Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

Exciting new approach to biography by an acclaimed historian and biographer King Edward Vll Bertie seen through the eyes of the women in his life Entertaining and different, this enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales wears its scholarship lightly Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the finExciting new approach to biography by an acclaimed historian and biographer King Edward Vll Bertie seen through the eyes of the women in his life Entertaining and different, this enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales wears its scholarship lightly Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life He was 59 when at last he came to power Known as Bertie, and the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents His mother, Queen Victoria, the first and most powerful woman in his life, blamed Bertie s scandalous womanising for his father s early demise Although Bertie was heir to the throne, she refused to give him any proper responsibilities, as a result of which he spent his time eating his waist measurement was 48 inches and his nickname was Edward the Wide , betting on race horses and shooting grouse He was married off to Alexandra of Denmark, who was beautiful but infantile, lavishing her affection on her doggies and pet bunnies Bertie s numerous mistresses included the society hostess Daisy Brook Babbling Brook and the gorgeous but fragile Lillie Langtry with whom played house in a specially built hide away home The last of the women in his life was the clever and manipulative Alice Keppel He always placed her at dinner next to his most important guests, because of her grasp of politics, her brilliant conversation and her formidable skills at the Bridge table When Bertie finally became king, he did a good job, especially in foreign policy This colourful book gives him due credit, while painting a vivid portrait of the age in all its excess and eccentricity, hypocrisy and heartbreak.
Bertie A Life of Edward VII Exciting new approach to biography by an acclaimed historian and biographer King Edward Vll Bertie seen through the eyes of the women in his life Entertaining and different this enjoyable study of a

  • Title: Bertie: A Life of Edward VII
  • Author: Jane Ridley
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 352
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 1 thought on “Bertie: A Life of Edward VII”

    1. ”The accession of an overweight fifty-nine-year-old philanderer hardly thrilled the imagination. ‘We grovel before fat Edward---Edward the Caresser as he is privately named,’ wrote Henry James, who thought the new King was ‘quite particularly vulgar!’ Rudyard Kipling referred to him as a ‘corpulent voluptuary.’ Few kings have come to the throne amid lower expectations.”It wasn’t that he was getting bigger. It was that his uniforms were shrinking.The expectations on Edward, or B [...]

    2. This book although not an official biography was written with full and unimpeded access to the royal archives with permission from Her Majesty The Queen. In itself this ensures a readability and depth but it is also at odds to what Edward VII (or Bertie as he was known by his family) would have allowed or indeed wanted.Bertie the playboy, who lived a life of pleasure and party as a young man until well into his adult life, was also an intensely private man who tried hard within his diary and thr [...]

    3. Bertie, son of Queen Victoria, was someone whose life seem to have three clear sections:1) A fairly tragic childhood - he was an not an academic child, and was badly bullied by his parents, who wanted him to be something he wasn't.2) King-in-waiting - for many years he lived a fairly dissolute life while Victoria was still on the throne. During this time he was notorious for his activities as a lothario and general spendthrift.3) King - finally he got to the throne, and seemingly grew up to fill [...]

    4. ETA: I cannot stop thinking about my star rating. I personally did NOT like this book. That isn't to say it is a bad book, but you have to be ready for a lot of gossip! I am changing my rating to one star because that is my personal response tot this book. Please read below for a more detailed explanation of the book's content. ****************************While I listened to this audiobook narrated by Carole Boyd I pushed myself to go on. It was that disagreeable….until the end when I was happ [...]

    5. With full access to the Royal archives as well as a superlatively inexhaustible tour through the many, many memoirs (public and private) of the period, Ridley gives us an immensely readable biography of "the playboy prince" who became King Edward VII. He has not been treated all that well in the historical record. Ridley gets into how, and why (who was responsible) and how subsequent historians neglected to dig deeper, being satisfied to use as primary source the hatchet job by the National Biog [...]

    6. This is such a good book! Who knew that Queen Victoria had palace "newspapers cut into squares for use a lavatory paper!" By now I think we all expect a jolly heap of dysfunction from the British royal family. But this book documents them in spades. The author is thorough and meticulous and she was granted access to previously unavailable archival material, making this book fascinating and almost obscenely intimate in detail.*It is shocking to learn how seriously atrocious Queen Victoria was as [...]

    7. The playboy prince gets some new respectThis cradle to grave biography of Queen Victoria’s colorful, often rebellious son King Edward VII, or Bertie, weaves a detailed, hard-to-stop-reading account of the Victorian and brief but influential Edwardian eras in Britain and the Continent through the lives of their interrelated royals. Belittling, controlling, and emotional, Queen Victoria as seen in The Heir Apparent is a mother you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, much less the future king of [...]

    8. This was an amazingly readable and informative book. I had read several book on Edward VII, usually specific to his time as Prince of Wales. The Hanover/Saxe Coburg/ Gotha line of monarchs are not known for their intellectual abilities and many were wastrels. Edward started his adult life as Prince of Wales by earning the reputation of being a womanizing,carousing, and shallow royal who gave his mother, Queen Victoria much heartache. She blamed him for the death of Albert, the Prince Consort and [...]

    9. After reading Jane Ridley's The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Price, I realize that almost everything I'd learned about the man was wrong. I'm sure most people would express the same sentiment after reading Ridley's book. "History is written by the victors", a quote attributed to Winston Churchill is very true and very appropriate in this case. Edward VII, or Bertie as he was called, was an intensely private man and destroyed almost all his correspondence. While his mother, Qu [...]

    10. So far this is the best book that I have read about King Edward VII of Great Britain. Starting with his birth, and the very complicated relationship that he had with his parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Living a childhood of isolation and high pressure, Bertie found relief in partying hard, the social whirl, travel and especially pretty women. His mistresses were notorious, with one that landed him in a divorce court. But he was lucky enough to marry a beautiful woman, Princess Alexand [...]

    11. Ah Bertie Bertie Bertie, will u ever really cease to be an enigma?Perhaps Ms. Ridley has finally hit the spot and shown us the man behind the curtain - Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Queen Victoria and her Beloved Albert, better known to history as King Edward VII.As much as the man himself would have hated it, the truth is you can't approach King Edward without first looking at the absolutely horrid parents Albert and Victoria were , at least when it comes to him, and the miserable chil [...]

    12. Jane Ridley feels that Edward VII has been minimized. She credits him with a major role in establishing the modern monarchy and strengthening Britain's relations with France and Russia. The latter she considers an invaluable service to the world, given the rise of militant Germany.The story of Bertie's miserable childhood is told with a keen eye to the relationship of his parents. The attitudes are defined in A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monar [...]

    13. I loved this highly readable biography, which says as much about Queen Victoria as about her son Bertie aka Edward VII. A highly sympathetic portrait of a man forced to spend most of his life not doing the job he was trained for, under the disapproving eye of, well, just about everyone. A massive doorstop of a book, but worth sticking with.

    14. I had never given King Edward VII much attention before. He only ruled for 9 years and seems an afterthought, wedged between Queen Victoria's mammoth reign and his son King George V 26 year rule. When he does come up, it's generally prurient clickbait of the "See the obese king's special sex chair contraption!" or ridiculous Jack the Ripper speculation. The Afterword in this book is so fantastic it almost deserves a book in itself--how history and memory was rewritten (literally) after his death [...]

    15. Well-researched, well-written, and an easy read despite its intimidating length. Doesn't shy away from complicated portrayals and truths about Bertie, but the best thing it does it how it deconstructs the dominant myths and narratives that surround him and the people around him, which I always appreciate. Ridley does this best with his mistresses, pointing out when events probably didn't happen (she uses "apocryphal" a lot) and why a particular portrayal took off instead. It's a testament to her [...]

    16. One of the most readable 'Bertie' biographies I've found.Although the title suggests this may focus largely on his love life, this tasteful biography is something far from that. Even so, while he admired and deeply respected his publicly adored and stone deaf queen consort, Alexandra, he did intimately liaise with over 50 other women, his most famous mistresses being actresses Lillie Langtry and Sarah Bernhardt, Lady Randolph Churchill mother of Winston Churchill and Alice ('Mrs') Keppel. These [...]

    17. I had always thought that Victoria's and Albert's was a great love story. I suppose that's what I get for sourcing all my history from Judi Dench and People magazine. I think I like Victoria more for this version, because she's a much more interesting and complicated person than the love-sick widow pining for her beau that has existed in popular lore (she is also vile and narcissistic, which may say more about me for liking her than about her for hating everybody else). I found it interesting as [...]

    18. The author was given the queen's special permission to access royal archives at Windsor, and during extremely thorough research discovered previously unknown documents. Although based on years of research, this is no dusty biography. It is a lively and compelling portrait of Edward VII and his age, that reads almost like a novel. "Bertie" as Ridley refers to him, and his many companions, leap off the page, living life with gusto.Despite their apparently blameless lives Victoria and Albert emerge [...]

    19. This is a scholarly and sympathetic biography of a man who, against the odds, was a good king. After a harsh childhood with no fun or friends, Bertie went wild, indulging all of his prodigious appetites. Rejecting the academic learning that had made his childhood miserable, he had a sense of what was right that kicked in when he was performing public duties. As Prince of Wales he visited India and, eschewing the customary rudeness to the Indian grandees, gave them their place and his visit was a [...]

    20. Edward VII is probably one of the few monarchs who is best remembered for his life before he ascended to the throne than after. Part of the reason is that he succeeded his unusually long-lived mother Victoria and was 59 when he became king; and part is because his life was very much a Prince Hal/Henry V story, the libertine playboy prince becoming a mature and responsible monarch. There is a reason why he is remembered best as 'Bertie' and not King Edward VII.Prince of Wales is no doubt a thankl [...]

    21. The author makes the case Bertie, a playboy, at age 59 becomes the effective King Edward VII. Like the current Prince Charles, Bertie has to undergo a long wait before he inherits the throne from Queen Victoria. Even though, Bertie has a relatively successful marriage with Princess Alexandria of Sweden, he has countless mistresses including Lillie Langtry, Lady Churchill, and his Favorita, Alice Kepell. In his upbringing Albert and Victoria despair that Bertie will amount to anything. The royals [...]

    22. The Heir Apparent was very fascinating in places. I wouldn't say it was equally fascinating from cover to cover, however. There are high points in this biography, and low points. Low points for me, for example, being chapters that focuses solely on politics, politics, foreign politics, and more politics. High points for me, on the other hand, being chapters that focused on royal dysfunction, family drama, relationships between family members, society-type gossip and scandals and potential scanda [...]

    23. This was marvelous. The author loved her subject in the most satisfying way for a reader of biography: she accepted his humanity and was clear-eyed about his faults and his gifts. Edward VII emerges from this well-researched and pithy work as a three dimensional child,prince, son, husband, adulterer, father, brother, diplomat, pleasure-seeker, boor, man of tempers and wise king. He is properly placed contextually in social history and culture and emerges as more than the interregnum between Vict [...]

    24. This is an excellent biography of Albert Edward, the oldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert…"Bertie" was a playboy prince who was far more complicated that history has described himHe was the family black sheep and classic underachiever who more than made up for his early shortcomings by forging extraordinary relationships with the most colorful and influential people of his timeMany of his closest friends were powerful women and the not so powerful or clever who fell victim to his phi [...]

    25. A well written history of Bertie, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. His life is looked at through the Victorian viewpoint, royalty as privilege and duty, his "playboy" reputation still filtered through the mores of the day. Others (including his wife Alexandra) looked the other way discreetly, which was the ticket to Bertie's philandering. The later life of Edward contrasts with that earlier period; Edward, kept out of affairs of state purposely by Queen Victoria, acquired an elder statesman ma [...]

    26. BERTIE A quality reading experience. At times I felt as though I was reading a text book, as opposed to something written by an experienced writer of narrative, but fortunately this was primarily in the first third of the book - the "setup" phase for this complex story. I must admit that I did not get very far into this book on my first attempt to read it. In hindsight I put that down to the feeling that I was reading a course textbook and that I would have to sit for an exam afterwards. I also [...]

    27. Very enjoyable biography of Bertie. I am pretty sketchy on the English monarchy so it was like fitting a puzzle piece that makes a picture come clearer. Queen Victoria emerges as a cranky old lady who was an awful mother and a neglectful queen, favoring a life of mourning for Albert over duties of state. Bertie was inauspicious to begin but eventually, for all his flaws and philandering ways, emerges with a degree of dignity--and ultimately beloved of his people. Not to say, that the whole royal [...]

    28. Incredibly well done historical research resulting in a fascinating biography of King Edward VII. Despised as a child by Victoria and Albert, a life spent in waiting as the long lived Victoria held tight to her throne while locking herself away as a professional widow. Much tittle tattle as to Edward's various affairs with an assortment of women bearing famous last names, including Asquith and Churchilld the great grandmother of the current Duchess of Cornwall. History does indeed repeat itself. [...]

    29. Ridley is a fine biographer--so much so that Queen Elizabeth II gave her unrestricted access to the Prince's papers in the Royal Archives. The problem is that there isn't much exciting to say about Bertie as a prince or a monarch. His lack of significant accomplishments is not his fault or nor was it his wish. What there is to say of his young years is close to emotional child abuse. As an adult, he was forbidden by his mother to participate in affairs of the Crown while she was alive. To his cr [...]

    30. I'm about 450 pages in to this 750-page book, and I am abandoning it.Some insights:1) Victoria's reign went on FOREVER. She's not a likable character in this book - rather crabby, controlling, self-absorbed, and a little weirdly into her husband, with an active and nasty dislike for her son and heir. How very sad for him.2) Bertie loved him some women. And shooting. And gambling. As his mother's reign goes on and on, there's not much else to cover, so many pages are devoted to the scandals cause [...]

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