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Edward VII

(1841—1910) king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, and emperor of India

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King of the United Kingdom (1901–10) – a short and relatively uneventful reign.

Eldest son of Queen Victoria, he was created Prince of Wales shortly after his birth. In his youth he became leader of the so-called ‘Marlborough House set’, a fashionable and pleasure-loving group of friends who met at his London home. The prince's early indiscretions undermined the Queen's confidence in him, and he was excluded from all political responsibility – for instance, he never saw a cabinet paper until 1892. As a result he was ill-prepared for rule and had an inflated view of his own influence, especially in foreign affairs, though his visit to Paris in 1903 may have encouraged the French to accept the Anglo-French entente cordiale (1904). His charm brought him great popularity. His consort Alexandra (1844–1925) was a Danish princess whom he married in 1863. She was founder of Queen Alexandra's Imperial (now Royal) Army Nursing Corps in 1902 and also instituted the Alexandra Rose Day, on which roses are sold every year in aid of hospitals.

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