Review: Bertie, Jane Ridley

Rating: 5 out of 5

It is a wonder to read two biographies of relatively similar people in close succession. For me, one was a book on Edward VII and the other on William Pitt the Younger. Ms Ridley’s thorough look at the life of the Prince of Wales is absolutely thrilling. The book brims with interesting detail from the smallest to the largest — and the main characters flaws as well as strengths are brought forward in amazing detail.

The most thrilling parts of this book were the characterisations of Bertie with respect to his mother — how his wishes worked together, what events they worked for together, etc. This is especially interesting as Bertie’s idea of kingship was so different to that of Victoria, and yet they managed to align on so many counts.

The crown prince’s conflicts with both his mother as well as various political figures are brought into light along with his affairs and how Edward treated the people around him. In most cases, this seems to have been a most relaxed attitude, friendly and charming with no distinction.

The read is made the more interesting by the occasional glimpses into how the future King George differed from his father — and, how indeed the youthful exuberances of Bertie may have helped flesh his character into one that was perfectly suited to be the King.

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