Edward VII's Children
John Van der Kiste
Sutton, Stroud (UK), 2004
King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of England had six children. The youngest, Alexander, died twenty-four hours after birth, but the other two sons and all three daughters lived to maturity.
The eldest, Albert Victor ('Eddy'), Duke of Clarence, was a backward (possibly autistic) youth, with many of his father's faults but none of his strength of personality. Though it was a major family tragedy when he died of pneumonia at the age of 28, it resulted in his brother George becoming their father's heir. George was a more quick-witted, intelligent if not clever young man with more character, and later became King George V. Though he could be a tyrant towards his own family, he appreciated the art of getting on with people from all walks of life, not least his Labour ministers - no matter how much he might disagree with their socialist policies.
The daughters were sometimes known behind their backs as 'their royal shynesses'. Louise, Duchess of Fife, was a retiring woman little know to the public after her marriage in 1889 to a Scottish nobleman, while Victoria remained a lifelong, embittered spinster, constantly at her mother's beck and call. The youngest, Maud, married her cousin Prince Charles of Denmark, who became King of Norway in 1905, and she adapted successfully if reluctantly to life as a Scandinavian Queen consort, though she was often homesick and continued to visit England regularly until her sudden death (awaiting an operation in a London hospital) in 1938.
This book sheds new light on the lives and personalities of an often-neglected branch of the British royal family.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste