Edward the Peacemaker
King Edward the Seventh was the eldest son of queen Victoria, and her husband, the Prince Consort. For nearly 70 years, his sayings and doings were followed with great interest by the people of this country.
"He is a pleasing, lively boy," said someone who knew him at the age of six. Of course, the good and wise queen Victoria was very careful to have him well taught. He had the best teachers in all branches of knowledge, and the queen herself took the greatest interest in his studies.
As the future king of dominions on which the sun never sets, it was thought right that the prince of Wales should visit some of our lands beyond the sea. So we hear of him shooting tigers in India, and making journeys in a canoe on the rivers of Canada.
KING EDWARD VII
There were great rejoicings in 1863 when the prince married a Danish princess—queen Alexandra. The lovely "Sea King's daughter from over the sea" charmed the hearts of all who saw her. Never had such crowds been seen in London as greeted the prince and his bride.
Some years later, in 1871, the voice of prayer was heard throughout the land for our beloved prince. He had been stricken down with fever, and for some days it was thought he would die. At last, he began to grow better, and a solemn service was held in St Paul's cathedral, to thank God for bringing him back to health.
For some years before queen Victoria died, many of her duties were carried out by the prince, so that he was quite used to the work of a king, when he began to reign in 1901.
The crowning of king Edward and queen Alexandra in 1902 was a very grand ceremony. The streets of London were quite gay with tall masts, flags and fairy lamps, while the bells rang merrily and cannon fired loud salutes.
Crowds of people had filled the streets from early morning. The day was very fine, and when the king and queen passed along in a grand carriage, drawn by eight cream coloured horses, loud cheers filled the air.
When the king and queen reached Westminster abbey, that grand old building was filled by about 6000 people, many of whom had come from all parts of our empire. The queen went first to her seat, wearing a fine robe of purple velvet and white fur.
King Edward entered the abbey a few minutes later. Very stately he looked in his crimson robes, and on each side of him walked an archbishop. When he was seated in St Edward's chair, he was crowned by the archbishop of Canterbury. Then the bells rang again, trumpets were blown, and the people shouted "God save the King."
Queen Alexandra was then crowned by the archbishop of York, and, when the short service was over, all who were present sang the national anthem.
Throughout the land, the day was spent in feasting and merrymaking, and at night bonfires blazed.
During the nine years of his reign, king Edward ruled us wisely and well. He led a very busy life, and did many things for the good of his people.
In the olden days, kings often led their armies to war: now, the best and wisest of monarchs are lovers of peace. We know that king Edward did a very great deal to keep Britain at peace with other nations.
He paid visits to most of the rulers of Europe, and many of them were his guests. The king was liked wherever he went, whether it was to Sandringham, his country home in Norfolk, or to some foreign town which he liked to visit.
To the great sorrow of all his people, and, indeed, of the whole world, this wise and great monarch died in May 1910, after a very short illness.
Like the knights of old, king Edward died fighting; not, it is true, on the field of battle, but in trying to do his duty as a king, even on the day of his death. "I will work to the end" was one of the last things he said.
Our sailor-monarch, George V, has now succeeded to his father's throne.
In the summer of 1911 the thoughts not only of us who live in England, but of all the "Britons beyond the seas" were turned to Westminster Abbey, where the crowning of our king and queen took place. Amidst great pomp and splendour the imperial crown was placed upon king George's head and on the following days the people of London and of the many other towns which he visited were able to give him and queen Mary a loyal and eager welcome.
Later in the year the king and queen showed how anxious they were to make themselves known to the millions of our Indian empire by making a voyage to the East and receiving the homage of the Indian princes at the great coronaŽtion Durbar at Delhi. This ancient city was now declared to be the capital of the Indian empire and those who saw the wonderful ceremony tell us what a great deal of good the royal visit did to the country in winning the love and strengthŽening the loyalty of the native peoples.