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  • Published: 30 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161119
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 640

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

An exciting new biography of Edward VII, the playboy prince who changed the monarchy, by prizewinning historian and biographer Jane Ridley.



Edward VII, who gave his name to the Edwardian era but was always known as Bertie, was fifty-nine when he finally came to power and ushered out the Victorian age. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Bertie was bullied by both his parents. Denied any proper responsibilities, the heir to the throne spent his time eating (which earned him the nickname ‘Tum Tum’), pursuing women (which Queen Victoria held to be the reason for Albert’s early demise), gambling, going to house parties and race meetings, and shooting pheasants. His arranged marriage to the stunning Danish princess Alexandra gave him access to the European dynastic network; but his name was linked with many beauties, including Lillie Langtry and Winston Churchill’s mother. This magnificent new biography provides new insight into the playboy prince while painting a vivid portrait of the age in all its excess and eccentricity.

  • Published: 30 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161119
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 640

About the author

Jane Ridley

Jane Ridley is Professor of History at Buckingham University, where she teaches a course on biography. Her books include The Young Disraeli, acclaimed by Robert Blake as definitive; and a highly praised study of the architect Edwin Lutyens and his relationship with his troubled wife, which won the Duff Cooper Prize in 2003. Her most recent biography, Bertie: A Life of Edward VII was a Sunday Times bestseller and one of the most critically acclaimed books of its year. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Ridley writes book reviews for the Spectator and other newspapers, and has also appeared on radio and several television documentaries. She lives in London and Scotland.

Also by Jane Ridley

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Praise for Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

A fascinating and compulsively entertaining biography... Ridley’s research is woven through the book, often with considerable humour, illuminating not only the life of a king, but those of his family, friends and lovers... A vibrantly atmospheric portrait

Juliet Nicholson, Daily Telegraph

A model of how royal biographies should be written... impeccably researched, with much new material, balanced, sensible, disrespectful without being offensive, funny, and a vivid portrait of one of Britain’s most underrated and understudied monarchs

Philip Ziegler, Spectator (Books of the Year)

Brilliantly entertaining… Richly detailed, impeccably researched… Written with a light touch and full of human sympathy… A landmark royal biography

Anne Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph

Hugely entertaining from first page to last... It is also scholarly and revealing

Miriam Gross, Evening Standard (Books of the Year)

Paints the story of Edward VII and his long, hectic life as Prince of Wales in vivid colours: no scandal is left unturned, and yet the depth and authenticity of the research make it clear that this is a serious, even magesterial work

Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph (Books of the Year)

Profoundly learned and a cracking good read

AN Wilson, Spectator

Richly colourful and wittily observed

Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Ridley has written a marvellous biography. Her book is racy and pacy, filled with delicious descriptions of grand Edwardian shooting parties, cutting-edge fashion and, of course, a string of beautiful society women. But she is never trivial, and nor is her Bertie

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

This is not only the best biography of King Edward VII; it’s also the best book about royalty ever published… Vivid, detailed and original

Piers Brendon, Independent