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Wallis, Duchess of Windsor; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wallis, Duchess of Windsor; Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII)

by Dorothy Wilding
chlorobromide print, 6 April 1955
6 5/8 in. x 9 3/8 in. (161 mm x 239 mm)
Given by the photographer's sister, Susan Morton, 1976
Photographs Collection
NPG x27966

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Dorothy Wilding (1893-1976), Photographer. Artist associated with 2177 portraits, Sitter in 30 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 87
  • Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 126 Read entry

    Dizzy (short for Disraeli) was the first of nine Windsor pugs and joined the Duke and Duchess’s household in France soon after their return from wartime governorship of the Bahamas in 1945. With them had come Pookie, last in line of a succession of cairn terriers that had begun with Slipper, whom the Duke, then Edward, Prince of Wales, had presented to the Duchess, then Wallis Simpson, for Christmas 1934. The Duke had clearly inherited the Royal Family’s love of dogs, apparent from his grandmother Queen Victoria onwards, and Slipper appears in a number of pre-war photographs by Dorothy Wilding, both with him and with the Duchess. Slipper rather ominously died of a snake bite shortly after the Abdication in 1936 and before the fateful wedding.

    Responsibility for usurping the cairn terriers’ hold on the Windsors’ affections clearly lies with Dizzy, and they took to pugs with something of an obsession. In the sale catalogue of the Windsors’ effects were several silver-plated dog bowls, engraved collars, pug bed-linen and a whole host of ‘puggiana’, including paintings and Meissen figurines. This photograph was taken in Dorothy Wilding’s studio in New York, where the Windsors had an apartment and where their pugs were often proudly paraded in national dog shows.

  • Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 161
  • Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 163

Placesback to top

Events of 1955back to top

Current affairs

Robert Anthony Eden becomes prime minister. In May 1955 Winston Churchill resigned due to ill health. His successor proved to be a similarly popular leader, winning an increased majority at the general election that year. Eden's popularity was due to a combination of his long wartime service, good looks and charm.

Art and science

Mary Quant introduces the 'Chelsea Look' with her Bazaar boutique. In the 1960s Quant was a major contributor to 'swinging London' introducing some of the seminal items of 1960s fashion: the miniskirt, hot pants, paint-box make-up and plastic raincoats.


West Germany joins NATO, prompting the East European Communist counties to respond by forming the Warsaw Pact. The signatories of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if any member was attacked. This development was a major event in the Cold War as it firmly established the East and West as opposing military powers.

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