Edward VII: The Last Victorian King
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To his mother, Queen Victoria, he was "poor Bertie," to his wife he was "my dear little man," while the President of France called him "a great English king," and the German Kaiser condemned him as "an old peacock." King Edward VII was all these things and more, as Hibbert reveals in this captivating biography. Shedding new light on the scandals that peppered his life, Hibbert reveals Edward's dismal early years under Victoria's iron rule, his terror of boredom that led to a lively social life at home and abroad, and his eventual ascent to the throne at age 59. Edward is best remembered as the last Victorian king, the monarch who installed the office of Prime Minister.
whom had won the V.C. in the Crimea) and Lord Valletort, ‘a thoroughly good, moral and accomplished’ young man who had foregone a public-school education to pass his youth in attendance on his invalid father, the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe. These three young nonpareils were reminded by the Prince Consort in a lengthy private memorandum that a gentleman does not indulge in careless self-indulgent lounging ways, such as lolling in armchairs or on sofas, slouching in his chair, or placing himself in
remaining constantly in ‘crowing spirits’ and in the best and calmest of tempers. He looked people full in the face through his ‘large clear blue eyes’. This early stage of placid equanimity did not, however, last long. As his sister grew stronger in health and less fractious in temper, she was also recognized to be extremely sharp and quick-witted. Precociously forward, active, animated, ‘running about and talking a great deal’, she was, at the same time, ‘all gracefulness and prettiness’, in
anxiety and difﬁculty are a great blessing and cheer and brighten up life.’ By the time she made this entry in her journal, a detailed plan of education for the children had been drawn up by their father and set down by him and the Queen in a memorandum dated 3 January 1847. The younger children were to be placed in a separate class from the two elder, who were to begin their more advanced lessons in February. Particular attention was to be paid in these lessons to English, arithmetic and
thinking of herself but ‘as gentle and considerate to everyone as ever’. She had naturally been much upset by the Mordaunt trial and very cross with her ‘naughty little man’ for getting himself involved with it. But that was all over now. She scarcely ever left the house except to pray in the church in the park or when the doctors insisted that she get a breath of fresh air. At night she lay down sleepless in her husband’s dressing-room. Her sister-in-law, Princess Alice, who had come to
are much better educated than we are.’ But Prince Albert did not agree. Nor did Stockmar. Nor did the Queen. ‘There is much good in him,’ she had recorded in her diary on 14 Edward V II his ninth birthday during the time of Mr Birch and in one of her rare moments of hope in a satisfactory future. ‘He has such affectionate feelings—great truthfulness and great simplicity of character.’ She and Prince Albert had decided that he ‘ought to be accustomed early to work with [them], to have great