Sunday, October 28, 2018

DAY 86: Bertie, Force of Nature

The Playboy Prince, Albert Edward of Wales, grew up in the dense shadow of his mother Victoria's love for his father, Albert. The Queen decided early in Bertie's life that he was unworthy to wear the crown. He was too unsteady, too indulged, too self-absorbed, too much like the Regency uncles she'd despised from childhood. The fact that Bertie kept his father walking in the rain a day or so before Albert fell fatally ill made everything worse; for the rest of her life, Queen Victoria blamed her son for his father's death. Albert probably died of typhus (the drains at Buckingham Palace were notoriously foul) or stomach cancer, neither of which the Prince caused. 

Victoria's constant disapproval of Bertie meant that she gave him no serious work to do for most of his life. He was a restless man--despite his affection for Princess Alix and their seven children, his attention constantly strayed to other women. He was a man of enormous appetities--for food, clothes, racehorses, houses, gambling, cards, flamboyant gifts he showered on his friends, and for friends themselves. The Marlborough House Set, as his clique came to be known, was a byword for those who lived most glamorously and dangerously in England.

Randolph was a member of the Set long before he met Jennie. The Churchills' ancestral London home, Marlborough House, had reverted to the Crown and was Bertie's residence in Town. The Prince adored American women--for their wit, their style, their independence of British convention, their ease with varying social classes and their wealth. In addition to Jennie, Bertie's American friends included Consuelo Yznaga Mandeville and Minnie Stevens Paget.

For more images from THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, visit the  Pinterest board behind the novel.

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