Sarah Bradford

Merry Monarch

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII


Chatto & Windus 496pp £30 order from our bookshop

Prince Albert Edward, later King Edward VII, was, according to his biographer, ‘extraordinarily secret about archives and resistant to any sort of biography’ – but then he had a great deal to conceal. Mistresses, racing, shooting, gambling, overindulgence in food and huge cigars characterised Bertie’s life, even after he succeeded his mother as monarch at the age of fifty-nine. Chapter headings such as ‘The Aylesford Scandal’, ‘Lillie Langtry’, ‘Prince Hal’, ‘Prince of Pleasure’ and ‘Scandal’ feature in the first two parts of the book. Even after he became king, there is ‘King Edward the Caresser’, a pun invented by Henry James.

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