Controversial Royal Family members is not necessarily only a feature of late 20th or 21st century life. Although they were not subjected to the intense media scrutiny that our Royals are today, two Princes of Wales and two namesakes have captured the fevered imaginations of the public in their wilder early days – later to become Edward VII and Edward VIII respectively.
The Playboy Princes – the Apprentice Years of Edward VII and Edward VIII
Both have uncanny parallels with modern day princes. The former was, like Charles today, stooging around for years while waiting for a record-breaking mother to either allow him to ascend to the throne, or die. Edward’s romances too were the subject of much gossip and, incredibly, one of his mistresses was great-grandmother to one Camilla Parker-Bowles. . .
Edward VII had slightly more gravitas than his successor and the man who would briefly become Edward VIII played the playboy to the hilt, irresistibly reminding us of Prince Harry today. Where Harry has caused newspaper and political comment today with his Nazi regalia at parties, Edward seriously flirted with Fascism – but both have been of more than slight concern to the Establishment.
Peter Beer’s dual biography offers a compelling portrait of men living for the moment, knowing that a later life of solemn duty beckons. The story of each resonates in a fascinating way as he compares them to what we have now in the way of princes.