The Duke of Windsor: making larger cigars fashionable

He is largely known for his sartorial legacy, but could it be that the Duke of Windsor ushered in a new taste for larger cigars? Something to ponder.

The Duke of Windsor was many things, but for the purposes of this second act of Royal smokers, he is a key player. Both he and his brother were rarely seen without something ablaze between their fingers. King George VI smoked prolifically and that ended up being a part of his early demise, dying of lung cancer in 1952. It is poignant that this series is inspired by both Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne, and therefore also marks 70 years since the death of her beloved father. Brother Edward would go on to live a further (almost exactly) 20 years, and he continued the fraternal pastime of smoking, either cigarettes, a pipe or very often, a cigar. The large difference between his Grandfather, whose vitolas of choice seemed to largely be only slightly larger than a cheroot, and Edward was that he opted for much larger sizes. There were a set of pictures which illustrated a piece on the Duke by Hugo Vickers where he seems to be smoking some sort of cannon or anti-aircraft device. It is not the most elegant of cigars but we admire his boldness. Usually when the occasions were more elegant, he would still be bringing out Toro sized cigars regularly, and this was in a time where large cigars were not particularly fashionable (something he always was). There is a wonderful story about how he was invited to the Marbella Club and he arrived in Hawaiian shirt and shorts, not realising it was black tie, but the guests all felt it was as the Duke of Windsor was coming. So, in he came and saw the entire crowd in their evening wear and he raced off to dress up and when he returned everyone had themselves changed to match his dressed down look. Looking at how he seemed miles ahead of the curb in cigar sizes, perhaps we can also credit His Late Royal Highness with the growing trend of large cigars in the same way in which he sent the masses rushing out to copy him sartorially. Food for thought.