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Oxted and District History Society
Tuesday 6th October 2007.

Edward the Caresser

Queen Victoria resolved that Edward, Prince of Wales, known as Bertie, was to be brought up as a paragon of virtue. He was not allowed to mix with contemporaries, even at University, to avoid corruption. This changed at Army camp, aged 20, when fellow cadets smuggled an actress into his tent. Queen Victoria was not amused and blamed Bertie for Prince Albert’s death (from typhoid) a few weeks later.

Bertie was soon married to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, initially a very happy marriage. He retained affection for her throughout his life. After her children were born Alexandra retired into domestic life. By contrast Bertie threw himself into Society, leading the Marlborough House Set. He nearly died from typhoid in 1871, following involvement in a divorce scandal the previous year. He had 3 main mistresses, firstly Lily Langtrey, then the Countess of Warwick and lastly Alice Keppel, who shared Bertie’s and Alexandra’s lives with amazing mutual toleration. 

After Victoria’s death in 1901, Edward became a popular and efficient King, helped by his gift for friendship. One gallery at his coronation known as ‘ The King’s Loose Box ‘ was filled with ex-mistresses and paramours..

Lecture given by Elizabeth Lanyon at
Oxted United Reformed Church,
Bluehouse Lane, Oxted