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Edward VII (1841-1910)

Edward VII, born November 9, 1841, was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Queen Victoria, believing the worst about her son, imposed a strict regime upon him and denied him the privileges of his governmental authority, and Edward proved rebellious and resentful throughout his early life. His marriage at the age of twenty-two to Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 brought him solace for a short while, but he soon indulged himself in extramarital affairs, food, drink, gambling, sport and travel. Upon his mother's death, Edward succeeded the throne and despite his sordid past, gave himself fully to the role of King. His extensive European travels gave him a solid foundation as an ambassador in foreign relations. Edward's forays into foreign policy had direct bearing on the alliances between Great Britain and both France and Russia. In addition, during Edward's governance Parliament passed notable social legislation, including the 1902 Education Act and the 1909 Labour Exchanges Act. Despite his mother's misgivings, Edward's reign was peaceful and successful, and aside from his sexual indiscretions, the King's manner and style endeared him to the English populace.