Full name: Albert Edward
Nicknames: Bertie; The Uncle of Europe
Titles: Prince of Wales; King Edward VII
Prior to his ascension to the throne, Edward was titled Prince of Wales. He loved hunting, traveling all over the world, and horse racing (a popular Windsor sport of today). He was 21 years old when he married Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the daughter of King Christian the IX. Alix, as she was known, was an elegant but shy girl who became a popular Princess of Wales.
They had several children: Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence; Prince George, Duke of York; Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife; Princess Victoria; Princess Maud (became Queen of Norway); and Prince Alexander John of Wales.
Prince Albert Victor, known as Eddy within the family, was the next in line for kingship. Unfortunately, the young man died of pneumonia, brought on by influenza, in January 1892. He was only 28 years old. The next in line for the throne was George, the Duke of York.
Though his family was happy, and as lovely as Alexandra was, it did not keep Edward faithful. He had many mistresses, one of the most famous being Alice Keppel. She was the great-great-grandmother of Prince Charles’s wife, Camilla. Alix learned to live with his ways, but Edward’s mother, Queen Victoria, constantly fretted about his personal affairs affecting his public life. She even blamed his numerous indiscretions as the cause for the early death of Prince Albert, who succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of 42. The Queen felt that the best course of action for what she viewed as a gross injustice was to keep personal government documents away from Edward, which served only to increase Edward’s fondness for extracurricular activities while he waited to succeed his thriving mother.
Though Edward was flirtatious and had a knack for gambling, he proved to be a responsible King once crowned at age 59. He could speak fluent German and French, and was also a force in the creation of the Entente Cordiale. Edward was soon known as the “Uncle of Europe”.
The Entente Cordiale was an Anglo-French agreement signed in 1904, just three short years into Edward’s reign. It ended the traditional enmity between Great Britain and France (the French helped the British colonies rebel against their Mother Country. Britain was none too pleased). The diplomatic peace helped the two stand firm against increasing German aggression. The German Kaiser Wilhelm II, Edward’s nephew, watched with a mixture of awe and jealousy as his uncle became Britain’s national treasure.
The King took the monarchy to new heights of public esteem. After their father, Prince Albert, died of typhoid, Queen Victoria forbade her children celebrating any events. Even official duties were to be performed with the least amount of pomp possible. Once King, Edward and Queen Alexandra opened Parliament, held grand balls and shooting parties, and celebrated weddings and holidays. The personable Edward realized the wisdom of being seen by the public.
The King’s reign lasted for nine years. He passed away at the age of 68 on May 6, 1910.