"the obese and bearded princeling who has taken his place in the royal box twice nightly since Fevvers' first night"

Coronation portait of King Edward II (1902)
Public DomainCoronation portait of King Edward II (1902) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
King Edward VII (Prince Albert Edward) was the eldest son of Queen Victoria, and assumed the throne in 1901, aged 59.  He was a stout, bearded man, who reigned until 1910.  As king he was popular, overseeing the rise of industry and foreseeing the risk of war with Germany.  However, he was a heavy smoker and was known to have had several love affairs both before and during his marriage to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.  Many of his consorts were actresses and singers, including Sarah Bernhardt and Lady Randolph Churchill (mother of Winston).  His father, Prince Albert, died just two weeks after visiting Albert Edward to reprimand him for the first of these public affairs with the actress Nellie Clifton; for some time Victoria blamed her son for his death, and refused to be associated with him.