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The Life of King Edward VII by J. Castell Hopkins

[Illustration: EDWARD VII, KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND AND OF THE BRITISH DOMINIONS BEYOND THE SEAS, AND EMPEROR OF INDIA

Born November 9, 1841. Ascended the throne January 22, 1901. Died May 6, 1910]

THE LIFE OF KING EDWARD VII

WITH A SKETCH OF THE CAREER OF KING GEORGE V

By J. CASTELL HOPKINS, F.S.S.

1910

_Author of "Queen Victoria, Her Life and Reign;" "Life and Work of Mr. Gladstone;" "The Story of the Dominion", &c., &c._

Profusely Illustrated

Copyright 1910, by W. E. Scull.

PREFACE

During a number of years' study of British institutions in their modern development and of British public life in its adjustment to new and changing conditions I have felt an ever-growing appreciation of the active influence exercised by the late Sovereign of the British Empire upon the social life and public interests of the United Kingdom and an ever-increasing admiration for his natural abilities and rare tactfulness of character. King Edward the Seventh, in a sixty years' tenure of the difficult position of Heir to the British Throne, built into the history of his country and Empire a record of which he and his people had every reason to be proud. He had for many years the responsibilities of a Royal position without the actual power; the public functions of a great ruler without the resources usually available; the knowledge, experience and statecraft of a wise Sovereign without Regal environment.

The Prince of Wales, however, rose above the apparent difficulties of his position and for more than a quarter of a century emulated the wise example of his princely father--Albert the Good--and profited by the beautiful character and unquestioned statesmanship of his august mother. As with all those upon whose life beats the glare of ever-present publicity and upon whose actions the press of friendly and hostile nations alike have the privilege of ceaseless comment, the Heir to the British Throne had to suffer from atrocious canards as well as from fulsome compliments. Unlike many others, however, he afterwards lived down the falsehoods of an early time; conquered by his clear, open life the occasional hostility of a later day; and at the period of his accession to the Throne was, without and beyond question, the best liked Prince in Europe--the most universally popular man in the United Kingdom and its external Empire. Upon the verge of His Majesty's Coronation there occurred that sudden and dramatic illness which proved so well the bravery and patience of the man, and increased so greatly the popularity and _prestige_ of the Monarch.

Since then the late King has yearly grown in the regard of his people abroad, in the respect of other rulers and nations, in the admiration of all who understood the difficulties of his position, the real force of his personality and influence, the power with which he drew to the Throne--even after the remarkable reign of Victoria the Good--an increased affection and loyalty from Australians and South Africans and Canadians alike, an added confidence and loyal faith in his judgment from all his British peoples whether at home or over seas.


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