(Above: Albert Edward, the future Edward VII, at age 5.) Edward VII (1841-1910) has been dismissed by historians for decades as a fun-loving empty vessel who made no difference in British history. That is wrong. Edward ("Bertie" to his family and friends) inherited one of the most difficult tasks ever for a British monarch: to follow on the throne a near-saint Victoria. She had endured through so many challenges, lived so long, produced nine children, that when she was gone, Britain was stunned. Her first-born son had to pick up the pieces and do his best to hold the monarchy together in a terrible time; one filled with international crises and dangers at home. Surprising every one, Edward did a good job.
The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince,
Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 12, 2014),