I’m always fascinated by the royal family’s history, and it’s interesting to see similarities between the monarchy as we know it today, and their forebears. And in this documentary about the life of Edward VII, there could possibly be comparisons drawn with at least one royal, but I’m afraid of getting my head lopped off, so I’ll mention no names…
But he looks a bit like the FA Cup…
Anyway, we heard all about Bertie, as he was known amongst his nearest and dearest, but despite the affectionate abridgement of his name, his mother, Queen Victoria, wasn’t overly fond of him it would seem. She said of her son, “Whenever I see Bertie, I shudder.”
But it seems he didn’t let his cold and aloof mother stop him from enjoying all the benefits that came with being him, including having any woman he wanted, any time it would seem.
He even had a chair made that was sturdy enough to bear his not inconsiderable weight while he and his latest ‘lady friend’ did the do. And when he wasn’t doing it in his own chair, he was off to Paris to do in their chairs.
But, as happens today, the women involved could end up being persona non grata, and one even ended up in a lunatic asylum! Lady Harriet Mordaunt’s husband cited Bertie in a divorce hearing, and in order to spare the King the embarrassment of owning up to dipping his quill in someone else’s ink, she was declared insane and committed.
At least these days the worst that might happen is that you’re blasted by the tabloids. Mind you, if the latter day conspiracy theorists are right, there’s an outside chance you may not get from one side of French tunnel to the other in one piece if you bring the monarchy into disrepute…
Moving swiftly on, some of my favourite segments of this film were those containing archive footage; it always adds a depth that narrative can’t and makes films of this nature that bit more entertaining.
If you missed it and just love juicy royal gossip – albeit rather old gossip – then you’ll most likely enjoy this film. You can catch it again here on BBC’s iPlayer.