The ‘love seat’ said to have played a part in the abdication crisis of 1936 is to be offered at auction this week at Humbert & Ellis.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Laura Chesters
The pink velvet sofa was previously owned by Lady Thelma Furness, the then girlfriend of Edward, Prince of Wales, heir to the throne at the time.
He began dating Furness in 1930 but in 1931 she introduced Wallis Simpson to the future king, an act which ultimately ended her relationship and led to the American socialite marrying Edward.
Simpson was invited to Furness’ home, Burrough Court, near Melton Mowbray, in 1931 where she was introduced to Edward and the three spent much of the weekend chatting on the pink velvet three-seater.
But by 1934, Thelma found out that the prince had instead turned his affections to Simpson. The two had been in regular contact since the house party three years earlier.
According to accounts, on hearing the news Furness ordered the sofa to be cut down to a two-seater as it reminded her of the beginning of the end of her relationship with the heir to the throne.
Edward became King Edward VIII in January 1936 and caused a constitutional crisis when he proposed to Simpson. The marriage was opposed by the government due to Simpson being divorced from her first husband and pursuing a divorce from her second. Edward abdicated in December 1936 and his brother was crowned George VI in 1937.
The two-seater has been restored and re-upholstered in period pink velvet and will be offered with an estimate of £4000-6000 at Humbert & Ellis’ May 9 sale.
It has sold twice before at auction: first in 2009 for a premium-inclusive £2150 and in 2014 for a premium-inclusive £4200 when it was bought by the then owners of Burrough Court.
Jonathan Humbert said: “Yes, it’s back again, but this time selling directly from Burrough Court from whence it originally came and where Wallis first met Edward.”