Edward VII (November 9, 1841 - May 6, 1910) was King of the
United Kingdom from January 22, 1901 - 1910.
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. 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
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 and indulge in pursuits such as gambling and
country sports. He 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 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.
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