King of Great Britain, Ireland and overseas dependencies, Emperor of India (1901-1910), second son of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and of the Prince Consort Alberto. Norfolk County was born on November 9, 1841, in Sandringham, and died on May 6, 1910, in London. He/She waited enough to be King, but when he/she acceded to the throne he/she introduced substantial changes in the rigid ceremonial of the British monarchy. Unlike his mother, Eduardo was greatly interested in issues of foreign policy, in which had a prominent role while your request be consulted on political decisions were ignored most of the time by their Prime Ministers. Its footprint is let feel in the agreements of the Entente Cordiale and the Entente Anglo-rusa, because of its influence over the majority of the European royal families, with which it was related. He/She was the promoter of the British naval power. His reign said the peak of prosperity and the colonial powers of England. Before being crowned King called Alberto, while in his most intimate circles is known by the affectionate diminutive of 'Bertie' himself.
Although Eduardo scrupulously followed the austere and strong educational program charted by their parents, the young Crown Prince soon long disappointing their parents by their lack of interest in studies. In their first years of life, the Prince grew under the oppressive mother guardianship. Awake and somewhat rebellious, loving nature of the adventures, from very small he/she accompanied his parents on several official trips abroad, as they did in 1856 in Paris at the Court of Emperor Napoleón III (1852-1870). Eduardo was pleasantly impressed by the Parisian society and the French so refined culture, francophile who never would give up and that eventually would be decisive when he/she acceded to the throne to seek political and military rapprochement with France.
After finishing his first academic training in Edinburgh, where he/she became interested in industrial chemistry, the Prince Eduardo acquired a light military training, serving in the 16th Regiment of Hussars, for, in 1858, entering the University of Oxford, where only spent two years given the results so painful that he/she obtained in all subjects. In 1860, Eduardo was sent to Canada as representative of the Crown, accompanied by the Minister for the colonies, the Duke of Newcastle. The aim of the trip was to introduce Prince in the Affairs of State and start his political formation when it agreed to the throne. But throughout his American stay Eduardo was limited to open buildings and on a journey of pleasure that took him through much of the United States expressly invited by the President of that country, James Buchanan (1857-1861). Back in England in November of that same year, Eduardo resumed his university studies in Cambridge. But, if the previous experience was dismal, the second surpassed more than bad results in Oxford, to the point of that, tired of studying and rigidity that was imposed upon him, Prince escaped from the Center to go incognito to London, where it was finally discovered by two employees of Buckingham Palace at Cadington stationwhich led him back to Cambridge.
The premature death of the Prince Consort Alberto, on 14 December 1861, locked to Queen Victoria in an attitude of severe misunderstanding regarding his son and heir. The consequence of that pain resulted in a rigorous and ruthless move away from Eduardo from the Affairs of State by express order of his mother, circumstance that plunged him into a deep moral depression, by father's death and contempt alike and coldness that was object with which the Queen did not treat him almost until his death. Even when Eduardo was more than fifty years, Queen Victoria stopped not reprimand him in public and in private for all the initiatives undertaken by him that the Queen considered inappropriate. Intending to get rid of maternal oppression and suffocation that felt in Palace, in February 1862 he/she undertook a long pleasure trip that took him to Egypt and holy land. Once back to England, the following spring, on March 10, 1863 he/she married with the Princess Alejandra de Dinamarca, eldest daughter of the future King Cristian IX.
The ideal germanofobos of the Princess of Wales were easily shared by Eduardo, especially when starting from 1888 he/she began to develop an outright hostility between it and his nephew, the newly-crowned kaiser of Germany Guillermo II (1888-1918). This fact forced the Prince to seek the friendship of antigermanos countries. From this union were born five children, among them: Alberto Víctor, Duke of Clarence and heir to the Crown, but short-range and suffering heavy psychological imbalances, who died in 1892; the Duke of York, future King Jorge V (1910-1936); and a daughter, Maud, who became Queen of Norway in 1905 by his marriage with Haakon VII (1905-1957).
Sentenced by Queen Victoria to political inaction, Eduardo turned toward worldly and social activity which moreover was so amateur; He/She established his residence in the Palace of Marlborough House, which became the Temple of elegance and in the hub where gathered the great of the Kingdom and the cream of English society and world (writers, poets, artists, actors, intellectuals, bankers, politicians, heads of State, etc.). In spite of their fatness, Eduardo became the arbiter of elegance and good modes, arts which was grown to perfection thanks to its cosmopolitan in their tastes, which everyone around him rushed to imitate. The dances and parties who organized became famous throughout the country, contrasting with the seriousness and sobriety palatial imposed by her mother at Buckingham Palace. As a tireless traveller who was, both Eduardo and his wife made a number of trips abroad, all of them criticized by Queen Victoria, but that eventually lent a diplomatic work to their country of first-order during the years prior to the outbreak of the first world war. Eduardo returned to visit Paris in 1868, then Marieubad, Baden-Baden, Cannes (visit that helped put the Riviera fashionable among the noble and wealthy class of Europe), Potsdam, Schönbrunn and Peterhoft, always surrounded by the splendor and the decadent luxury of late 19th century imperial Europe.
But, the part of his life devoted to the good life, the pleasures of the table, to the racetracks, the game and the female company, did not stop Prince to leave aside their duties as Prince of Wales and heir to the British Throne. Ardent imperialist and passionate about national greatness, was dedicated to visit the territories of the Empire and in particular India, travelling in 1875, covering virtually the entire colony (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Capawora, Allahabad, etc.). Two years earlier, he/she represented her mother at the Universal exhibition in Vienna. In 1885 Eduardo visited Ireland and in 1889 he/she traveled to Petersburgo to attend the funeral of the Czar Alejandro IIIon behalf of the Crown. In 1894 he/she accompanied his mother to Germany, on a visit from diplomatic importance, since relations between the two countries despite both Crowns kinship had entered a phase especially criticism as a result of the annexation and military policy that the young German Emperor had undertaken.
Carefree Prince and dissolute life and this little discretion regarding his life private, filled with lovers, scandals of all kinds and continuous party, reinforced the conviction of Queen Victoria that her son lacked responsibility and minimum attitudes that are expected of the heir of a just as important as the British Crown.
Finally, when he/she was fifty-nine-year-old, Eduardo was proclaimed King of Great Britain on June 25, 1901. Against the general opinion of the political class because of their past, the new King impressed favorably to assume serious responsibility that fell on their backs after being crowned the King of the first world power in those moments from the outset. All his concern was returning to the British royalty its splendor, reaffirming at the same time its prerogatives. To do this, he/she insisted that his coronation ceremonies, postponed to August 9, 1902, as a result of a serious relapse of their health, were all point sumptuous.
Just go up to the throne, Eduardo VII expressed their desire to be strictly respectful of the Constitution and the laws that were accorded in the Parliament. However, being as it was so meticulous in questions of label, representation and hierarchy, he/she had to submit to the will of all its Prime Ministers, with those who never tuned correctly, especially with Arthur James Balfour, head of the Government between 1902 and 1905, and the Marquis of Lansdowne, Chief of the Foreign Office. Finally, his laziness and mood, so little chord to write reports and be interested in the internal affairs of the Kingdom, caused this to leave domestic politics entirely in the hands of his ministers.
Even so, one of the two fields in which Eduardo VII showed an absolute preference and interest was that of the military and naval issues in particular. Eduardo VII provided their full support unconditionally the military reforms carried out by Richard Burton, Viscount of Cloan, who conducted an ambitious program to modernize the facilities and material, both completely obsolete. Thanks to the collaboration of John Fisher, first lord of the Admiralty, Eduardo VII managed to impose on the majority of the members of Parliament opposed to the modernization of the English fleet. Showing a great insight on foreign policy issues, Eduardo VII instructed Fisher take the English fleet to new prospects in the fight against the German Navy. Fisher rebuilt by he/she completed all the important ports of the island and concentrated on them all vessels of war British who were scattered by the oceans. New and more powerful battleships, the famous Dreagnoughts, ships that had a huge tonnage and the most modern advances in naval artillery were also built. Of the thirty-seven battleships that had Britain when Eduardo VII came to the throne in 1901, at his death the British Navy had fifty-six, capable of moving about 900,000 tons, which was to add a number of cruisers, Destroyers, submarines and destroyers.
Another great passion of Eduardo VII was developed on the diplomatic front and in relations with the outside. During the nine years of his reign, the monarch attempted to take the direction of the foreign policy of his country and impose their initiatives, efforts which had serious clashes with Parliament.
A few days of being named King, Eduardo VII forced the Government signing peace with the Transvaal which put an end to the bloody Guerra of the Boers. Following the same path of the cordiality and the confraternacion, the monarch also played a prominent role in the narrowing of the bilateral relations with Japan, the United States and Spain, monarchy which also was related to the Royal House of the Windsor. Due to her famous official visit to France, in 1903, Eduardo VII was instrumental in the signing of the Covenant, the following year, between the two countries known as Entente Cordial, journey, thanks to his skilful words and his attitude so youthful that he/she won the applause of the Parisian and the confidence of the President of the French Republic Émile Loubet, produced the necessary to thaw so that both countries to unite against a more than possible aggression by Germany. Eduardo VII also made known publicly their desire to get closer to the Tsarist Russia, which had long faced with Germany by territorial issues in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Antialemanes feelings were always on a par with the climate of competition so severe that existed between the two countries.
The last months of his reign were overshadowed by the great debate emerged from the budget of Prime Minister Lloyd George and the constitutional crisis that was originated by the way of the House of Lords. Suddenly, right in the middle of the political storm that shook the entire country, Eduardo VII fell seriously ill at the end of April 1910. On May 6, to the dismay of all his subjects, which they appreciated him sincerely, died suddenly.
Lover of the good life, friendly character, Eduardo VII is regarded as one of the most representative figures of the early 20th century golden age, known as la Belle Époque, as well as the European imperial from the late 19th century, that in spite of its decline and provincialism still was still imposing a powerful attraction and influence in the collective mind of those people. Frequent visitor to racetracks, spas of posh and the most lavish receptions of the aristocratic society of his time, acted as the undisputed sovereign of fashion, imitated endlessly by the affluent class, which does not hesitate to take items that, in the majority of cases, Eduardo VII was forced to wear to conceal their marked opulence. Precisely, were its elegance and extravertido character that allowed him to shine as a lavish character. His own weaknesses, delicious dish for the mordant yellow English press always in search of scandals rough but they concernieran their own monarchs, contributed to further cement his reputation rather than sink, providing a touch of humanity to a human being that fate had placed him on a higher plane above the rest. This explains perfectly the popularity that he/she enjoyed in life (and after his death) and the tenacious legend which, in fact, exceeded and masked more than the authentic qualities possessing Eduardo VII as a politician, as a King and as a human being.
HIBBERT, Christopher: Edward VII: a portrait. (London: Ed. Allen Lane. 1976).
MAUROIS, André: Eduardo VII and his time. (Barcelona: Ed. youth. 1958).