with a Parisian connection. Wasn't expecting the story I got. All I can say is the world should be thankful that Prince Edward ran off with Wallis Simpson. What a complete prat he was. A great yarn and it just goes to show to can fool some of the people some of the time but not even the royal family of England can pervert the course of justice forever. Dare I say there's a history of bad behaviour of the Well! There's clearly much I am still to learn. I am not really into the Royals, but I love stories with a Parisian connection. Wasn't expecting the story I got. All I can say is the world should be thankful that Prince Edward ran off with Wallis Simpson. What a complete prat he was. A great yarn and it just goes to show to can fool some of the people some of the time but not even the royal family of England can pervert the course of justice forever. Dare I say there's a history of bad behaviour of the Princes of Wales?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Reese Lightning

    The princess who got away with murder. 💖

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Wharton

    This year's theme seems to have been crime of the twenties and thirties - fictional and real, and this book is no exception. It's about a high class Parisian courtesan who was - for a short while - the mistress of the later Duke of Windsor, before he met Wallis Simpson - and she kept his letters! Later she was tried for the murder of her rich Egyptian husband, and it's the contention of this book that she avoided hanging because of a conspiracy involving the judicial system itself, to keep the l This year's theme seems to have been crime of the twenties and thirties - fictional and real, and this book is no exception. It's about a high class Parisian courtesan who was - for a short while - the mistress of the later Duke of Windsor, before he met Wallis Simpson - and she kept his letters! Later she was tried for the murder of her rich Egyptian husband, and it's the contention of this book that she avoided hanging because of a conspiracy involving the judicial system itself, to keep the letters away from the public, The book is extremely well researched and sheds a lot of light on society at the time. The coverup, if true, and it seems to be, is very disturbing; but personally I found the personal story of this lady more fascinating that her relationship with the Prince. Four stars because it's interesting; but I did find that the long character list with details of parentage and what public school people attended got rather tedious

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Dry account of the demi monde with an already established reputation that HRH the Prince of Wales became obsessed with in the 20's. After writing love letters the Prince has lost interest and the palace worries about the letters being released to the public or used for blackmail. This becomes particularly important when the woman shots her husband and is tried for his murder. Dry account of the demi monde with an already established reputation that HRH the Prince of Wales became obsessed with in the 20's. After writing love letters the Prince has lost interest and the palace worries about the letters being released to the public or used for blackmail. This becomes particularly important when the woman shots her husband and is tried for his murder.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Now I remember what reading a book report feels like. While the author spent five years exhaustively researching, he should've spent more time learning how to weave a compelling story. Instead, the result is a marriage between the biggest name dropper you've ever encountered and Wikipedia. Takes all the enjoyment and air out of what should be a guilty pleasure read. Now I remember what reading a book report feels like. While the author spent five years exhaustively researching, he should've spent more time learning how to weave a compelling story. Instead, the result is a marriage between the biggest name dropper you've ever encountered and Wikipedia. Takes all the enjoyment and air out of what should be a guilty pleasure read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Georgina Williams

    Very interesting book! I found it a little bit slow half way in, but then when you get to the chapters on the murder and trial it becomes a real page turner! Visiting the area outside of room 41-42 at the Savoy is now on my bucket list! Love a bit of roaring 20s gossip!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Overall interesting read. I disagree with the final conclusion as to the relationship between Wallis and the Duke of Windsor.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tony Moss

    A good read A well written volume, well researched and put together. This shows a side of the POW not usually seen. Brilliant

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tiina

    The story seemed so promised but turned out the be a bit boring. Pity...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yooperprof

    Non-fiction "true crime" legal procedural set in the early 1920s, about a Euro-trash French former demi-monde (Marguerite Alibert) who shot and killed her Egyptian playboy husband ("Prince" Ali Kamel Fahmy) late one night in a hallway of the Savoy Hotel in London. She got away scot-free, thanks in equal parts to the histrionics of her old-school defense attorney, the casual racism of the English jury, and the machinations of several upper class British courtiers who made sure that the prosecutio Non-fiction "true crime" legal procedural set in the early 1920s, about a Euro-trash French former demi-monde (Marguerite Alibert) who shot and killed her Egyptian playboy husband ("Prince" Ali Kamel Fahmy) late one night in a hallway of the Savoy Hotel in London. She got away scot-free, thanks in equal parts to the histrionics of her old-school defense attorney, the casual racism of the English jury, and the machinations of several upper class British courtiers who made sure that the prosecution conducted the case with one hand tied behind its back. Turns out the Marguerite had been one of the "pols" (high-class prostitutes) responsible for initiating the playboy Edward Prince of Wales into the "joys of intimacy" during World War I - and moreover she claimed possession of a cache of highly embarrassing, highly incriminating "billet-doux." It is the author's contention - largely substantiated though mostly through circumstantial evidence - that Marguerite leveraged her own acquittal - in exchange for giving up the correspondence, her background as a sex-worker would be kept of the trial, and she would keep her mouth shut about her previous liaison with the Prince of Wales. This was fascinating to me: at his summation, Marguerite's defense attorney insinuated that Marguerite's killing of her husband was justified by the "foreign" bedroom practices [anal sex] that he forced upon her: "She made one mistake, the greatest mistake any woman can make: a woman of the West married to an Oriental. . ." Really, it reads like a Maigret novel. Everyone is on the make, no one is sympathetic. Yeah, the book is not well-written. What were you expecting? The book is well-researched on the whole, although it is frustrating that there is no index, and the footnotes are full of peculiarities and errors.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    The Prince of Wales, scandal in Paris, a young Egyptian multi-millionaire killed, a blatant premeditated murder, threats to the House of Windsor and a cover-up initiated by the Royal Household. Sounds familiar? Yet this was not 1997 in the Alma tunnel. Andrew Rose's 'The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder' recounts sensational events in 1923. The Prince in this particular royal farce was Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince of Wales, future Ki The Prince of Wales, scandal in Paris, a young Egyptian multi-millionaire killed, a blatant premeditated murder, threats to the House of Windsor and a cover-up initiated by the Royal Household. Sounds familiar? Yet this was not 1997 in the Alma tunnel. Andrew Rose's 'The Prince, the Princess and the Perfect Murder' recounts sensational events in 1923. The Prince in this particular royal farce was Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince of Wales, future King Edward VIII, he who abdicated and married Mrs Simpson. The Princess was one Maggie Meller, a Parisian 'lady of the night', on the serial marriage/divorce gravy train shot her husband in the Savoy for the inheritance. Our Maggie was the fortunate recipient of a large bundle of rather intimate letters that she received from HRH while his maj was serving with the Army during the Great War. While on leave from his station, miles from the front lines, Eddie could enjoy the regular furlough with Ms Meller in Paris. For these services he was awarded the George Cross. Unfortunately he mentioned himself in despatches to Maggie, giving away military secrets and providing vivid descriptions of their bedroom gymnastics. Hence, a sweet deal was made for Marguerite to swap her incriminating postage for a free ride through the Old Bailey to get her away with murder, pass go and pick up her dead husband's pile. I have to admire this author's extensive research and where the evidence no longer exists to prove his case, I go along with his logical assumptions one hundred per cent. I also observe that history repeats itself.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terri Durling

    I was looking for more of a story about Marguerite Alibert, and her relationship with then Prince Edward, the future King of England, given the title of this book. Yes, there are a few chapters in the beginning that delve into how they met and their rather brief affair, but it's not all that interesting. There's a bit more dedicated to their relationship towards the end when Marguerite is on trial for murdering her husband, Prince Aki Kamel Fahmy, a young multi-millionaire playboy she marries in I was looking for more of a story about Marguerite Alibert, and her relationship with then Prince Edward, the future King of England, given the title of this book. Yes, there are a few chapters in the beginning that delve into how they met and their rather brief affair, but it's not all that interesting. There's a bit more dedicated to their relationship towards the end when Marguerite is on trial for murdering her husband, Prince Aki Kamel Fahmy, a young multi-millionaire playboy she marries in 1922. The letters written between the prince & Marguerite are a concern because no one wants a murderess associated with a King. Other than that, the story focuses more on Marguerite's tempestuous relationship with her husband, his murder, and the subsequent trial where she is acquitted. Mind you, that's pretty juicy and probably a tad more exciting but, still and all, why this title "The Woman Before Wallis" when it is really more about the murder of Marguerite's second husband. There were some good parts but there was a lot of detail too that just did not hold my interest. I did not really get a clear picture of who Marguerite really was either even though the story focuses on her. She seems a rather mysterious self absorbed women who clawed her way to the top & was determined to remain there come hell or high water.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrick von Stutenzee

    If you think that wanting to marry serial divorcee Wallis Simpson was the only blunder of King Edward VIII, then here is a book to make you think again. It is also a book for all conspiracy theorists, because this conspiracy is well enough documented to hold water. It was a conspiracy to keep the promiscuous and rather stupid Crown Prince of the United Kingdom David Prince of Wales out of a sordid murder trial. The price that had to be paid was the freedom of a murderess and princess. Read the fu If you think that wanting to marry serial divorcee Wallis Simpson was the only blunder of King Edward VIII, then here is a book to make you think again. It is also a book for all conspiracy theorists, because this conspiracy is well enough documented to hold water. It was a conspiracy to keep the promiscuous and rather stupid Crown Prince of the United Kingdom David Prince of Wales out of a sordid murder trial. The price that had to be paid was the freedom of a murderess and princess. Read the full review

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I wanted to like this book more. Unfortunately I had to begin skimming through monotonous details about the Prince's entourage that had nothing to do with his relationship with Marguerite. The author did his due diligence in researching the subject matter and cited each and every detail which was painstakingly included in the book. I would have liked to have read more about Marguerite than the life stories of other people in the Prince's circle that had little or nothing to do with THIS story. I I wanted to like this book more. Unfortunately I had to begin skimming through monotonous details about the Prince's entourage that had nothing to do with his relationship with Marguerite. The author did his due diligence in researching the subject matter and cited each and every detail which was painstakingly included in the book. I would have liked to have read more about Marguerite than the life stories of other people in the Prince's circle that had little or nothing to do with THIS story. I felt the title was a bit misleading. A history buff will love this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Africache Gastineau

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was on my list for years. I guess I was intrigued by the title. However the title is misleading as the Prince didn’t play a part in the murder. I found the writing laborious and name dropping of people he didn’t know. It was disjointed and hard to follow. I did manage to finish it but not barely. One point I did find sad was that the prince was so selfish and unaware of his actions in general. It is frightful to think where we would be if he hadn’t abdicated. But I don’t recommend this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janis Rich

    I was anxious to read this having just read another book of the same title. While that book focused on a later relationship with the Prince of Wales, this book looked into his earlier adult life. The story was very interesting and eye opening. For me, there were so many people and descriptions that I had to read this book very slowly to keep everyone straight. Nevertheless, great insights into this period of history.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Interesting but unconvincing in its main argument as very little evidence is given. Often unclear and sometimes passages seemed irrelevant to the book. Still a quick read and a different look at the period.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is an intriguing case but the book is so poorly written that I was left disinterested by the end. Perhaps a better written book would have held my interest in the case. Take a pass on this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emma Summers

    I am so glad I have finally ploughed my way through this book, not one to be defeated, I struggled on to the end. What could've been a fascinating read was laborious and tiring. I am so glad I have finally ploughed my way through this book, not one to be defeated, I struggled on to the end. What could've been a fascinating read was laborious and tiring.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patricia W. Tidwell

    reads like a tabloid - not a great deal about Edward

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. wrong book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    dorothy cannon

    Full of irrelevant waffle. I struggled to read this

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