Obit recalls the Duchess of Windsor's tangled Baltimore family tree

When the film "The King's Speech" won four Academy Awards last year, it opened a floodgate of curiosity about Baltimore's Wallis Warfield Simpson, the late Duchess of Windsor. As Baltimore's go-to person on matters regarding the duchess, I have given more lectures on the subject over the last 12 months than in all the 20 years since I created the first Duchess of Windsor tours at the request of The Smithsonian Institutions' Associates Program.

In the film, England's King George VI, who suffered from a speech impediment, ascended the throne after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated his crown to marry the twice-divorced Ms. Simpson.

Last week, The Sun's obituary of former Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Bacon Rasin Jr., noted that the judge's ancestor, Isaac Freeman Rasin, was for many years clerk of court for Baltimore City and head of the Gorman-Rasin political machine.

As it happens, Freeman Rasin was also the stepfather of Wallis Warfield Simpson, whose mother he married after her father died of tuberculosis when she was a baby. Wallis' mother, Alice Montagu Warfield Rasin, referred to her new husband as the "seedless" raisin, since the couple produced no children.

Upon Freeman's death, Alice was widowed for a second time and remained so until her third and final marriage. I found a photograph of her sitting on that gentleman's lap, and under it a caption, written by Alice, that read: "Alice on her last lap."

Ziporah Larson, Baltimore

The writer is a historical tour guide and lecturer in Baltimore.

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