In 1950 James Paul Donahue inherited a $15 million Woolworth’s fortune and on the same day met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Dancing with the Devil is the remarkable story of their extraordinary friendship.
Jimmy Donahue was 35 when he met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He could fly a plane, speak several languages, play the piano, tell marvellous jokes. He was loved and, within the confines of America’s upper class, he was notorious. People loved his wit, charm and generosity. He would shower friends with expensive gifts and flowers, seize bills in clubs and restaurants and lavishly tip waiters. His Fifth Avenue apartment became the backdrop for a series of infamous parties.
Jimmy’s sexual exploits – until he met the Duchess – were strictly homosexual at a time when the homosexual act was still illegal. The Duchess was 54 – 19 years his senior – but the sexual attraction between them was instant. Jimmy, the Duke and the Duchess became inseparable – and Jimmy always paid. But the depth of the burgeoning sexual relationship between Donahue and the Duchess took its toll on the Duke, who began to drink heavily to wile away the lonely hours while his wife and her consort spent time together. She became increasingly obsessed by Jimmy and he, in turn, robbed her of her reputation and her last shreds of judgment.
In the end, after passionate highs and desperate lows, the relationship deteriorated so badly it was abandoned by all. Donahue was never the same man again. He died alone in 1966 from acute alcoholic and barbiturate poisoning. His friends said he killed himself over an unrequited homosexual love.
Dancing with the Devil is the amazing story of Donahue’s life, and the last untold episode in the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
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It shouldn't be a fascinating read, this book, it really shouldn't. It's just Higher Gossip about how Wallis Simpson took a younger lover after her marriage to Edward, and how she and said lover enjoyed nights of "non-penetrative and principally oral sex." I mean, who cares? Shouldn't our minds be on higher things? The trouble is, it's all absolutely fascinating. The lover was the mad, bad and dangerous-to-know Jimmy Donahue, one of the Woolworths clan, grandson of founder Frank W. Woolworth, relative of Barbara Hutton, heir to millions, and considered to be dashingly good-looking. From the photos in this book, he looks like a baby-faced bore to me, but maybe having those millions in the bank skewed perceptions of him somewhat ... He could fly a plane, speak several languages, was a marvellous raconteur, and on top of all this, Donahue was a promiscuous homosexual. That didn't stop him from forming a passionate friendship with Wallis, however, that soon turned into more than mere friendship. Wilson suggests that this constituted, on Wallis' part, perhaps "the greatest betrayal in history". Edward gave up his throne and his kingdom for the woman he loved, only for her to take off with another man. However, it was never quite so simple as this. Edward didn't really want a normal sexual relationship with Wallis (he got all the satisfaction he wanted from playing with her feet), while she evidently continued to adore him, even if she found that the need for sexual satisfaction drove her into Donahue's arms. It may even have been that Edward knew, and didn't mind. The whole thing reads like some kind of royal soap opera, and as such, it is absolutely riveting. -- Christopher HartFrom the Back Cover:
"I could hardly wait to lap it all up."
HUGH MASSINGBERD, 'Mail on Sunday'
'Dancing with the Devil' is the powerful story of Jimmy Donahue's life, and the last untold episode in the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Blonde and Slender, oval-faced with slicked down hair, Woolworth heir Jimmy Donahue was the archetypal post-war playboy. He could fly a plane, speak several languages, play the piano, tell marvellous jokes. People loved him for his wit and charm and generosity.
Jimmy was notorious within America's upper class, and loved to shock; until he met the Duchess of Windsor, his pursuits were exclusively homosexual. But when he and the Duchess met – she was fifty-four, Jimmy nineteen years her junior – an instant attraction was formed, which burgeoned into a sexual relationship. Together with the Duke, they became an inseparable trio, the closest of friends. As Jimmy had planned the royal couple became obsessed by him.
Sourced from surviving contemporaries, 'Dancing with the Devil' is the extraordinary tale of three remarkable people and their unique relationship.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006531598
Book Description HarperCollins, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006531598