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The Heir Apparent
The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince | Jane Ridley
4 posts | 2 read | 14 to read
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE BOSTON GLOBE This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victorias firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Granted unprecedented access to the royal archives, noted scholar Jane Ridley draws on numerous primary sources to paint a vivid portrait of the man and the age to which he gave his name. Born Prince Albert Edward, and known to familiars as Bertie, the future King Edward VII had a well-earned reputation for debauchery. A notorious gambler, glutton, and womanizer, he preferred the company of wastrels and courtesans to the dreary life of the Victorian court. His own mother considered him a lazy halfwit, temperamentally unfit to succeed her. When he ascended to the throne in 1901, at age fifty-nine, expectations were low. Yet by the time he died nine years later, he had proven himself a deft diplomat, hardworking head of state, and the architect of Britains modern constitutional monarchy. Jane Ridleys colorful biography rescues the man once derided as Edward the Caresser from the clutches of his historical detractors. Excerpts from letters and diaries shed new light on Berties long power struggle with Queen Victoria, illuminating one of the most emotionally fraught mother-son relationships in history. Considerable attention is paid to King Edwards campaign of personal diplomacy abroad and his valiant efforts to reform the political system at home. Separating truth from legend, Ridley also explores Berties relationships with the women in his life. Their ranks comprised his wife, the stunning Danish princess Alexandra, along with some of the great beauties of the era: the actress Lillie Langtry, longtime royal mistress Alice Keppel (the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles), and Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. Edward VII waited nearly six decades for his chance to rule, then did so with considerable panache and aplomb. A magnificent life of an unexpectedly impressive king, The Heir Apparent documents the remarkable transformation of a manand a monarchyat the dawn of a new century. Praise for The Heir Apparent If [The Heir Apparent] isnt the definitive life story of this fascinating figure of British history, then nothing ever will be.The Christian Science Monitor The Heir Apparent is smart, its fascinating, its sometimes funny, its well-documented and it reads like a novel, with Bertie so vivid he nearly leaps from the page, cigars and all.Minneapolis Star Tribune I closed The Heir Apparent with admiration and a kind of wry exhilaration.The Wall Street Journal Ridley is a serious scholar and historian, who keeps Berties flaws and virtues in a fine balance.The Boston Globe Brilliantly entertaining . . . a landmark royal biography.The Sunday Telegraph Superb.The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
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ladyonequestion
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Pickpick

It's well worth the commitment to reading this chunkster, I loved it. Ridley's assessment of his life and brief reign is fair and references other theories. What makes it so good is the wonderful anecdotes and biograohical details about the royals and the people they associated with which made me want to find out more about them.

Freespirit Looks interesting 4y
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ladyonequestion
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I haven't managed to read so many books this month for various reasons, one of which is this delightful biography which is a real doorstop, full of wonderful little biographical details. The image is of Susan Vane-Tempest who was briefly mentioned as a mistress. Wracking my brains about where I'd read about her before, she's a character in Barbara Ewing's novel The Petticoat Men about Victorian cross-dressers. An interesting but tragic life.

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tysephine
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I'm told I have to go buy chicken now, so I'm taking a little break. I'm only about 100 pages into this but I'm still enjoying it. I have about a bajillion to go! #24in48 #24in48readathon @24in48

rubyslippersreads This is on my TBR list too. 4y
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tysephine
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Almost 16.5 hours in now! I've started this biography of Edward VII and am thoroughly enjoying it. I feel absolutely awful for him as I learn about his upbringing. I always thought Queen Victoria was this supreme mother figure with her 9 children, but apparently she was just plain awful as a mother. #24in48 #24in48readathon @24in48

Reviewsbylola That looks like a great read but so long! 4y
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