Edward VII is responsible for the popularity of the royal family, according to an expert
On a beautiful morning in early 1910, the streets of London were filled with grandeur as King Edward VII’s funeral procession passed through Westminster, but one unlikely addition to the spectacular procession was Edward VII’s beloved canine companion.
He led a life of luxury in the royal world, with his own personal footmen and a designated chair to allow him to sleep right next to the king. His necklace read: “I am Caesar. I belong to the King”. It was reported that Caesar refused to eat after Edward’s death on May 6, 1910, and spent time whining outside the late monarch’s bedroom.
The king’s love for his canine friend was clear when Caesar took center stage during his funeral procession. The terrier led the motorcade alongside a Highland soldier, walking behind the car carrying Edward’s coffin.
His position placed him ahead of several heads of state, including Edward’s son, King George V, and eight other kings. The ‘unconventional’ sight captured the hearts of the nation, with the king’s parting moment proving that he and his pup were indeed inseparable.
However, while his involvement in the procession endeared him to some, Caesar’s presence was frowned upon by others.
Namely Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, who seemed unhappy that such precedence was given to a mere dog.
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Edward VII had a beloved Wire Fox Terrier named Caesar
Caesar was in the spotlight during Edward VII’s funeral procession
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Leo McKinstry, author and historian, explained that Wilhelm II saw it as an insult. Writing for the Daily Mail in 2010, Mr McKinstry said: ‘Kaiser Wilhelm II, who combined megalomania with acute sensitivity, privately bristled at the insult he had received from the monarchy British.
“It is not too fanciful to suggest that the incident fueled his hostility towards England, an attitude which in four years helped drag Europe into the bloody abyss of the First World War.”
Similarly, Thomas Blaikie, former royal correspondent for ‘The Lady’, said: ‘Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was very annoyed with Caesar and his notoriety at the funeral of his uncle, the king. It was thought that Caesar had taken precedence over him.
He told the 2013 Netflix documentary ‘The Royals’ that “it fueled his antipathy towards England and led directly to World War I”.
The funeral procession was a reflection of Britain’s status at the time
The funeral procession was a reflection of Britain at that time – it was the most important nation on earth, possessing the greatest empire in human history.
It is in stark contrast to Britain today, which Mr McKinstry described as ‘a middle-tier European country’.
At the time, the king’s death marked a “dark omen” that the Empire could be threatened. He quoted the aristocrat Lady Fawsley, who wrote at the time: “What a crushing blow has fallen on the Empire. There never was a time when our wise ruler, our truly beloved king, could be saving.”
While Edward was known for his self-indulgence, he was a particularly popular ruler. His son and successor, King George V, was less so, and immediately after his accession was plunged into a major constitutional crisis after Liberal leader Herbert Asquith introduced a sweeping measure to curb the power of the House of Lords. .
George V ruled through a tumultuous time, which saw World War I, political turmoil and a global financial crisis.
George V from May 6, 1910 until his death in 1936.
But, by his silver jubilee in 1935, George had become a beloved king. His eldest son, Edward VIII, inherited the throne after George’s death but abdicated months later to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
It was during this time that the course of the monarchy changed forever, placing Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) in the direct line of succession. According to reports, George predicted this major constitutional change, saying of his son Edward: “After my death the boy will ruin himself within 12 months”, and of Prince Albert (later King George VI) and Elizabeth: “I pray for God my eldest son will never marry and have no children, and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne.”
After Edward’s abdication, George VI inherited the throne and Elizabeth became his heir. Their family of four, which also included Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, formed the royal family structure we know today.
George and Elizabeth were highly respected among the public, having seen the country during World War II.
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King George VI and his family formed the royal family structure we see today
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In 1952, when George VI died suddenly in his sleep, his eldest daughter, who was only 25, became the new monarch. Queen Elizabeth II’s reign lasted over 70 years, making her the longest-serving British monarch in history.
The Commonwealth had been formed three years earlier when the nations agreed to maintain an association between countries that had once been part of Britain’s colonies, but were considered “free and equal”.
Queen Elizabeth witnessed the dissolution of the British Empire and became the head of the Commonwealth after the death of her father. Having acceded to the throne in the post-war period, the Queen served as head of state during a period of great change.
As Brooke Newman, Ph.D., associate professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences, said: “Queen Elizabeth and the 1,000-year-old institution she embodied provided continuity and solace in a world Through seven decades of social and political upheaval, the Queen has remained an unwavering, seemingly timeless figure, a national symbol of duty, longevity and resilience.
“On the other hand, the monarchy, with its lavish and archaic customs and its wealth and privileges inherited from the millennium, has often appeared old-fashioned and even useless, especially during times of economic crisis and austerity. To ensure survival of the institution, Queen Elizabeth has been forced to adapt and, at times, bow to public pressure.”
Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952 when she was just 25
While their reigns seemed very different, Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth II both made their love for their dogs clear. Since the queen’s death, questions have arisen about the fate of her beloved corgis, the pets she has cherished since childhood.
It has been revealed that his dogs will be cared for by his son, Prince Andrew, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
Like Edward VI, who was given Caeaser by a friend, Elizabeth received her first corgi, Susan, on her eighteenth birthday. Over the next six decades, she would own more than 30 descendants of Susan.
According to reports, a young Princess Elizabeth and Susan were inseparable. When the pup died in 1959, the Queen wrote: ‘I had always dreaded losing her, but am very grateful that her suffering was so happily short.’
Elizabeth’s love for corgis started when she was a child
Queen Elizabeth II kept corgis throughout her 70-year reign
Susan was buried in Sandringham Pet Cemetery, started by the famous engaged mourner Queen Victoria.
Edward VI’s relationship with his dog is recognized on his tomb in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where Caeser is depicted eternally curled up at the king’s feet.