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King Edward VII - An Appreciation
by:E. F. Benson
An Appreciation BY E. F. BENSON AUTHOR or nono, SIR RANCIS DRAKE AS WK WKRK, AS WE AttJE LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO Photo Rischgitt, London King Edward VII LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS King Edward VII Frontispiece The Prince of Wales at the age of six . Facing page 1 8 From the portrait by Winterhalter The Baptism of Albert Edward, Prince of...
An Appreciation BY E. F. BENSON AUTHOR or nono, SIR RANCIS DRAKE AS WK WKRK, AS WE AttJE LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO Photo Rischgitt, London King Edward VII LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS King Edward VII Frontispiece The Prince of Wales at the age of six . Facing page 1 8 From the portrait by Winterhalter The Baptism of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in St. Georges Chapel, Windsor 24 From the painting by Sir George Hayter The Prince of Wales in his first uniform as a Colonel in the Army 26 From a contemporary engraving The Marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Princess Alexandra, Windsor, 10 March 1863 . 60 The young husband and wife Prince and Princess of Wales, and their first child 90 From a contemporary engraving A Quiet Round Game 156 From the 1891 Christmas number of Truth King Edward VII and his grandchildren . . . 2568 KING EDWARD VII KING EDWARD VII INTRODUCTORY IN all the history of Royal Houses there was never a more sensational romance than the rise o the House of Coburg. It rose, one might almost say, from the ranks of Royalty in 1810 Francis, Hereditary Duke. of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was the ruler of a small, much im poverished little German Duchy he was of ancient lineage but among the lesser of the reigning Princes of Europe. Then with the fire and swiftness of a rocket his line shot up into the empyrean, and magnificently exploded into a bouquet of crowns and sceptres. Prince Ernest of Saxe-Coburg, son and successor of Duke Francis, did not at first seem likely to contribute much to the family fortunes. He married in 1817 Princess Luise of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg, who was not yet seventeen, and had by her two sons, Ernest, born in 18x8, who succeeded him in the Dukedom, and Albert, born in August 1819. Albert was his mothers favourite he was brought into the world by the accomplished midwife Frau Siebold, who, curiously enough, had been exercising her art three months before by the bedside of the babys aunt in Kensington Palace, London. Never was there so beautiful a child, and it not merely maternal partiality that caused his 2 KING EDWARD VII mother to write to a friend, Albert est superbe, dune beaut extraordinaire She predicted . for him a romantic destiny, and it was fulfilled to the letter but she should have been more careful in the shaping of her own. Duke Ernest, her husband, was a mighty man of the chase, and of innumerable gallantries. He soon tired of his wife, who must have been a girl of exceeding beauty and charm, and she sought her consolation else where. A course of promiscuous indiscretions led to her separation from her husband in 1834, an two years later he divorced her for adultery with Lieutenant von Hanstein, whom she then married. Duke Ernest had a brother, Prince Leopold, a young man of great sagacity, of attractive appearance and of boundless ambition. He had come to England in the suite of the Emperor of Russia in 1814 at the Conference of the Allied Monarchs, and had taken a great interest in Princess Charlotte, only child of the Prince Regent. She was a headstrong and violent young lady, who did not take much notice of him but Leopold was patient and bicled his time, and in 1816, helped by the good offices of her uncle, the Duke of Kent, he married her, thus becoming the husband of the heir-presumptive of the English throne. He came to live in his wifes country, he was given Marlborough House in London and Clarcmont in the country for his residences, and Parliament voted him a pleasant annuity of 50,000. That was not a bad start for a young man of twenty-six, whose elder brother was Duke of a small Duchy. Unhappily for the larger prospect of becoming the Consort of the Queen of England, Princess Charlotte died next year at the birth of a still-born son but Leopolds career as architect of the family fortunes was by no means closed with the failure of his first ambition...
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