The Gay Monarch by Edward VII

Coronation Portrait of Edward VII by Sir Luke Fildes (Wikipedia)

Please don't be confused by the title of this book. Edward VII most certainly wasn't gay in the modern meaning of the word! He loved women and had lots of mistresses.

This is an excellent introduction to the life of this interesting monarch, although Jane Ridley's book is far more detailed and more thoroughly researched.  However, this is written in a lively style and Virginia Cowles certainly discusses all the salient points of Edward VII's life, although she really doesn't go into depth about the episode with Nelly Clifton and Edward's parent's somewhat fanatical attitude to Edward's immorality, which I found somewhat surprising.  However, she describes King Edward's rigid schooling and lonely childhood, Queen Victoria's treating him as a child by not letting him see the all-important red boxes, and her general lack of faith in him.  

Cowles's writing is especially vivid when Edward becomes King and she explains how he charmed a hostile Paris and his fraught relationship with his difficult nephew, the Kaiser.  I enjoyed this part of the book the best. I want to read more books by Cowles, whose writing is not at all dry or dull.

I received this ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.


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