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Edward VII: the playboy prince who saved the monarchy

Jane Ridley, Professor of History, The University of Buckingham

Date/Time: 30th October 2012

Edward VII, who gave his name to the Edwardian age but was always known as Bertie, was 59 when he became king in 1901 and reigned for only the last nine years of his life. The eldest son of Queen Victoria, he was bullied by his parents and blamed by his mother for the premature death of Prince Albert. He made an arranged marriage to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, but was notorious for his many mistresses – and also for his gluttony, gambling and ‘fast’ behaviour. When he eventually became king, however, he did a good job. In this lecture Jane Ridley presented a new and colourful view of the playboy prince and a controversial reassessment of his reputation as king. She reflects on the challenges of researching royal biography, and the problems and dilemmas facing the biographer of the Queen’s great-grandfather.