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The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince Hardcover – Unabridged, December 3, 2013
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“The Heir Apparent is smart, it’s fascinating, it’s sometimes funny, it’s well-documented and it reads like a novel, with Bertie so vivid he nearly leaps from the page, cigars and all.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I closed The Heir Apparent with admiration and a kind of wry exhilaration.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Ridley is a serious scholar and historian, who keeps Bertie’s flaws and virtues in a fine balance.”—The Boston Globe
“Brilliantly entertaining . . . a landmark royal biography.”—The Sunday Telegraph
“Superb.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A top-notch royal biography . . . The title of Ridley’s biography of King Edward is appropriate to the popular sense of the monarch, that his life was defined by his many years as the indulged and indulgent Prince of Wales. But significant research stands behind the author’s more judicious understanding of the man, that the ‘dissipated prince evolved into a model king.’”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] marvelously rich biography of Edward VII . . . Readers both general and specialized will delight in Ridley’s work; it raises the bar for royal biographies to come.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A highly readable, definitive biography of Queen Victoria’s son, the ‘black sheep of Buckingham Palace,’ who matured into an effective monarch . . . [A] top-notch life of the king . . . There is no shortage of biographies of Edward VII, but this thick, lucid and lively history deserves pride of place on the shelf.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] splendid new biography.”—The Guardian
“Profoundly learned and a cracking good read.”—The Spectator
“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.”—The Mail on Sunday
“Ridley’s definitive biography is a remarkable achievement. Entertaining, readable and illuminating, this much-anticipated reappraisal of a fascinating life is a brilliant tour de force.”—Bridlington Free Press
“Bertie, as he was universally known, couldn’t do anything without it being commented on and often distorted. Though the gossip columnists had plenty of material to work with, they only told part of the story. [Ridley] does an excellent job of redressing the balance.”—Financial Times
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Top Customer Reviews
The eldest son of long-reigning Queen Victoria, the youthful Edward VII, then known as the Prince of Wales and nicknamed Bertie, showed little promise as a prospective British monarch. Insofar as his future required disciplined intelligence and scholarly cultivation, the transition from the high-sounding but devoid-of-duties Prince of Wales to the demanding role of King in a constitutional monarchy seemed a move that Bertie was sure to bungle. Ignorant and ineffectual monarchs are commonplace throughout European history, but the proud Victoria had hoped to produce something much better.
Ironically, the length of Victoria's reign and her lack of confidence in Bertie both contributed to turning him into a womanizer, hard-luck gambler, world-class glutton, and general purpose do-nothing.Read more ›
It is easy to be appalled by the circumstances under which Edward VII spent his boyhood. He was raised under an exhausting and unimaginative regimen which did not suit him, and was continually reminded by his parents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of how much depended on him and how disappointed they were that he did not live up to their expectations. He might have grown up a bitter and badly warped personality, but instead he became a kindly, if sometimes thoughtless individual who loved fun and games. His mother refused to allow him to play any role in government, meaning that he had to fill his days with amusements. He was married at a young age to the beautiful Princess Alexandra, and he indulged himself with a series of romantic affairs and a number of semi-official mistresses, including Lillie Langtry.Read more ›
In this meticulously researched and very well written history, Ms. Ridley made excellent use of her unrestricted access to royal archives at Windsor Castle. What emerges is not only a delightful biography of Edward, but also an engaging glimpse of the era in which he lived. This is truly living history.
Albert Edward (Bertie) was the second child and oldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. From the start, Bertie was a disappointment, lagging far behind his oldest sister, Vicky. It wasn't that Bertie was dumb. More likely, he was a lazy and unmotivated student. He was the type of child who responded to positive reinforcement and kindness--something not to be found with his strict parents, who insisted on stricter tutors. The prince grew up to be a social, likeable, but hedonistic adult.
With Bertie, it was a question of the chicken of the egg. Did Victoria's refusal to give him any active role in her government lead to his self-indulgent lifestyle? Or did Bertie's pleasure-seeking ways keep Victoria from trusting him with state matters? Bertie over-indulged in everything from women to food to gambling to smoking.
Ridley claims that through her research, she realized that Bertie "grew up" and that "My affection grew for the man condemned to the lifetime of indulgence and political impotence while he waited for his mother to die.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was quite an interesting read, but at least for me, more so for the insights to Queen Victoria (an especially her relationship with Albert), and the lifestyles of the royal... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andy Glass
Well researched and written, and overturning conventional thought on the accomplishments of Edward VIIPublished 4 months ago by MOORE H. JAN
Magnificently researched, strips back the venire of the Victorian era, especially when it comes to the mental state of Queen Victoria and the upbringing of Royal children. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Don Sielaff
jane ridley is the best current writer of this genre of books around. one of the best jobs of research that i have seen since james pope-hennessy and hannah pakula. Read morePublished 6 months ago by stanway
I admit to knowing little of the British succession of Kings, Queens and Princes. The subject has never intrigued me, except for the brief period when Diana Spencer cracked the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Pugwash
I didn't want this book to end. Edward's story is better than any soap opera because it's absolutely true. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kate