How Queen Victoria drove King Edward VII to debauchery

Edward VII, when he was still Prince of Wales

It’s been a known fact that King Edward VII was known for his womanizing and carefree lifestyle while he was Prince of Wales. But he was not completely to blame.

In a two-part article published in Daily Mail, Jane Ridley , who made a comprehensive research at the Royal Archives, found out what went wrong with the Prince’s life.  From the time he was born, Prince “Bertie,” as what he was known in the family, was never loved at all.  His mother Queen Victoria complained that he was large, at 4 ft 11 in. The Queen herself suffered from depression right after bearing him. Sooner than later, his care was relegated to a wet nurse and his mother thought of him as ugly and “too frightful,” not worthy of being called Albert. In fact, he was simply referred to as “The Boy.”  Out-witted, out-charmed and out-loved by his elder sister, Vicky, he saw less and less of his parents’ attentions and affection upon the coming of his pretty sister Alice and clever brother Alfred.

Queen Victoria
The result? The Prince became an attention seeker, common among children who were less loved by their parents. What was worse was that Dr. Andrew Combe, a quack doctor who believed that a person’s intellect could be measured by the size of the skull, to whom the Queen and Prince Albert consulted Bertie’s attention-seeking behavior, suggested that the Prince should be subjected to rigorous  education to put his mind to exercise. While the rest of the Royal Family were on holiday at the countryside, the Prince was left at Eton with his tutors studying. When he did something good, Prince Albert, seemed never to be satisfied of it and wanted more from him. But when something went wrong, Bertie was severely punished. In his parents eyes, the more he grew older, the more he turned worse. They decided to marry him off but there was limited choice of good candidates until Princess Alexandra of Denmark came along. But Bertie knew nothing of this wedding plans as he was very satisfied with his sexual escapades with the prostitute Nellie Clifden. Things changed when Prince Albert died. Wanting to console his mother, the Prince had finally decided to acquiesce to the wedding plan that Prince Albert had earlier instigated but that never tamed him.

Ridley succinctly tells about Bertie’s escapades and corridor-creepings. “In Paris, he cavorted with prostitutes in a copper bath filled with champagne, had his own regular room in a brothel and even commissioned a ‘seat of love’, featuring a complicated design of stirrups and supports.” At home, “he insisted on being introduced to the latest society beauties and commanded friends to invite his mistresses to house parties.”

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in their coronation regalia
When asked about his long-suffering wife, Princess Alexandra — known as Alix — he’d say: ‘She is my brood mare. The others are my hacks.” But no matter how many mistresses the King kept, still he looked upon Alexandra with love, respect and affection.

And then came Queen Victoria’s meddling. The Prince had wanted to take an active role in the government and in his own capacity do something to support the cause of the Crown. Queen Victoria never wanted to hear anything of it so he came back to his old self. The one suffering the most was Princess Alexandra, who became increasingly deaf, something that did her well also as she made this ailment the reason not to listen to things that she didn’t want to.

In 1877 came Lillie Langtry, perhaps the longest serving and the most visible of all the King’s mistresses. In fact, she was always seen with Bertie and she was even together with the King and Queen Alexandra. She was everywhere even on holidays, which irritated the Queen to the core. But the Queen has something to thank to because Lillie put a period on all of the prince’s fling.

Please read Ridley’s two part abstract about King Edward VII, his relationships with his mother, Queen Victoria, and his wife, Queen Alexandra, and her numerous escapades with his mistresses:


  1. This story is so weird, as if the writer doesnt comprehend that "Bertie" is a man. The constant use of the pronoun, "she" is completely WRONG. please fix!!!

  2. I couldn't find one instance of the author using 'she' when they should have used he. Either the article has been fixed, or misread.


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