Playboy prince or responsible heir? Who was King Edward VII? The eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward VII remains the longest-serving holder of the title Prince of Wales, and until 2011 had been the longest-serving heir apparent. Born Albert Edward, as a... show more
Playboy prince or responsible heir?
Who was King Edward VII?
The eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward VII remains the longest-serving holder of the title Prince of Wales, and until 2011 had been the longest-serving heir apparent.
Born Albert Edward, as a young man he had a reputation as a playboy prince, embroiled in scandals, and was consequently kept at arm’s length from matters of state.
For all his follies, he was popular at home and abroad and upon his accession to the throne in 1901 he surpassed all expectations, proving himself able and ending British isolationism.
Through his nephews and nieces, brothers- and sons-in-law, Edward VII was related to almost every monarch on the continent: he was known as “the Uncle of Europe.”
However, his relationship with his nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II was poor, and his passion for the Entente with France, and later Russia, with only served to worsen it.
Hailed as the first true constitutional monarch and giving rise to the monarchy’s modern incarnation, E. F. Benson’s ‘Appreciation’ reveals a very human figure beset by academic struggles and the weight of familial expectation before stepping up in his own right.
E. F. Benson (1867-1940) was an English novelist, biographer and memoirist, best known among readers today for the Mapp and Lucia series. A prolific writer, Benson published his first book, Sketches from Marlborough, while he was still a student and would go on to author nearly a hundred in total. Before settling down and devoting himself solely to writing he spent three years working for the British School of Archaeology, until 1895.