In 1950, James Paul Donahue inherited a $15 million Woolworth's fortune and on the same day met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This book is the remarkable story of their extraordinary friendship.
In 1950, James Paul Donahue inherited a $15 million Woolworth's fortune and on the same day met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This book 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.