Edward VII smoked at least 20 cigarettes and 12 cigars a day, and when he died of emphysema and a series of heart attacks in 1910, he had both his wife and mistress at his bedside. It took 8 days for the undertakers to get permission from Queen Alexandra to take Bertie’s body. She remained devoted and just couldn’t part with him.
He had become the ‘People’s King’ even though he had been a difficult, overweight, philandering prince and king, who had embarrassed his father, Albert, and been held responsible, by his mother (Queen Victoria) for the death of his father.
As he was so popular, it was decided to have his body lay in state in Westminster Hall, the magnificent 900 year old hall, that is the oldest in the Parliamentary estate. The queue to see the king stretched for over 7 miles.
He was the first British monarch to lie in state, a practice which has continued to this day.
Dawn Denton ©
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