HOME

TheInfoList




Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was
King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. The process of creating such a state out of small ...
and the
British Dominions The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other De ...
, and
Emperor of India Emperor or Empress of India was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British Raj, British India, as its imperial head of state. Royal Procl ...
from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
and
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United ...
, and nicknamed "Bertie", Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe. He was
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ) is a title traditionally and ceremonially granted to the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of ...

Prince of Wales
and
heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state ...
to the British throne for almost 60 years. During the long reign of his mother, he was largely excluded from political influence and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite. He travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties and represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and of the Indian subcontinent in 1875 proved popular successes, but despite public approval, his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother. As king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the
British Home Fleet The Home Fleet was a fleet Fleet may refer to: Vehicles *Fishing fleet *Naval fleet *Fleet vehicles, a pool of motor vehicles *Fleet Aircraft, the aircraft manufacturing company Places Canada *Fleet, Alberta, Canada, a hamlet England *Ches ...
and the reorganisation of the
British Army The British Army is the principal of the , a part of the . , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular full-time personnel and 30,020 personnel. The modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the that was created duri ...
after the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire The Br ...
of 1899–1902. He re-instituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries, especially
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...
, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the
German Emperor The German Emperor (german: Deutscher Kaiser ''Kaiser'' is the German word for "emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of ...
Wilhelm II en, Frederick William Victor Albert , house = Hohenzollern , father = Frederick III, German Emperor Frederick III (german: Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl; 18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia betwee ...

Wilhelm II
, was poor. The
Edwardian era The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history spanned the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910, and is sometimes expanded to the start of the First World War. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of the Victor ...
, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including
steam turbine A steam turbine is a device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam and uses it to do Work (physics), mechanical work on a rotating output shaft. Its modern manifestation was invented by Charles Algernon Parsons, Charles Parsons in 188 ...
propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis that was resolved the following year by the
Parliament Act 1911 The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make l ...

Parliament Act 1911
, which restricted the power of the unelected
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
.


Early life and education

Edward was born at 10:48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is the London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial ce ...

Buckingham Palace
. He was the eldest son and second child of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
and her husband,
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United ...
. He was christened ''Albert Edward'' at
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is a chapel built in the late-medieval Perpendicular Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar (a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch) and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. It i ...
, on 25 January 1842. He was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather,
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, (Edward Augustus; 2 November 1767 – 23 January 1820) was the fourth son and fifth child of King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Br ...
. He was known as ''Bertie'' to the royal family throughout his life. As the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically
Duke of Cornwall Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union 1707, Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Peerage of ...
and
Duke of Rothesay Duke of Rothesay (; gd, Diùc Baile Bhòid, sco, Duik o Rothesay) is a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is the current Duchess of Rothesay. Duke ...
at birth. As a son of Prince Albert, he also held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and
Duke of Saxony This article lists dukes, electors, and kings ruling over different territories named Saxony from the beginning of the Saxon Duchy in the 9th century to the end of the German monarchies in 1918. The electors of Saxony from John the Steadfast (o ...
. He was created
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ) is a title traditionally and ceremonially granted to the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of ...

Prince of Wales
and
Earl of Chester The Earldom of Chester (Welsh: ''Iarllaeth Caer'') was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England The British Isles became inhabited more than 800,000 years ago, as the ...
on 8 December 1841,
Earl of DublinEarl of Dublin is a title that has been created three times in British and Irish history. It was created first on 22 October 1766 in the Peerage of Ireland for Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, younger brother of George III of the Uni ...
on 17 January 1850, a
Knight of the Garter (Shame on him who thinks evil of it) , eligibility = , criteria = At Her Majesty's pleasure , status = Currently constituted , founder = Edward III Edward III (13 November 131221 June 1377), also known as Edward ...
on 9 November 1858, and a
Knight of the Thistle The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an Chivalric order, order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by James II of England, King James VII of Scotland (James II of England ...
on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (german: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (), was an Ernestine duchies, Ernestine, Thuringian states, Thuringian duchy ruled by a branch of the House of Wettin, consisting of territories in the present-day s ...
in favour of his younger brother . The Queen and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a model
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from a ...
. At age seven, Edward embarked on a rigorous educational programme devised by Albert, and supervised by several tutors. Unlike his elder sister
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...

Victoria
, he did not excel in his studies. He tried to meet the expectations of his parents, but to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm, sociability and tact—
Benjamin Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is e ...

Benjamin Disraeli
described him as informed, intelligent and of sweet manner. After the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor,
Robert Bruce Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce ( Medieval Gaelic: '; Modern Scottish Gaelic: '; Norman French Norman or Norman French (', french: Normand, Guernésiais: ''Normand'', Jèrriais: ''Nouormand'' ...
. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, Edward spent the summer of that year studying at the
University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh ( sco, University o Edinburgh, gd, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann; abbreviated as ''Edin.'' in ) is a in , . Granted a by King in 1582 and officially opened in 1583, it is one of Scotland's and the in continuous op ...
under, among others, the chemist
Lyon Playfair Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair (1 May 1818 – 29 May 1898) was a British scientist and Liberal politician who was Postmaster-General from 1873 to 1874. Early life Playfair was born at Chunar, Bengal Bengal (; bn, বাংলা/ব ...

Lyon Playfair
. In October, he
matriculated Matriculation is the formal process of entering a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which award ...
as an undergraduate at
Christ Church, Oxford Christ Church ( la, Ædes Christi, the temple or house, ''wikt:aedes, ædēs'', of Christ, and thus sometimes known as "The House") is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ C ...

Christ Church, Oxford
. Now released from the educational strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time and performed satisfactorily in examinations. Matthew, H. C. G. (September 2004; online edition May 2006
"Edward VII (1841–1910)"
, ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, , retrieved 24 June 2009
In 1861, he transferred to
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
, where he was tutored in history by
Charles Kingsley Charles Kingsley (12 June 1819 – 23 January 1875) was a broad church priest of the Church of England, a university professor, social reformer, historian, novelist and poet. He is particularly associated with Christian socialism, the working me ...
, Regius Professor of Modern History. Kingsley's efforts brought forth the best academic performances of Edward's life, and Edward actually looked forward to his lectures.


Early adulthood

In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident '' bonhomie'' made the tour a great success.Bentley-Cranch, pp. 20–34 He inaugurated the , across the
St Lawrence River The Saint Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrence River flows in a roughly north-easterly direction, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and forming the outflow (hydrology), pri ...
, and laid the cornerstone of . He watched Charles Blondin traverse
Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, spanning the Canada–United States border, border between the Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Ontario in Canada and the U.S. state, state o ...

Niagara Falls
by highwire, and stayed for three days with President
James Buchanan James Buchanan Jr. ( ; April 23, 1791June 1, 1868) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 15th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the ...

James Buchanan
at the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
. Buchanan accompanied the Prince to
Mount Vernon Mount Vernon is an American landmark and former plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of Ame ...

Mount Vernon
, to pay his respects at the tomb of
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
. Vast crowds greeted him everywhere. He met
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "", ', and '. He was the first American to translate 's ' and was one of the from New England. Longfellow was born in , w ...

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
,
Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionism, abolitionist and poet who led the Transcendentalism, transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th c ...

Ralph Waldo Emerson
and
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (; August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, and polymath based in Boston. Grouped among the fireside poets, he was acclaimed by his peers as one of the best writers of the day. His most famous ...
Prayers for the royal family were said in
Trinity Church, New York Trinity Church is a historic parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway (Manhattan), Broadway in the Financial District, Manhattan, Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. ...

Trinity Church, New York
, for the first time since 1776. The four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States considerably boosted Edward's confidence and self-esteem, and had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. Edward had hoped to pursue a career in the
British Army The British Army is the principal of the , a part of the . , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular full-time personnel and 30,020 personnel. The modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the that was created duri ...
, but his mother vetoed an active military career. He had been
gazetted A gazette is an official journal, a newspaper of record File:Le Figaro, boulevard Haussmann.JPG, The headquarters of ''Le Figaro'', France's centre-right newspaper of record, in Paris. A newspaper of record is a major newspaper with large circu ...
colonel on 9 November 1858—to his disappointment, as he had wanted to earn his commission by examination. In September 1861, Edward was sent to Germany, supposedly to watch military manoeuvres, but actually in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess
Alexandra of Denmark Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used b ...

Alexandra of Denmark
, the eldest daughter of
Prince Christian of Denmark Prince Christian of Denmark, Count of Monpezat (Christian Valdemar Henri John; born 15 October 2005) is a member of the Danish royal family. He is the eldest child of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. A grandson of Queen Margrethe ...

Prince Christian of Denmark
and his wife . The Queen and Prince Albert had already decided that Edward and Alexandra should marry. They met at
Speyer Speyer (, older spelling ''Speier'', known as ''Spire'' in French and formerly as ''Spires'' in English) is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, ent ...

Speyer
on 24 September under the auspices of his elder sister, Victoria, who had married the Crown Prince of Prussia in 1858. Edward's sister, acting upon instructions from their mother, had met Alexandra at
StrelitzStrelitz refers to: * Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, former German duchy * Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, successor to the duchy * Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, state of Weimar Germany * Mecklenburg-Strelitz (district), former district in ...
in June; the young Danish princess made a very favourable impression. Edward and Alexandra were friendly from the start; the meeting went well for both sides, and marriage plans advanced. Edward gained a reputation as a playboy. Determined to get some army experience, he attended manoeuvres in Ireland, during which he spent three nights with an actress,
Nellie ClifdenNellie Clifden was a nineteenth-century actress, believed to be of Irish extraction. She is known for her brief sexual relationship with the 19-year old Edward VII, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, prior to his marriage to Alexandra of Denmark, Princ ...
, who was hidden in the camp by his fellow officers. Prince Albert, though ill, was appalled and visited Edward at
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
to issue a reprimand. Albert died in December 1861 just two weeks after the visit. Queen Victoria was inconsolable, wore mourning clothes for the rest of her life and blamed Edward for his father's death. At first, she regarded her son with distaste as frivolous, indiscreet and irresponsible. She wrote to her eldest daughter, "I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder."


Marriage

Once widowed, Queen Victoria effectively withdrew from public life. Shortly after Prince Albert's death, she arranged for Edward to embark on an extensive tour of the Middle East, visiting
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
,
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
,
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
,
Beirut Beirut ( ; ar, بيروت, ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Lebanon. , Greater Beirut has a population of 2.2 million, which makes it the List of largest cities in the Levant region by population, third-largest city in ...

Beirut
and
Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, PIN or ZIP Code) is a series of letters or digits or both, sometimes ...

Istanbul
. The
British Government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
wanted Edward to secure the friendship of Egypt's ruler, Said Pasha, to prevent French control of the
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which hei ...
if the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
collapsed. It was the first
royal tour A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personalit ...
on which an official photographer, Francis Bedford, was in attendance. As soon as Edward returned to Britain, preparations were made for his engagement, which was sealed at
Laeken Laeken () or Laken () is a residential suburb in the north-western part of the Brussels-Capital Region Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the Eng ...
in Belgium on 9 September 1862. Edward married
Alexandra of Denmark Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used b ...

Alexandra of Denmark
at
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is a chapel built in the late-medieval Perpendicular Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar (a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch) and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. It i ...
, on 10 March 1863. He was 21; she was 18. The couple established
Marlborough House Marlborough House, a listed building, Grade I listed mansion in St James's, City of Westminster, London, is the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Nations and the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It was built for Sarah Churchill, Duches ...

Marlborough House
as their London residence and
Sandringham House Sandringham House is a country house An English country house is a large house or mansion A mansion is a large dwelling house. The word itself derives through Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is ...

Sandringham House
in
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambe ...

Norfolk
as their country retreat. They entertained on a lavish scale. Their marriage met with disapproval in certain circles because most of Queen Victoria's relations were German, and Denmark was at loggerheads with Germany over the territories of
Schleswig The Duchy of Schleswig ( da, Hertugdømmet Slesvig; german: Herzogtum Schleswig; nds, Hartogdom Sleswig; frr, Härtochduum Slaswik) was a duchy in Southern Jutland () covering the area between about 60 km (35 miles) north and 70 km ( ...
and
Holstein Holstein (; nds, label=Northern Low Saxon, Holsteen; da, Holsten; Latin and historical en, Holsatia, italic=yes) is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider (river), Eider. It is the southern half of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost S ...
. When Alexandra's father inherited the throne of Denmark in November 1863, the
German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as a replacement of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had ...

German Confederation
took the opportunity to invade and annex Schleswig-Holstein. The Queen was of two minds as to whether it was a suitable match, given the political climate. After the marriage, she expressed anxiety about their socialite lifestyle and attempted to dictate to them on various matters, including the names of their children. Edward had
mistresses Mistress is the feminine form of the English word "master" (''master'' + ''-ess'') and may refer to: Romance and relationships * Mistress (lover), a term for a woman who is in a sexual and romantic relationship with a man who is married to a di ...
throughout his married life. He socialised with actress
Lillie Langtry Emilie Charlotte Langtry (née Le Breton; October 13, 1853 – February 12, 1929), known as Lillie (or Lily) Langtry and nicknamed "The Jersey Lily", was a British-American socialite, actress and producer. Born on the island of Jersey ...

Lillie Langtry
;
Lady Randolph Churchill Jennie Spencer-Churchill (; 9 January 1854 – 29 June 1921), known as Lady Randolph Churchill, was an American-born British socialite, the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill, and the mother of British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill. Early ...
;
Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, Countess of Warwick (''née'' Maynard; 10 December 1861 – 26 July 1938) was a British socialite and Philanthropy, philanthropist. Although embedded in late-Victorian era, Victorian British High society (social ...

Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick
; actress
Sarah Bernhardt Sarah Bernhardt (; born Henriette-Rosine Bernard; 22 or 23 October 1844 – 26 March 1923) was a French stage actress who starred in some of the most popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including '' La Dame Aux Camel ...

Sarah Bernhardt
; noblewoman Lady Susan Vane-Tempest; singer
Hortense Schneider Hortense Catherine Schneider, ''La Snédèr'', (30 April 1833 in Bordeaux, France – 5 May 1920, in Paris, France) was a French soprano A soprano () is a type of classical music, classical female singing human voice, voice and has the highest v ...

Hortense Schneider
; prostitute Giulia Beneni (known as "La Barucci"); wealthy humanitarian
Agnes Keyser Agnes Keyser, DStJ, Royal Red Cross, RRC (11 July 1852 – 11 May 1941) was a humanitarian, courtesan and longtime English and British royal mistress, mistress to Edward VII, Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom. Keyser was the wealthy daugh ...

Agnes Keyser
; and
Alice Keppel Alice Frederica Keppel (''née'' Edmonstone; 29 April 1868 – 11 September 1947) was a British society hostess and a long-time mistress Mistress is the feminine form of the English word "master" (''master'' + ''-ess'') and may refer to: Roma ...

Alice Keppel
. At least fifty-five liaisons are conjectured. How far these relationships went is not always clear. Edward always strove to be discreet, but this did not prevent society gossip or press speculation. Keppel's great-granddaughter,
Camilla Parker Bowles Camilla may refer to: People * Camilla (given name), including a list of people with the name * Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (born 1947), wife of Charles, Prince of Wales Places * Camilla, Georgia, a city in the United States * Camilla Castle, a ...
, became the mistress and subsequent wife of
Charles, Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of ind ...

Charles, Prince of Wales
, Edward's great-great-grandson. It was rumoured that Camilla's grandmother, Sonia Keppel, was fathered by Edward, but she was "almost certainly" the daughter of George Keppel, whom she resembled. Edward never acknowledged any illegitimate children. Alexandra was aware of his affairs, and seems to have accepted them. In 1869, Sir Charles Mordaunt, a British Member of Parliament, threatened to name Edward as co-respondent in his divorce suit. Ultimately, he did not do so but Edward was called as a witness in the case in early 1870. It was shown that Edward had visited the Mordaunts' house while Sir Charles was away sitting in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
. Although nothing further was proven and Edward denied he had committed
adultery Adultery (from Latin ''adulterium'') is extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the Human sexual activity, sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social ...

adultery
, the suggestion of impropriety was damaging.


Heir apparent

During Queen Victoria's widowhood, Edward pioneered the idea of royal public appearances as they are understood today—for example, opening the
Thames Embankment The Thames Embankment is a work of 19th-century civil engineering that reclaimed marshy land next to the River Thames in central London. It consists of the Victoria Embankment and Chelsea Embankment. History There had been a long history of fa ...
in 1871, the
Mersey Tunnel The Mersey Tunnels connect the city of Liverpool with Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Wirral, under the River Mersey. There are three tunnels: the Mersey Railway, Mersey Railway Tunnel (opened 1886), and two road tunnels, the Queensway Tunnel (o ...
in 1886, and
Tower Bridge Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in ...

Tower Bridge
in 1894—but his mother did not allow him an active role in the running of the country until 1898. He was sent summaries of important government documents, but she refused to give him access to the originals. Edward annoyed his mother, who favoured the Germans, by siding with Denmark on the
Schleswig-Holstein Question File:Herzogtümer.png, Schleswig and Holstein before the Second Schleswig War. The Schleswig-Holstein Question (german: Schleswig-Holsteinische Frage; da, Spørgsmålet om Sønderjylland og Holsten) was a complex set of diplomatic and other issues ...
in 1864 and in the same year annoyed her again by making a special effort to meet
Giuseppe Garibaldi Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi ( , ;In his native Ligurian language, he is known as ''Gioxeppe Gaibado. 4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, revolutionary, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification The ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi
, the Italian general, patriot, and republican, who was a leader in the movement for Italian unification.
Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
Prime Minister
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an ...

William Ewart Gladstone
sent him papers secretly. From 1886,
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, also referred to as the foreign secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o th ...
Lord Rosebery Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, (7 May 1847 – 21 May 1929) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from March 1894 to June 1895. Between the death of his father in 1851 and the death of his grandfa ...

Lord Rosebery
sent him Foreign Office despatches, and from 1892 some
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
papers were opened to him. In 1870 republican sentiment in Britain was given a boost when the French emperor,
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is t ...

Napoleon III
, was defeated in the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire ...
and the
French Third Republic The French Third Republic (french: Troisième République, sometimes written as ) was the system of government adopted in History of France, France from 4 September 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, ...
was declared. However, in the winter of 1871, a brush with death led to an improvement in both Edward's popularity with the public and his relationship with his mother. While staying at Londesborough Lodge, near
Scarborough, North Yorkshire Scarborough () is a seaside town in the Borough of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England. Scarborough is located on the North Sea coastline. Historic counties of England, Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town lies between 10 ...
, Edward contracted
typhoid fever Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by ''Salmonella ''Salmonella'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living an ...
, the disease that was believed to have killed his father. There was great national concern, and one of his fellow guests (
Lord Chesterfield Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, (22 September 169424 March 1773) was a British statesman, diplomat, and man of letters, and an acclaimed wit of his time. Early life He was born in London to Philip Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Chest ...

Lord Chesterfield
) died. Edward's recovery was greeted with almost universal relief. Public celebrations included the composition of
Arthur Sullivan Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan Royal Victorian Order, MVO (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer. He is best known for 14 comic opera, operatic Gilbert and Sullivan, collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, includin ...

Arthur Sullivan
's Festival Te Deum. Edward cultivated politicians from all parties, including republicans, as his friends, and thereby largely dissipated any residual feelings against him. On 26 September 1875, Edward set off for India on an extensive eight-month tour; on the way, he visited Malta,
Brindisi Brindisi ( , ; scn, label= Brindisino, Brìnnisi; la, Brundisium; grc, Βρεντέσιον, translit=Brentésion; cms, Brunda) is a city in the region of Apulia it, Pugliese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , ...

Brindisi
and Greece. His advisors remarked on his habit of treating all people the same, regardless of their social station or colour. In letters home, he complained of the treatment of the native Indians by the British officials: "Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason why he should be treated as a brute." Consequently,
Lord Salisbury Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (; 3 February 183022 August 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional soci ...
, the
Secretary of State for India A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busine ...
, issued new guidance and at least one resident was removed from office. He returned to England on 11 May 1876, after stopping off at Portugal. At the end of the tour, Queen Victoria was given the title
Empress of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of ...
by Parliament, in part as a result of the tour's success.Bentley-Cranch, p. 104 Edward was regarded worldwide as an arbiter of men's fashions. He made wearing
tweed Tweed is a rough, woollen Woolen (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. C ...
,
Homburg hat up Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt (1961), both wearing homburg hats">Willy_Brandt.html" ;"title="Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt">Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt (1961), both wearing homburg hats Image:Anders Zorn - Hugo Reisinger.jpg, upHugo R ...
s and
Norfolk jacket A Norfolk jacket is a loose, belted, single-breasted A single-breasted garment is a coat, jacket, vest, or similar item having one column of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric. In contrast, a double-breasted coat has a wider overlap and two ...
s fashionable, and popularised the wearing of black ties with dinner jackets, instead of
white tie White tie, also called full evening dress or a dress suit, is the most formal Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or not complying with, some set theory, set of requirements (substantial form, forms, in Ancient ...
and tails. He pioneered the pressing of trouser legs from side to side in preference to the now normal front and back creases, and was thought to have introduced the stand-up turn-down shirt collar, created for him by Charvet. A stickler for proper dress, he is said to have admonished Lord Salisbury for wearing the trousers of an Elder Brother of
Trinity House "Three In One" , formation = , founding_location = Deptford, London, England , status = Royal Charter corporation and registered charity , purpose = Maintenance of lighthouses, buoys and beacons , he ...

Trinity House
with a
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
lor's coat. Deep in an international crisis, Salisbury informed the Prince that it had been a dark morning, and that "my mind must have been occupied by some subject of less importance." The tradition of men not buttoning the bottom button of waistcoats is said to be linked to Edward, who supposedly left his undone because of his large girth. His waist measured 48 inches (122 cm) shortly before his coronation. He introduced the practice of eating roast beef and potatoes with horseradish sauce and
yorkshire pudding Yorkshire pudding is a baked pudding Pudding is a type of food that can be either a dessert Dessert () is a course Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a ...
on Sundays, a meal that remains a staple British favourite for Sunday lunch. He was not a heavy drinker, though he did drink champagne and, occasionally, port. Edward was a patron of the arts and sciences and helped found the
Royal College of Music The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire A music school is an educational institution specialized in the study, training, and research of music. Such an institution can also be known as a school of music, music academy, music faculty, c ...

Royal College of Music
. He opened the college in 1883 with the words, "Class can no longer stand apart from class ... I claim for music that it produces that union of feeling which I much desire to promote." At the same time, he enjoyed gambling and country sports and was an enthusiastic hunter. He ordered all the clocks at Sandringham to run half an hour ahead to provide more daylight time for shooting. This so-called tradition of
Sandringham Time Sandringham time is the name given to the idiosyncratic An idiosyncrasy is an unusual feature of a person (though there are also other uses, see below). It can also mean an odd habit. The term is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity. A ...
continued until 1936, when it was abolished by
Edward VIII Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until Abdication of Edward VIII, h ...
. He also laid out a golf course at Windsor. By the 1870s the future king had taken a keen interest in horseracing and steeplechasing. In 1896, his horse
Persimmon The persimmon is the edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in thi ...
won both the Derby Stakes and the St Leger Stakes. In 1900, Persimmon's brother, Diamond Jubilee (horse), Diamond Jubilee, won five races (Derby, St Leger, 2,000 Guineas Stakes, Newmarket Stakes and Eclipse Stakes) and another of Edward's horses, Ambush II, won the Grand National. In 1891 Edward was embroiled in the royal baccarat scandal, when it was revealed he had played an illegal card game for money the previous year. The Prince was forced to appear as a witness in court for a second time when one of the participants unsuccessfully sued his fellow players for slander after being accused of cheating. In the same year Edward was involved in a personal conflict, when Lord Charles Beresford threatened to reveal details of Edward's private life to the press, as a protest against Edward interfering with Beresford's affair with
Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, Countess of Warwick (''née'' Maynard; 10 December 1861 – 26 July 1938) was a British socialite and Philanthropy, philanthropist. Although embedded in late-Victorian era, Victorian British High society (social ...

Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick
. The friendship between the two men was irreversibly damaged, and their bitterness would last for the remainder of their lives. Usually, Edward's outbursts of temper were short-lived, and "after he had let himself go ... [he would] smooth matters by being especially nice". In late 1891, Edward's eldest son, Albert Victor, was engaged to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck. Just a few weeks later, in early 1892, Albert Victor died of pneumonia. Edward was grief-stricken. "To lose our eldest son", he wrote, "is one of those calamities one can never really get over". Edward told Queen Victoria, "[I would] have given my life for him, as I put no value on mine". Albert Victor was the second of Edward's children to die. In 1871, his youngest son, Alexander John, had died just 24 hours after being born. Edward had insisted on placing Alexander John in a coffin personally with "the tears rolling down his cheeks". On his way to Denmark through Belgium on 4 April 1900, Edward was the victim of an attempted assassination when fifteen-year-old Jean-Baptiste Sipido shot at him in protest over the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire The Br ...
. Sipido, though obviously guilty, was acquitted by a Belgian court because he was underage. The perceived laxity of the Belgian authorities, combined with British disgust at Atrocities in the Congo Free State, Belgian atrocities in the Congo Free State, Congo, worsened the already poor relations between the United Kingdom and the Continent. However, in the next ten years, Edward's affability and popularity, as well as his use of family connections, assisted Britain in building European alliances.


Reign


Accession

When Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, Edward became King of the United Kingdom, Emperor of India and, in an innovation, King of the
British Dominions The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other De ...
. He chose to reign under the name of Edward VII, instead of Albert Edward—the name his mother had intended for him to use—declaring that he did not wish to "undervalue the name of Albert" and diminish the status of his father with whom the "name should stand alone". The numeral VII was occasionally omitted in Scotland, even by the Church of Scotland, national church, in deference to protests that the previous Edwards were English kings who had "been excluded from Scotland by battle". J. B. Priestley recalled, "I was only a child when he succeeded Victoria in 1901, but I can testify to his extraordinary popularity. He was in fact the most popular king England had known since the earlier 1660s." Edward donated his parents' house, Osborne House, Osborne on the Isle of Wight, to the state and continued to live at Sandringham. He could afford to be magnanimous; his private secretary, Sir Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys, Francis Knollys, claimed that he was the first heir to succeed to the throne in credit. Edward's finances had been ably managed by Sir Dighton Probyn, Comptroller of the Household, and had benefited from advice from Edward's financier friends, some of whom were Jewish, such as Ernest Cassel, Maurice de Hirsch and the Rothschild family. At a time of widespread anti-Semitism, Edward attracted criticism for openly socialising with Jews. Coronation of Edward VII and Alexandra, Edward's coronation had originally been scheduled for 26 June 1902. However, two days before he was diagnosed with appendicitis.Lee, vol. II, pp. 102–109 The disease was generally not treated operatively. It carried a high mortality rate, but developments in anaesthesia and antisepsis in the preceding 50 years made life-saving surgery possible. Sir Frederick Treves, with the support of Lord Lister, performed a then-radical operation of draining a pint of pus from the infected abscess through a small incision (through -inch thickness of belly fat and abdomen wall); this outcome showed that the cause was not cancer. The next day, Edward was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigar. Two weeks later, it was announced that he was out of danger. Treves was honoured with a baronetcy (which the King had arranged before the operation) and appendix surgery entered the medical mainstream. Edward was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 9 August 1902 by the 80-year-old Archbishop of Canterbury, Frederick Temple, who died only four months later. Edward refurbished the royal palaces, reintroduced the traditional ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament, that his mother had foregone, and founded new Order (honour), honours, such as the Order of Merit, to recognise contributions to the arts and sciences. In 1902, the Shah of Persia, Mozzafar-al-Din, visited England expecting to receive the Order of the Garter. The King refused to bestow the honour on the Shah because the order was meant to be in his personal gift and the Foreign Secretary, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Lansdowne, had promised it without his consent. He also objected to inducting a Muslim into a Christian order of chivalry. His refusal threatened to damage British attempts to gain influence in Persia, but Edward resented his ministers' attempts to reduce his traditional powers. Eventually, he relented and Britain sent a special embassy to the Shah with a full Order of the Garter the following year.


"Uncle of Europe"

As king, Edward's main interests lay in the fields of foreign affairs and naval and military matters. Fluent in French and German, he reinvented royal diplomacy by numerous state visits across Europe. He took annual holidays in Biarritz and Mariánské Lázně, Marienbad. One of his most important foreign trips was an official visit to France in May 1903 as the guest of President Émile Loubet. Following a visit to Pope Leo XIII in Rome, this trip helped create the atmosphere for the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale, an agreement delineating British and French colonies in North Africa, and ruling out any future war between the two countries. The Entente was negotiated in 1904 between the French foreign minister, Théophile Delcassé, and the British foreign secretary, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Lansdowne. It marked the end of centuries of Anglo-French rivalry and Britain's splendid isolation from Continental affairs, and attempted to counterbalance the growing dominance of the German Empire and its ally, Austria-Hungary. Edward was related to nearly every other European monarch, and came to be known as the "uncle of Europe". German Emperor Wilhelm II and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia were his nephews; Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, Crown Princess Marie of Romania, Crown Princess Sophia of Greece, and Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse), Empress Alexandra of Russia were his nieces; King Haakon VII of Norway was both his nephew and his son-in-law; kings Frederick VIII of Denmark and George I of Greece were his brothers-in-law; kings Albert I of Belgium, Ferdinand of Bulgaria, and Charles I of Portugal, Charles I and Manuel II of Portugal were his second cousins. Edward doted on his grandchildren, and indulged them, to the consternation of their governesses. However, there was one relation whom Edward did not like: Wilhelm II. His difficult relationship with his nephew exacerbated the tensions between Germany and Britain. In April 1908, during Edward's annual stay at Biarritz, he accepted the resignation of British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. In a break with precedent, Edward asked Campbell-Bannerman's successor, H. H. Asquith, to travel to Biarritz to kiss hands. Asquith complied, but the press criticised the action of the King in appointing a prime minister on foreign soil instead of returning to Britain. In June 1908, Edward became the first reigning British monarch to visit the Russian Empire, despite refusing to visit in 1906, when Anglo-Russian relations were strained in the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese War, the Dogger Bank incident, and the Tsar's dissolution of the Duma. The previous month, he visited the Scandinavian countries, becoming the first British monarch to visit Sweden.


Political opinions

While Prince of Wales, Edward had to be dissuaded from breaking with constitutional precedent by openly voting for W. E. Gladstone's Representation of the People Act 1884, Representation of the People Bill (1884) in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
. On other matters, he was more conservative; for example, he did not favour giving Women's suffrage, votes to women, although he did suggest that the social reformer Octavia Hill serve on the Commission for Working Class Housing. He was also opposed to Irish Home Rule, instead preferring a form of dual monarchy. As Prince of Wales, Edward had come to enjoy warm and mutually respectful relations with Gladstone, whom his mother detested. But the statesman's son, Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone, angered the King by planning to permit Roman Catholic priests in vestments to carry the Host through the streets of London, and by appointing two ladies, Lady Frances Balfour and May Tennant, wife of Harold Tennant, H. J. Tennant, to serve on a Royal Commission on reforming divorce law—Edward thought divorce could not be discussed with "delicacy or even decency" before ladies. Edward's biographer Philip Magnus-Allcroft, Philip Magnus suggests that Gladstone may have become a whipping-boy for the King's general irritation with the Liberal government. Gladstone was sacked in the reshuffle the following year and the King agreed, with some reluctance, to appoint him Governor-General of South Africa. Edward involved himself heavily in discussions over army reform, the need for which had become apparent with the failings of the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire The Br ...
. He supported the redesign of army command, the creation of the Territorial Force, and the decision to provide an British Expeditionary Force (World War I), Expeditionary Force supporting France in the event of war with Germany. Reform of the Royal Navy was also suggested, partly due to the ever-increasing Naval Estimates, and because of the emergence of the Imperial German Navy as a new strategic threat. Ultimately a dispute arose between Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, who favoured increased spending and a broad deployment, and the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, John Fisher, who favoured efficiency savings, scrapping obsolete vessels, and a strategic realignment of the Royal Navy relying on torpedo craft for home defence backed by the new dreadnoughts. The King lent support to Fisher, in part because he disliked Beresford, and eventually Beresford was dismissed. Beresford continued his campaign outside of the navy and Fisher ultimately announced his resignation in late 1909, although the bulk of his policies were retained. The King was intimately involved in the appointment of Fisher's successor as the Fisher-Beresford feud had split the service, and the only truly qualified figure known to be outside of both camps was Arthur Wilson (Royal Navy officer), Sir Arthur Wilson, who had retired in 1907. Wilson was reluctant to return to active duty, but Edward persuaded him to do so, and Wilson became First Sea Lord on 25 January 1910. Edward was rarely interested in politics, although his views on some issues were notably progressive for the time. During his reign, he said use of the word "nigger" was "disgraceful", despite it then being in common parlance. In 1904, during an Anglo-German summit in Kiel between Wilhelm II and Edward, Wilhelm with the Russo-Japanese War in mind started to go on about the "Yellow Peril", which he called "the greatest peril menacing ... Christendom and Western culture, European civilisation. If the Russians went on giving ground, the yellow race would, in twenty years time, be in Moscow and Poznan, Posen". Wilhelm went on to attack his British guests for supporting Japan against Russia, suggesting that the British were committing "race treason". In response, Edward stated that he "could not see it. The Japanese were an intelligent, brave and chivalrous nation, quite as civilised as the Europeans, from whom they only differed by the pigmentation of their skin". Although Edward lived a life of luxury often far removed from that of the majority of his subjects, they expected it, and his personal charm with all levels of society and his strong condemnation of prejudice went some way to assuage republican and racial tensions building during his lifetime.


Constitutional crisis

In the last year of his life, Edward became embroiled in a constitutional crisis when the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative majority in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
refused to pass the "People's Budget" proposed by the
Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
government of Prime Minister Asquith. The crisis eventually led—after Edward's death—to the removal of the Lords' right to veto legislation. The King was displeased at Liberal attacks on the peers, which included a polemical speech by David Lloyd George at Limehouse. Cabinet minister Winston Churchill publicly demanded a general election, for which Asquith apologised to the King's adviser Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys, Lord Knollys and rebuked Churchill at a Cabinet meeting. Edward was so dispirited at the tone of class warfare—although Asquith told him that party rancour had been just as bad over the First Home Rule Bill in 1886—that he introduced his son to Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane as "the last King of England". After the King's horse Minoru (horse), Minoru won the Derby on 26 July 1909, he returned to the racetrack the following day, and laughed when a man shouted: "Now, King. You've won the Derby. Go back home and dissolve this bloody Parliament!" In vain, the King urged Conservative leaders Arthur Balfour and Lord Lansdowne to pass the Budget, which Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, Lord Esher had advised him was not unusual, as Queen Victoria had helped to broker agreements between the two Houses over Irish disestablishment in 1869 and the Third Reform Act in 1884. On Asquith's advice, however, he did not offer them an election (at which, to judge from recent by-elections, they were likely to gain seats) as a reward for doing so. The Finance Bill passed the Commons on 5 November 1909, but was rejected by the Lords on 30 November; they instead passed a resolution of Lord Lansdowne's stating that they were entitled to oppose the bill as it lacked an electoral mandate. The King was annoyed that his efforts to urge passage of the budget had become public knowledge and had forbidden Knollys, who was an active Liberal peer, from voting for the budget, although Knollys had suggested that this would be a suitable gesture to indicate royal desire to see the Budget pass. In December 1909, a proposal to create peers (to give the Liberals a majority in the Lords) or give the prime minister the right to do so was considered "outrageous" by Knollys, who thought the King should abdicate rather than agree to it. The January 1910 United Kingdom general election, January 1910 election was dominated by talk of removing the Lords' veto. During the election campaign Lloyd George talked of "guarantees" and Asquith of "safeguards" that would be necessary before forming another Liberal government, but the King informed Asquith that he would not be willing to contemplate creating peers until after a second general election. Balfour refused to be drawn on whether or not he would be willing to form a Conservative government, but advised the King not to promise to create peers until he had seen the terms of any proposed constitutional change.Heffer, pp. 286–288 During the campaign the leading Conservative Walter Long, 1st Viscount Long, Walter Long had asked Knollys for permission to state that the King did not favour Irish Home Rule, but Knollys refused on the grounds that it was not appropriate for the monarch's views to be known in public.Magnus, p. 547 The election resulted in a hung parliament, with the Liberal government dependent on the support of the third largest party, the Irish nationalists, nationalist Irish Parliamentary Party. The King suggested a compromise whereby only 50 peers from each side would be allowed to vote, which would also obviate the large Conservative majority in the Lords, but Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe, Lord Crewe, Liberal leader in the Lords, advised that this would reduce the Lords' independence, as only peers who were loyal party supporters would be picked. Pressure to remove the Lords' veto now came from the Irish nationalist MPs, who wanted to remove the Lords' ability to block the introduction of Home Rule. They threatened to vote against the Budget unless they had their way (an attempt by Lloyd George to win their support by amending whiskey duties was abandoned as the Cabinet felt this would recast the Budget too much). Asquith now revealed that there were no "guarantees" for the creation of peers. The Cabinet considered resigning and leaving it up to Balfour to try to form a Conservative government. The King's Speech from the Throne on 21 February made reference to introducing measures restricting the Lords' power of veto to one of delay, but Asquith inserted a phrase "in the opinion of my advisers" so the King could be seen to be distancing himself from the planned legislation. The Commons passed resolutions on 14 April that would form the basis for the 1911 Parliament Act: to remove the power of the Lords to veto money bills, to replace their veto of other bills with a power to delay, and to reduce the term of Parliament from seven years to five (the King would have preferred four). But in that debate Asquith hinted—to ensure the support of the nationalist MPs—that he would ask the King to break the deadlock "in that Parliament" (i.e. contrary to Edward's earlier stipulation that there be a second election). The Budget was passed by both Commons and Lords in April. By April the Palace was having secret talks with Balfour and Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, who both advised that the Liberals did not have sufficient mandate to demand the creation of peers. The King thought the whole proposal "simply disgusting" and that the government was "in the hands of John Redmond, Redmond & Co". Lord Crewe announced publicly that the government's wish to create peers should be treated as formal "ministerial advice" (which, by convention, the monarch must obey) although Lord Esher argued that the monarch was entitled ''in extremis'' to dismiss the government rather than take their "advice". Esher's view has been called "obsolete and unhelpful".


Death

Edward habitually smoked twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars a day. In 1907, a rodent ulcer, a type of cancer affecting the skin next to his nose, was cured with radium. Towards the end of his life he increasingly suffered from bronchitis. He suffered a momentary loss of consciousness during a state visit to Berlin in February 1909. In March 1910, he was staying at Biarritz when he collapsed. He remained there to convalesce, while in London Asquith tried to get the Finance Bill passed. The king's continued ill health was unreported, and he attracted criticism for staying in France while political tensions were so high. On 27 April he returned to Buckingham Palace, still suffering from severe bronchitis. Alexandra returned from visiting her brother, King George I of Greece, in Corfu a week later on 5 May. On 6 May, Edward suffered several heart attacks, but refused to go to bed, saying, "No, I shall not give in; I shall go on; I shall work to the end."Bentley-Cranch, p. 151 Between moments of faintness, his son the Prince of Wales (shortly to be King George V) told him that his horse, Witch of the Air, had won at Kempton Park Racecourse, Kempton Park that afternoon. The king replied, "Yes, I have heard of it. I am very glad": his List of last words (20th century)#1910–1919, final words. At 11:30 p.m. he lost consciousness for the last time and was put to bed. He died 15 minutes later. Alexandra refused to allow Edward's body to be moved for eight days afterwards, though she allowed small groups of visitors to enter his room. On 11 May, the late king was dressed in his uniform and placed in a massive oak coffin, which was moved on 14 May to the throne room, where it was sealed and lay in state, with a guardsman standing at each corner of the bier. Despite the time that had elapsed since his death, Alexandra noted the King's body remained "wonderfully preserved". On the morning of 17 May, the coffin was placed on a gun carriage and drawn by black horses to Westminster Hall, with the new king, his family and Edward's favourite dog, Caesar (dog), Caesar, walking behind. Following a brief service, the royal family left, and the hall was opened to the public; over 400,000 people filed past the coffin over the next two days. As Barbara Tuchman noted in ''The Guns of August'', Funeral of King Edward VII, his funeral, held on 20 May 1910, marked "the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last." A royal train conveyed the king's coffin from London to Windsor Castle, where Edward was buried at St George's Chapel.


Legacy

Before his accession to the throne, Edward was the longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He was surpassed by his great-great-grandson Prince Charles on 20 April 2011. The title Prince of Wales is not automatically held by the heir apparent; it is bestowed by the reigning monarch at a time of his or her choosing. Edward was the longest-serving holder of that title until surpassed by Charles on 9 September 2017; Edward was Prince of Wales between 8 December 1841 and 22 January 1901 (59 years, 45 days). Charles was created Prince of Wales on 26 July 1958 ( ago). As king, Edward VII proved a greater success than anyone had expected, but he was already past the average life expectancy and had little time left to fulfil the role. In his short reign, he ensured that his second son and heir, George V, was better prepared to take the throne. Contemporaries described their relationship as more like affectionate brothers than father and son, and on Edward's death George wrote in his diary that he had lost his "best friend and the best of fathers ... I never had a [cross] word with him in my life. I am heart-broken and overwhelmed with grief". Edward has been recognised as the first truly constitutional British sovereign and the last sovereign to wield effective political power. Though lauded as "Peacemaker", he had been afraid that German Emperor Wilhelm II, who was one of his nephews, would tip Europe into war. Four years after Edward's death, the First World War broke out. The naval reforms he had supported and his part in securing the Triple Entente between Britain, France, and Russia, as well as his relationships with his extended family, fed the paranoia of the German Emperor, who blamed Edward for the war. Publication of the official biography of Edward was delayed until 1927 by its author, Sidney Lee, who feared German propagandists would select material to portray Edward as an anti-German warmonger. Lee was also hampered by the extensive destruction of Edward's personal papers; Edward had left orders that all his letters should be burned on his death. Subsequent biographers have been able to construct a more rounded picture of Edward by using material and sources that were unavailable to Lee. Historian R. C. K. Ensor, writing in 1936, praised the King's political personality: : ...he had in many respects great natural ability. He knew how to be both dignified and charming; he had an excellent memory; and his tact in handling people was quite exceptional. He had a store of varied, though unsystematized, knowledge gathered at first-hand through talking to all sorts of eminent men. His tastes were not particularly elevated, but they were thoroughly English; and he showed much (though not unfailing) comprehension for the common instincts of the people over whom he reigned. This was not the less remarkable because, though a good linguist in French and German, he never learned to speak English without a German accent. Ensor rejects the widespread notion that the King exerted an important influence on British foreign policy, believing he gained that reputation by making frequent trips abroad, with many highly publicized visits to foreign courts. Ensor thought surviving documents showed "how comparatively crude his views on foreign policy were, how little he read, and of what naïve indiscretions he was capable." Edward received criticism for his apparent pursuit of self-indulgent pleasure, but he received great praise for his affable manners and diplomatic tact. As his grandson
Edward VIII Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until Abdication of Edward VIII, h ...
wrote, "his lighter side ... obscured the fact that he had both insight and influence." "He had a tremendous zest for pleasure but he also had a real sense of duty", wrote J. B. Priestley. Lord Esher wrote that Edward VII was "kind and debonair and not undignified—but too human".


Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

* 9 November – 8 December 1841: ''His Royal Highness'' The Duke of Cornwall * 8 December 1841 – 22 January 1901: ''His Royal Highness'' The Prince of Wales * 22 January 1901 – 6 May 1910: ''His Majesty'' The King


Honours

;British honours * Order of the Garter, Royal Knight of the Garter, ''9 November 1858''Shaw, Wm. A. (1906) ''The Knights of England'', I, London
p. 60
/ref> * Order of the Star of India, Knight Companion of the Star of India, ''25 June 1861'';Shaw
p. 306
/ref> Knight Grand Commander, ''24 May 1866''Shaw
p. 308
/ref> * Fellow of the Royal Society, ''12 February 1863'' * Member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, ''8 December 1863'' * Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (military), ''10 February 1865'';Shaw
p. 194
/ref> Great Masters of the Order of the Bath, Great Master, ''22 June 1897'' * Order of the Thistle, Extra Knight of the Thistle, ''24 May 1867''Shaw
p. 86
/ref> * Order of St Patrick, Knight of St. Patrick, ''18 March 1868''Shaw
p. 102
/ref> * Member of the Privy Council of Ireland, ''21 April 1868'' * Venerable Order of St. John, Knight of Justice of St. John, ''1876''; Order of Saint John (chartered 1888)#List of Grand Priors, Grand Prior, ''1888'' * Order of St Michael and St George, Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George, ''31 May 1877''Shaw
p. 337
/ref> * Order of the Indian Empire, Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire, ''21 June 1887''Shaw
p. 401
/ref> * Royal Victorian Order, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, ''6 May 1896''Shaw
p. 417
/ref> * Albert Medal (Royal Society of Arts), Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts, ''1901'' * Founder and Sovereign of the Order of Merit, ''26 June 1902'' * Founder and Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, ''8 August 1902'' * Founder of the Royal Victorian Chain, ''1902'' ;Foreign honours


Honorary foreign military appointments

* ''1870'': Honorary Colonel of the Guard Hussar Regiment (Denmark) * ''1883'': Field Marshal ''(Generalfeldmarschall)'' of the German Army (German Empire), German Army * ''5 February 1901'': Honorary Colonel of the 27th (King Edward's) Regiment of Dragoons of Kiev * ''26 June 1902'': Admiral of the Fleet ''(Großadmiral)'' ''à la suite'' of the Imperial German Navy"The German Emperor and the King" (28 June 1902) ''The Times'' Issue 36806, p. 5 * Honorary Captain general of the Army, Captain General of the Spanish ArmyMuerte del Rey Eduardo VII
" (7 May 1910) '' ABC (newspaper), ABC'' (1st ed.), p. 12, retrieved 28 April 2016
* Honorary Admiral of the Spanish Navy * Colonel-in-Chief of the German regiment 5th (Pomeranian) Hussars "Prince Blücher of Wahlstatt" * Colonel-in-Chief 1st Guards Dragoons "Queen of Great Britain and Ireland" * Honorary Colonel of the Infantry Regiment "Zamora, Spain, Zamora" No. 8 (Spain) * ''1905'': Honorary Admiral of the Swedish Navy * ''1908'': Honorary General of the Swedish Army * Honorary Admiral of the Greek Navy * Honorary General of the Norwegian Army


Arms

Edward's Coat of arms of the Prince of Wales, coat of arms as the Prince of Wales was the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, royal arms Difference (heraldry), differenced by a Label (heraldry), label of three points argent, and an inescutcheon of the Coat of arms of Saxony, Duchy of Saxony, representing his paternal arms. When he acceded as King, he gained the royal arms undifferenced.


Issue


Ancestry


See also

*Household of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra *Edward the Seventh, a 1975 television miniseries.


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * Matthew, H. C. G. (September 2004; online edition May 2006
"Edward VII (1841–1910)"
''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, , retrieved 24 June 2009 * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* * ** Macaulay, James (editor) (1889)
''Speeches and addresses of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales: 1863–1888''
London: Murray. * * , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Edward 07 Of The United Kingdom Edward VII, Edwardian era, 1841 births 1910 deaths 19th-century British people 20th-century British monarchs Alumni of the University of Edinburgh Alumni of Christ Church, Oxford Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge British field marshals 10th Royal Hussars officers Deaths from bronchitis Dukes of Cornwall Dukes of Rothesay Earls of Dublin Emperors of India Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Grand Masters of the United Grand Lodge of England Heads of state of Canada Heads of state of New Zealand House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (United Kingdom) Members of the Privy Council of Ireland Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom Monarchs of Australia Monarchs of the United Kingdom Owners of Epsom Derby winners Sons of British monarchs People associated with the Royal National College for the Blind People from Westminster Princes of the United Kingdom Princes of Wales Spanish captain generals Burials at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle High Stewards of Scotland Articles containing video clips Monarchs of the Isle of Man Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Great Masters of the Order of the Bath Knights of St Patrick Knights of the Garter Knights of the Golden Fleece of Spain Knights of the Thistle Recipients of the Order of the White Eagle (Russia) Recipients of the Order of St. Anna, 1st class Recipients of the Order of St. Vladimir, 3rd class Recipients of the Order of Saint Stanislaus (Russian), 1st class Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kalākaua Recipients of the Order of the Tower and Sword Grand Crosses of the Order of Christ (Portugal), 3 Grand Crosses of the Order of Aviz, 3 Grand Crosses of the Order of Saint James of the Sword, 3 Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur Grand Commanders of the Order of the Dannebrog Recipients of the Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog Grand Crosses of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary Recipients of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Grand Crosses of the Order of the Star of Romania Knights of the Order of Charles XIII Grand Crosses of the Order of Vasa Children of Queen Victoria Residents of White Lodge, Richmond Park Peers of the United Kingdom created by Queen Victoria