Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

Bee Wilson writes:

Jane Ridley’s absorbing new biography shows that Victoria was horrified by her eldest son almost from the moment he was born. As a baby, he looked ‘too frightful’ and was ‘sadly backward’. The queen compared him unfavourably with his older sister Vicky, who was far cleverer, spoke French at the age of three and read Shakespeare and Gibbon for fun. But the unfailing point of comparison was her sainted Albert, against whom Bertie never had any chance of measuring up. She named him Albert Edward, but when he was 18 months wrote: ‘I do not think him worthy of being called Albert yet.’

(LRB 27 September 2012)

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