- NAME: Edward VII
- OCCUPATION: King
- BIRTH DATE: November 09, 1841
- DEATH DATE: May 06, 1910
- Did You Know?: King Edward VII had an affair with Winston Churchill's mother.
- EDUCATION: Oxford University, Cambridge University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Albert Edward Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
- AKA: King Edward VII
- AKA: Edward VII
- Nickname: Bertie
Best Known For
King Edward VII took over the British throne after the death of Queen Victoria. He was a popular ruler who strengthened his country prior to World War I.
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Edward VII, born in London on November 9, 1841, became king upon the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901. A popular member of social and sporting circles, Edward VII strengthened England's ties with the rest of Europe, although his relationship with Germany's emperor—his nephew—was rocky. His reforms of the military and navy prepared them well for World War I.
"William the Great [Wilhelm II] needs to learn that he is living at the end of the nineteenth century and not in the Middle Ages."
"I thought everyone must know that a short jacket is always worn with a silk hat at a private view in the morning."
"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."
The eldest son of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, the future Edward VII was born Albert Edward on November 9, 1841. Known as "Bertie" within the family, he was subjected to a strict regimen to prepare him for the throne. As was customary for members of British royalty, Prince Edward attended Oxford and Cambridge universities and soon after declared his desire to pursue a career in the military. His mother vetoed that idea, hoping to keep him safe for the throne. During his short time in the army, he rose to the level of lieutenant colonel through honorary promotions.
On March 10, 1863, Prince Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The marriage, arranged by Edward's parents, produced six children, five of whom lived to adulthood. Before his marriage but after his engagement, Edward fell into a scandalous love affair with actress Nellie Clifton. So distraught was his father, Prince Albert, over the disgrace to the royal family, that he personally went to his son to reprimand him. The affair was ended, but two weeks later Albert fell ill and died of typhoid on December 4, 1861. Queen Victoria fell into a deep depression and blamed Edward for her husband's death, never to forgive him. Edward continued to have many affairs throughout his marriage. Actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Lillie Langtry, as well as Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston's mother) and Alice Keppel (great-grandmother of Camilla, wife of Charles, the current Prince of Wales) were among his many trysts.
With Queen Victoria's retreat from public life, Edward was allowed to represent her at official state events, but not given any responsibility in political matters. He took his seat in the House of Lords as the Duke of Cornwall, but had few or no administrative duties. As a result, he spent much of his time on the London social scene, eating, drinking, gambling and acquiring a reputation as a playboy.
All this changed on January 22, 1901, when Queen Victoria died. Crowned King Edward VII in August 1902, Edward had been the longest heir apparent (59 years) in British history. Upon ascending the throne, he threw himself into his new role with energy and enthusiasm and restored the sparkle to the monarchy. His effusive personality and likable character soon won over much of the British population. Edward used his fluency in French and German to shuttle across Europe and meet with major heads of state. He helped negotiate the Triple Entente between Britain, France and Russia, which played an important role in World War I. Following the Boer War (1899-1902), he played an active role in reforming the military, pressing for an army medical service and the building of the modern Dreadnought battleships.
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