I find your posting very touching, Cunarder. I know exactly how you feel, although my particular passion is focused in a different direction - the last Romanov Family and the Alexander Palace, as I read your post, you echoed my own feelings and musings and described those beautifully.
I can agree the Duke and Duchess of Windsor make a colourful, fascinating couple, although she supplied 99 percent of the colour. Their story contains all the essental ingredients of a really great, enduring romance. Human love being stronger than a throne and all its glittering associations, seems a very tender quality. However, I think it was very much more complicated than that. Their marriage had to endure - but it endured on her terms. At the end of the day, Wallis Simpson probably did Great Britain a great favour. As I wrote before, a good Prince of Wales does not necessarily make a good king. I think Wallis could have made a much better Queen Consort than David could ever have been a good king.
Edward VIII's successor, George VI, was very much a 'milk and water' monarch. (The fact that there are no threads here devoted to him, somehow indicates this). However, he did provide a unifying force. It was the virtue of family which won that day - very strong aspirational stuff. Once again, it was the workings of a strong woman which made that reign succeed. And, for the first time in a century we have a Queen Regnant and, as with Victoria, a large measure Queen Elizabeth II's success as a 21st century constitutional monarch, can be put down to the support of an imaginative, hard working, sometimes ridiculously outspoken, but always fiercely loyal, spouse. One wonders, will history continue in this fashion?
There is little doubt that in the UK, our understanding of the history taught about the period immediately before World War II, was strongly influenced by the attitudes of the ruling class. I try to take the dispassionate view. However, I still return to the conclusion - the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, yes, they appeared never to be dull, but given the timing, that is not what this country needed. They would have been a disaster as monarchs. There was a big enough enemy knocking on the door - Hitler and his Nazi Germany - without creating enemies within. Rather than being a unifiying force in the face of impending invasion, I fear they would have, at the very best, divided the country.
But hey, life needs colour and romance and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor provided it in bucketfulls.