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Edward VII of the United Kingdom

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Edward VII (Albert Edward of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) (November 9, 1841 - May 6, 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from January 22, 1901 until his death in 1910.


Edward VII
King of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland

He was born at Buckingham Palace, the eldest son of Queen Victoria. Christened Albert Edward, he was known as "Bertie" throughout his life. He was created Prince of Wales as a baby. In his youth, he gained a reputation as a playboy, and his affair with an actress led indirectly to the early death of his father, Prince Albert.

Once widowed, Victoria effectively withdrew from public life, but shortly after Albert's death, she arranged for her son to marry Alexandra of Denmark, a stunningly beautiful young princess to whom the prince was deeply attracted. There was disapproval in certain circles, because most of Victoria's relations were German, and Denmark was at loggerheads with Germany over the territories of Schleswig and Holstein, and Victoria herself was in two minds as to whether it was a suitable match. After the couple's marriage, she expressed anxiety about their lifestyle, and attempted to dictate to them on various matters, including the names of their children. They had three sons and three daughters in all.

Even as a married man and a father, however, Bertie was not allowed by his mother to have an active role in the running of the country. He continued to keep mistresses (among them, actress Lillie Langtry and society matron Alice Keppel) and reportedly spawned a number of out-of-wedlock children (his reputed natural children included Surrealist art patron Edward James and noted beauty Donna Olga Caracciolo, later wife of society photographer Baron de Meyer). He also enthusiastically indulged in pursuits such as gambling and country sports. Edward and his wife established Sandringham House[?] in Norfolk as their country retreat and entertained on a lavish scale. Several incidents -- including a court appearance in a notorious divorce case -- brought Bertie a bad press and caused him to be regarded as unsuitable material for a future monarch.

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, however, there was no question of Bertie's not becoming king, and he took the title of Edward VII to honor a request by Queen Victoria that no future king be named Albert. As king, he proved a greater success than anyone had expected, but he was already an old man and had little time left to learn the trade of kingship. He ensured that his own heir, who would become George V of the United Kingdom, was better prepared to take the throne. Edward VII is buried at Windsor Castle. He was succeeded by his second son, George V.

Preceded by:
Victoria
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
George V



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