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.
in sightseeing, admitting to the Canon that he would much rather go out shooting crocodiles than be taken round a lot of ‘tumble-down’ old temples. After a fortnight, however, Stanley began to change his mind. Admittedly the boy was on occasions rather frivolous, insisting, for example, on riding a donkey through the streets of Cairo to the horror of an elderly pasha who had been deputized to look after him; seeming more anxious to The Bridegroom 51 climb to the top of the Great Pyramid than
Wellesley nor Canon Kingsley had need of his defence, but they all had cause to appreciate his continuing friendship throughout their lives. They were made to feel as welcome at his table as those aristocrats and actors, politicians and bankers, sportsmen and diplomatists, Scottish ﬁnanciers, Frenchmen and Germans, Americans and Jews whom he was known to ﬁnd so stimulating. They could expect to meet such wits and anecdotists as Lord Houghton, the charming dilettante and poet, friend of Carlyle
amusement in order to keep up ‘that tone … which used to be the pride of England’. They must show their disapproval of its looser members by ‘not asking them to dinner, nor down to Sandringham—and, above all, not going to their houses’. To associate the Crown with such frivolous and worthless people was both disgraceful and dangerous, for not only was ‘every sort of vice’ tolerated in the aristocracy ‘whereas the poorer and working classes, who [had] far less education and [were] much more
few of the Commission’s sessions. He informed his son, without complaint, that he didn’t think he had ever been so busy in his life and impressed James Stuart, a radical fellow-member of the Commission, not only by his regular attendance at the proceedings— during which he doodled Union Jacks with red and blue pencils as he listened to the evidence—but also by asking ‘very good questions’. ‘I thought at ﬁrst that he had probably been prompted to these,’ Stuart recalled in his Reminiscences, ‘but
intention of allowing any woman to wreak her vengeance on my wife because I would not accede to her entreaties to return to a friendship I repudiated. I consider that from the beginning by your unasked interference and subsequent action you have deliberately used your high position to insult a humbler by doing all you can to elevate the person with whom she had a quarrel … The days of duelling are past, but there is a more just way of getting right done … and that is publicity … The ﬁrst