Nine Kings and a Funeral: The Last Great Gathering of European Kings

The nine European kings who attended King Edward VII's funeral in 1910. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The funeral of King Edward VII on May 20, 1910, was a gloomy affair that sank the British Empire into sorrow. Its highlight, nevertheless, was the fact that it saw the largest gathering of European royalties to the pay their final respects to the monarch dubbed as the Uncle of Europe, whose efforts to maintain peace in the Continent earned him the moniker Edward the Peacemaker. It was also the last great gathering of European royals before World War I wiped out many royal families from their respective thrones.

The nine reigning monarchs rode behind the body of King Edward VII as it processed on the London streets from historic Westminster Hall to the railway train that conveyed it to Windsor.

The iconic photograph showing Europe’s crowned rulers now lingers as an ephemera of an era long gone. Standing were King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King George I of the Hellenes, King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated from left to right were King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Many of them were closely related to the deceased king.

The King of Norway was his son-in-law. As Prince Carl of Denmark, he married Princess Maud, the king’s youngest daughter. Kaiser Wilhelm II was his oldest nephew, while the King of Greece and King of Denmark were both brothers-in-law. The King of Spain was a nephew-in-law. King Albert of the Belgians and the Tsar of Bulgaria were both second cousins to the deceased king.  The King of Portugal was a fourth cousin.

Other royals who attended King Edward VII’s funeral were: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (whose assassination in 1914 plunged Europe into the first World War); the Crown Prince of the Ottoman Empire; Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia; the Duke of Aosta; Prince Fushimi Sadanaru; the Crown Prince of Greece;  Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania;  Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria; Duke Albrecht of Württemberg;  the Crown Prince of Serbia; Prince Consort of the Netherlands; Ernest II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine; Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz;  Prince Henry of Prussia;  Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha;  Prince Johann Georg of Saxony; the  Duke of Västergötland; the  Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont;  Prince Mohammed Ali of Egypt; Prince Arthur of Connaught; Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein;  Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein; Prince Alexander of Battenberg; the Duke of Fife; the Duke of Teck;  Prince Francis of Teck;  Prince Alexander of Teck;  Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark;  Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia;  Prince Maximilian of Baden;  the Crown Prince of Montenegro;  Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark;  Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha;  the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz;  Prince Luís of Orléans-Braganza (Brazil); the Duke of Penthièvre; Prince August Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Prince Wolrad of Waldeck-Pyrmont;  Prince Bovaradej of Siam; and Prince Zaitao of China, representing the Qing Dynasty.

The royal ladies were headed by Queen Alexandra; Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia;  the Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife; Princess Victoria; Queen Mary; Queen Maud of Norway; Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein;  Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll; Princess Henry of Battenberg; the Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn; the Dowager Duchess of Albany; Princess Patricia of Connaught; Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein.

The King’s grandchildren were also present: the Duke of Cornwall (later King Edward VIII);  Princess Mary; Princess Alexandra of Fife; Princess Maud of Fife;  Prince Albert (future King George VI) and Prince Henry (later Duke of Gloucester);

Representatives from republican governments were also around. Former President Theodore Roosevelt represented the United States, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Pichon, represented the French Republic, Samad Khan Momtaz os-Saltaneh came on behalf of Persia

Other relatives of the late king also attended the funeral. They were Prince George of Cumberland and Hanover, Prince Louis of Battenberg, the Duke of Argyll, the late king's brother-in-law, Prince Maurice of Battenberg,  Count Edward Gleichen, Prince George of Battenberg, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,  Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, Princess Louis of Battenberg, the Duchess of Teck,  Princess Louise of Battenberg, Princess Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and Countess Feodora Gleichen.


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