Edward the Seventh (a.k.a. Edward the King) (1975)
Director: John Gorrie.
Starring: Annette Crosbie (Queen Victoria), Felicity Kendal (Princess Vicky), Timothy West (Prince of Wales), Michael Byrne (Fritz), Ian Gelder (Affie), Guy Slater (Charles Carrington), Robert Hardy (Prince Albert), Helen Ryan (Princess Alexandra), Michael Hordern (W. E. Gladstone), Deborah Makepeace (Helena), Andrť Morell (Lord Palmerston), Shirley Steedman (Alice), Harry Andrews (Col. Bruce), Kathleen Byron (Queen Louise of Denmark), William Dysart (John Brown), Paul Greenhalgh (George I Of Greece), Jane Lapotaire (Empress Dagmar), Alison Leggatt (Duchess of Kent), John Normington (Oliver Montagu), Bruce Purchase (Czar Alexandra III), Charles Sturridge (Edward as a teenager), John Gielgud (Benjamin Disraeli), Francesca Annis (Lillie Langtry), Madeleine Cannon (Princess Victoria), Peter Collingwood (Lord John Russell), Charles Dance (Prince Eddy), Anthony Douse (Christian IX), Michael Elder (Grant), Rosalyn Elvin (Princess Maud), Deborah Grant (Alexandra of Denmark), Max Hartnell (Equerry), Nigel Havers (Hon. Frederick Crichton), Peter Howell (Francis Knollys), Moultrie Kelsall (Sir James Clark), Barbara Laurenson (Charlotte Knellys), Rhoda Lewis (Lady Macclesfield), Susan Macready (Wally Paget), Vanessa Miles (Princess Louise), Michael Osborne (Prince George), Philippa Robinson (Louise), Gwyneth Strong (Minnie), Gareth Thomas (Lord Beresford), Noel Willman (Baron Stockmar).
the life of Queen Victoria's son, Edward Albert, who became Edward VII
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
Episode I. The Boy (1841-1843)
Scene I. The Young Queen.
The band warms up before the dancing begins. Young Queen Victoria says she is so nervous. She has just found out that she is pregnant again. She says: "Such a thing to find out on your birthday." She is nervous and irritable. Her husband, Prince Consort Albert, tries to soothe her: "But you look so pretty on your birthday." Waiting for the Queen some of the men agree: "There is trouble brewing . . ." They are referring to trouble between Victoria and her mother. The Duke of Wellington (victorious over Napoleon at Waterloo) detains the Queen's mother. Mom complains that her daughter never listens to her anymore, since she became queen. And she is still listening to Lord Melbourne (Prime Minister, 1834 and 1835Ė1841, who was a mentor of Queen Victoria.)
Albert shows their baby girl to Victoria. Victoria, still upset, says she's ugly. "All babies are ugly. And I'm going to have another. I've just had one." She says that it is degrading and that it should never have happened. She refers to "the pain and the humiliation". She says she's only just recovered from the last child. Albert wants Baroness Lehzen to leave the room while he talks with Victoria, but Victoria says no. She cries.
Albert complains to the Queen's private secretary, Baron Stockmar, about Victoria's raging temper. Stockmar sympathizes with Albert. He says that Lord Melbourne taught her how to use power and how to enjoy that use. And the pregnancy reminds her she is, after all, only a woman. He also says her grandfather died mad. His advice is to proceed with great caution. Albert indicates that this will not be easy since Victoria pays no attention to his opinions on anything. Stockmar urges Albert to be gentle with Victoria.
Scene II. Forgiveness.
The next morning Victoria comes in to see Albert. She says he did not come to her last night. Victoria is upset and she apologizes to Albert. She says that she was selfish. Albert tells her that she was just tired. And he urges her to rely on him more. She just says: "Yes, Albert." Lord Melbourne is announced. Albert says that he will come with Victoria to talk with the former Prime Minister. But Victoria says no. Albert is upset again.
Albert goes horseback riding with his brother. He says he is not even in charge of his own house. His brother asks him why he lets his wife treat him this way. Meanwhile, Victoria speaks with Lord Melbourne. He says that unemployment is growing and the people are upset about it. Victoria says that she does not want a change of government.
Albert comes to speak with Victoria at her desk. He has nothing to do. So Victoria tells him that he can blot her letters and he does so. Albert tells her that he would like to discuss politics with her from time to time. Victoria is agreeable to this, but she insists that Albert not interfere with the running of the household.
Scene III. Political Advantages.
Victoria sits with her mother and Baroness Lehzen along with some other women. The Queen says that Lord Melbourne wants Albert to be more involved in politics. But the sentiment of the other women is that they are opposed to the idea. He is already not liked, they say. England would never let him interfere.
Albert, however, does "intervene" in a small way. He knows that if Peel becomes prime minister he will want his own ministers. Albert decides to work out a compromise with Peel on the matter to take a little weight off of Victoria's shoulders.
Lord Melbourne speaks with Queen Victoria. He tells her that he will not be able to meet regularly with her any longer. She needs to establish a good relationship with Peel. Victoria says that she has already sent for Peel to talk to him. Melbourne says that she will find the man "able". And he suggest to her to talk things over with Albert; rely more on him. Victoria responds: "I will try."
Victoria meets with Peel. He tells her that in the matter of the ladies of the court, he only wants three of her staff removed because their husbands were members of the previous government. Peel adds that it has all been arranged. Victoria is shocked and wants to know by whom. Peel tells her that it was all arranged a month ago by Albert. She is still a bit shocked, but obviously pleased, because later she thanks Albert for working out a compromise with Peel. She says: "I should have trusted you."
The family waits for the birth of the new baby. Lord Melbourne comes in. Peel is already there. They say Victoria is suffering a great deal. She has a boy.
Scene IV. Albert Edward.
They have decided on a name for the child. He will be Albert Edward. He will be the Duke of Saxony, but this presents a problem. It gives the German link too much prominence. The Queen will make him Prince of Wales, which will be his most important and first title. Victoria is happy with Albert's decision to stay at Windsor in the country. After all, she says, it is their house.
Albert gets into another dispute with Baroness Lehzen over the opening of a window. He becomes so angry that he leaves. This upsets Victoria and she tells the Baroness: "You shouldn't cross him, Daisy." She adds that she wishes that the two of them could be friends. But the Baroness warns her that her ministers are becoming his servants, not hers.
Albert visits the children in the nursery. He finds it terribly cold and wants the nanny to light a fire. She says that's against her orders. Albert becomes irate and shouts: "You will light the fire at once. I won't have them catching pneumonia." He tells the nanny that he will hold her personally responsible if the children get sick. The nanny obeys his order.
Victoria still writes to Melbourne everyday. Stockmar urges Albert to mold her character in the way it should be.
Edward Albert is christened. Lord Melbourne arrives a little late, but Victoria is very pleased to see him. He apologizes for missing the christening.
Victoria tells Albert that she has a surprise for him. She takes him into her office. Victoria shows him a desk placed right next to hers and tells him: "I thought we could work together." She asks him if he is pleased. They kiss and hug.
Scene V. Working Together.
Stockmar speaks with Melbourne. He tells him frankly that he is still encouraging Victoria to be dependent upon him. He suggests that he break off his correspondence with the Queen. Melbourne is upset, but finally says: "All right. Very well. I take your point."
The nanny says that the girl Vicky is not very well. Albert goes to the nursery to see his daughter. They have been feeding her very little. Albert objects to this and says his daughter is not getting better because she has no strength to fight. Baroness Lehzen says to him: "I will not be told how to run the nursery." And Victoria asks Albert how can he say such a thing to the Baroness. Albert says through her incompetence, the Baroness is killing their child. Victoria demands that Albert apologize to Baroness Lehzen. Albert just simply walks away from the women. Victoria shouts: "Albert! Albert! No one has ever spoken to me this way. . . Who do you think you are? . . . I should never have married you." Albert strikes back at her with the question then why did she marry him. She should have stayed single where she wouldn't be bothered by children and a husband. She should paint a wooden man to be her husband.
Albert sums up by saying: "Do as you please. Let you and her starve the child and if she dies it's on your conscience." He washes his hands of the whole thing. Albert walks over to speak with Baron Stockmar. He tells Albert that he should make peace with Victoria, but Albert says it must be Victoria to make her peace with him. Meanwhile, Victoria speaks with the Baroness, who is surprisingly conciliatory. She says that she has lived with Victoria since she was a child. Now Victoria must forgive her husband. She must do this for the sake of the future. Victoria asks her: "How can you be so forgiving?" The Baroness responds: "Because I know you love him."
Albert says to Stockmar that he will not see Victoria until the Baroness is gone. In fact, he says: "I will not see Victoria again until I'm acknowledged as master in my own house."
Scene VI. An Ordinary Couple.
The Baroness is going home to Germany. She tells Dr. Clark that it would not be fair to stay. Victoria would lose the Prince. She adds: "I would only cause more harm by staying. I pray my leaving will bring them together again."
Albert and Victoria with their aides have taken a sojourn into the Scottish highlands. Victoria says she never knew Scotland was so beautiful. Then she daydreams out loud: "If only we could be an ordinary, simple couple."
Albert goes to the nursery to see the Prince of Wales. Lady Lyttleton is there and he asks her to accept the position of Governess of the Royal Nursery. She is shocked, but accepts.
Prime Minister Palmerston speaks with Victoria and Albert. They are organizing an arts commission to look into the rebuilding of the Parliament. They need a chairman and Palmerston would like it to be His Royal Highness. Victoria is so happy that Palmerston asked to have Albert as the chairman that she asks him to stay to dinner. He declines saying that he has a cabinet meeting. Victoria says: "Then next time I will insist."
Stockmar comes in and says that they need to discuss the education of the Prince of Wales. The two German/Prussian men, Stockmar and Albert, are definitely on the same wave length. They both want very strict discipline. (In fact, they want too much discipline.) Victoria is a little shocked by their agreement on the need to be very tough.
At Christmas, Victoria says she is very happy.
Episode II. An Experiment in Education (1854-1858).
Scene I. The Eldest Son.
Bertie and his younger brother Alfred (nickname Affie) have done some work on the estate and are paid what a working man would get. Their father wants them to know how difficult it is for a working man to earn enough to feed, shelter and clothe his family. But Bertie says that his father didn't succeed. He says: "It's only pocket money for us. We don't have to live on it. " Then the two boys run back to the mansion.
Albert and Victoria speak about the War in the Crimea. Neither of them wanted war with Russia. There's no truth in it, but the English have accused Albert of being pro-Russian. Victoria says it's all Palmerston's fault. If he had not insisted on England supporting the French, it might have been different. And the present Prime Minister (Earl of Aberdeen) is not suitable as leader of the war cabinet.
Victoria and Albert speak of the Crown Prince's education. He is behind his younger brother in performance. Mr. Gibbs is their tutor. Perhaps one problem is that Bertie has not realized that he is the eldest son and, therefore, will be the next King.
Bertie says he wants to join the army, while Alfred wants to join the navy. Mr. Gibbs keeps Albert behind. Alfred says he will wait for him. Gibbs lets Bertie know that he will eventually be the King of England.
The family is ready for supper. They are just waiting for Alfred and Bertie. Alfred comes in without Bertie. Where is Bertie? Bertie is in the kitchen. He refuses to come in. Dad gets mad, so Victoria says she will go talk with Bertie. When she comes into the kitchen, Bertie immediately asks: "Is it true? I'm going to be king?" He says he thought Vicky would be Queen like her mother. He then says he doesn't want to be King. Victoria says it's a matter of one's duty. And because he is going to be king, he must work hard to become educated.
Scene II. Arrangements.
The family is at Osborne. Prime Minister Lord Aberdeen is amazed at the possibility of the marriage of the Princess Royal (Vicky). She is to marry the Prince of Prussia. He says to Victoria and Albert: "Sheís only 14." Lord Aberdeen asks if they are sure heís the right man to marry. Albert says that if Vicky is married to the Crown Prince this will insure German neutrality. He adds that he dreams of all the nations of Europe linked by their family ties. Aberdeen compares it to a family of nations and says: "It is a noble plan, sir."
Victoria says that their armies are still fighting outside Sevastopol. The reports of the hardships among the soldiers has been very upsetting to her. Seeing the wounded returning from Bataclava, she was so moved she could not speak. She then speaks of the wonderful Miss Florence Nightingale.
Lord Aberdeen talks highly of Bertie, much to the surprise of Victoria and Albert. Albert still drones on about the necessity of strict discipline for the young lad. They work the poor young man from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In the classroom the teacher Mr. Gibbs struggles with Bertie and his poor memory. With his ruler, he gives Bertie a rap on his knuckles.
Stockmar comes in with news from London. The Foreign Secretary has resigned. And the Earl of Aberdeen is blamed for the conditions in the camps and hospitals. He has said himself that he is not fit to run the country. And it looks like Palmerston will be the next prime minister. He is old, so he may not accept the post. Victoria does not want Palmerston to head the government. Then Stockmar and Albert once again join forces to emphasize Bertieís need for strict discipline.
In the classroom Bertie has a near breakdown. He starts throwing things all around the classroom in something resembling a tantrum, falls to his knees, leans on a desk, bites his finger and cries.
Mr. Gibbs reports to Albert and Stockmar about what happened. The teacher thinks that Bertie needs the companionship of other boys. But Albert returns to his old song and dance about the need for even more strict discipline. Stockmar piles on by saying not a minute of Bertieís day is to remain unoccupied.
Lord Palmerston comes in at the request of the Queen who asks him to form a new government. Palmerston wants the Crimean War to be brought to a quick close.
Scene III. Other Boys.
Bertie and Alfred are allowed to be together with four other boys their ages for a whole fifteen minutes. But Bertie quickly shows that he does not know how to be a buddy. He tells the other boys that they must call him "sir". Bertie challenges Charles Carrington to a race and Alfred says that Bertie can beat anyone. But since Bertie started running before the challenge was accepted, he is accused of cheating because he didnít tell Charles when they were going to start. This infuriates Bertie and he demands that the charge be taken back. He even pushes Charles backwards. Charles responds in kind, but pushes Bertie so hard that he falls onto the ground. Bertie becomes infuriated and shouts: "Get out! Get out of this park!" All four boys leave.
Lord Palmerston has insisted that Bertie go along with his parents to Paris as part of the British delegation to the French Emperor. (Napolťon III ruled France from December 1852 to September 1870.) This upsets Albert and Victoria and they ask themselves why they have to bring Bertie along with them. The answer from the government is that this is the best way to show high regard for the French Emperor.
Paris. The French Emperor and his wife Eugenia adore Bertie. The Emperor tells his parents that Bertie has "perfect manners". But he also notes that the boy is very shy and should be taken out more.
Bertie goes on a hunt and then on a carriage ride with the French royal couple. He would like to stay longer in France, but Eugenia says that his parents would miss him. Bertie simply says: "Not really." He then adds: "I wish I were your son."
At Balmoral. Alfred comes running up to Mr. Gibbs and Bertie shouting "The warís over! The war is over." Sevastopol has fallen. Gibbs basically says to the boys that they will use the time they have to study botany on a long walk.
Victoria and Albert take Vicky and the Crown Prince of Prussia, along with the rest of the family, on an outing. Albert talks to Victoria about Bertie. His last three years are about to begin and he must be separated from his brothers and sisters. Victoria notes that this will make him very sad and upset because he loves his brother and sisters so. Albert just says that this is the last chance for Bertie to make something of himself.
Scene IV. Disappointment.
Seventeen year old Vicky sings while her father plays the piano. They are having a lot of fun. But Victoria is not at all happy. She tells Vicky not to sing any more songs. She says: "No man knows what we women go through." And, to add to that, Palmerston insists on having a general election. After Vicky leaves, Albert sees that she is upset and asks her whatís the matter. She tells him: "You spend more time with Vicky than you do me."
Albert and Stockmar yell at Bertie. Bertie responds: "I have tried. Iíve worked hard, I promise." Stockmar says that Bertie has a fateful lack of concentration. Later Albert dismisses Bertie saying: "I have no more time for you." Stockmar tells Albert: "The experiment will fail unless he is dealt with ruthlessly now. This system of education was drawn up by some of the great minds of the age and cannot be destroyed by a mere child."
Stockmar sees that Albert is upset and asks him whatís wrong. Albert opens up by saying that Victoria is acting once again like she did in the early years of their marriage. She is filled with suspicion and jealousy even of her own daughter.
Victoria and Albert are again with Vicky. Father and daughter are having fun together and Victoria says that they are excluding her. Then she says something nasty to Vicky. She says that Crown Prince Fritz is only marrying Vicky because she is her daughter. Vicky is shocked and runs out of the room crying. Victoria says to Albert: "I am tired of her always being here." She says that Albert is always working or tried from working. Albert is too dismissive of her concerns and she responds with a good question: "What about my feelings? . . . I am shut out, neglected!" Albert nastily says to her: "You canít wait to drive Victoria away from us. You think of no one but yourself."
The argument is stopped by the entrance of Stockmar. He has news. Palmerston has been reelected with an increased majority. Victoria says: "Thank God!" This remark shocks Stockmar who thought Victoria did not like Palmerston. Victoria is too busy and too upset to be messing with another new government.
Stockmar tells the couple that he wants to retire. He says it is time for him to go. He wants to go to Coburg and will work with Fritz and Vicky. He tells Victoria and Albert that they must pay attention to the old saying: "No one is indispensable." He leaves the room. Victoria turns to Albert and wonders if they can stop Stockmar. She says: :"How can we do without him? . . . We shall need each other more than ever." The two people grab each otherís hands.
Scene V. Vicky and Fritz.
Palmerston speaks with Victoria. She recently gave birth. She says that she needs someone beside her to ease the burden and she suggests her own husband. She is shocked a bit when Palmerston is greatly pleased by the idea. And even better, he suggests that Albert be made Prince Consort.
Fritz, Vicky and Bertie speak together. Victoria comes in and is shocked that the soon to be married couple are together without a chaperon. She says this behavior is very indiscreet. Bertie chimes in with an offer to play chaperon for them. The Queen is doubtful at first, but then agrees to let Bertie being chaperon. She gave in when Fritz argued that they have been so busy with official duties that they havenít even had a chance to learn about the other. Victoria leaves.
Bertie tells the couple that he is going to slip out of the room for the coupleís benefit and he will "accidentally" close the door so they can speak in privacy. Fritz tells Vicky that he loves her more dearly than life itself. But now he wants to know if she can really come to love him for himself. Vicky says oh, yes. Since Victoria told them that they cannot hold hands, they just lean in toward each other and kiss.
Fritz and Vicky marry.
Vicky cries while saying goodbye to her siblings. She rides in a carriage with her dad to the next transportation link. Albert tells her how much he loves her and that he wants to know if she is really happy: "Do you really love Fritz?" Vicky answers: "I think I love him." Dad then tells her not to forget them. He adds: "How dear you have been to me." She is the closest thing to a true companion he has ever had. Vicky cries and gives her father a vigorous hug.
Scene VI. A New Course.
Victoria and Bertie are alone together. She tells Bertie: "I donít think Iíve ever felt so alone." Bertie tells her that he will do everything he can to make her and father proud of him. Albert arrives back home. Victoria asks him about Vicky. He says: "She was sad to go." (Bertie leaves quietly, which surprises Victoria.) Albert says that now Bertie is their eldest child and in spite of his failings he should be treated as such. He should be given a certain degree of personal freedom and a share in their work. Jealous of Albertís time, Victoria asks him about Bertie: "He will not be joining us like Vicky did?" Albert says no. He wants to isolate Bertie in Edgemont Park. Gibbs and other men like him will be there and will guide him.
Mr. Gibbs looks up from his reading to see Bertie just lounging in his chair thinking. He asks Bertie: "Arenít you reading?" But he canít get Bertie even to move. The other fellow there also tries to motivate Bertie, but he too is turned down by a "No thank you."
Albert tells Victoria that Mr. Gibbs has resigned. Victoria says that Bertie disliked Mr. Gibbs so much. She adds that it is all her fault, because Bertie has all her worst qualities. She then says: "All our hopes and Stockmarís. We canít all have been wrong." Albert says that they have three years before Bertie comes of age and they will use every minute to make sure Bertie is ready.
Bertie is so glad to see his brother who is home from the Navy on leave. Bertie makes the sad comment about his parents that: "Often I think they think too little of me to love me." The stern Albert comes in and tells Alfred to leave. He then tells Bertie that he is to return to White Lodge where he will begin a new program of studies. And he mentions that he has appointed one Colonel Bruce of the Grenadier Guards as his governor. Bertie feels that he does not need a "governor".
Back at White Lodge, Bertie lounges in his chair again. Colonel Bruce comes in and tells him to sit up and stop lounging. Bertie gets angry and says that heís going out, but the Colonel stops him. He suggests that Bertie return to his studies. Bertie is dejected and fed up, but obeys and returns to his book.
Episode III. The New World.
Scene I. America.
Bertie is given a tour of Philadelphiaís new model penitentiary. He asks his tour guides if he can see an inmate. They open one of the cells to let Bertie speak with an inmate who at one time was a judge. The man is glad to have the company and willing speaks with the Crown Prince. He tells the Prince: "Why not? After all, Iíll be here for 20 years."
The US army band plays a tune while Bertie plants a tree. US President Buchanan is there at the ceremony. His niece, Miss Lane, is with him. Bertie tells them that he is looking forward to the dance tonight aboard ship.
Bertie has a great time at the ball. The American women all want to dance with him. Bertie sees a pretty young girl and asks if he can pick a partner by himself. But no, there are many influential and powerful women with whom he just has to dance. Bertie takes it well. He tells one of his dance partners that he is staying in a New York City hotel on Fifth Avenue.
Albert reads a letter to Victoria from President Buchanan. He canít believe what he reads. Apparently, Bertieís tour has been a great triumph. He won "all hearts". Victoria is also a bit stunned at the news.
Bertie returns and Victoria greets him exceptionally warmly. She tells him that everyone write very well of him.
Scene II. Taking Sides.
Bertie will be going to Oxford. But Albert wants to make sure he is kept apart from the undergraduates. At Oxford Bertie stops to receive the bows of three undergraduates.
Palmerston speaks with Albert about letting Bertie perform some of his purely ceremonial duties. Albert is not so sure. He says that he will not expose society to his son, at least not yet. Palmerston then mentions that Bertie seems keen on being in the army. And again Albert is not so sure.
Palmerston wants to talk about the situation in Italy. (In 1859 Napoleon III and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia fought against the Austrian Empire in a war that has three names: Second War of Italian Independence, Franco-Austrian War, or Austro-Sardinian War. Most of Lombardy with its capital Milan was eventually transferred to Sardinia.) Albert tells Palmerston that the Queen will not discuss the situation because she has many relatives at the Austrian court. Palmerston says that they must recognize Italy.
Albert looks at Vicky's wedding picture when Victoria comes in. She says that Palmerston approves of Louie Napoleon's sending an army against Austria. She is not happy at all about this. And she is also mad at Vicky because she has not been replying to her many letters to her. Victoria says she only wants to have Vicky help find a suitable match for her sister Alice. Albert responds by saying that Vicky is so busy and she is now a young mother. Victoria becomes infuriated and says: "Oh, yes, protect her!" In the argument she hits below the belt when she says that Albert's remarks show how little he cares for the affairs of England. When she sees that Albert is upset, she apologies quickly. Albert agrees with her that she has been improving. They kiss. Albert then says that it has been his job to save Victoria from her own mistrust and jealousy. Victoria responds: "I'm not jealous and I'll prove it. We'll go to Germany."
Victoria and Albert visit with Vicky and Fritz and their grandson, Wilhelm. One of the subjects they discuss is a suitable husband for Alice. The man they focus on is Prince Louie of Essex, who is not a Prussian. Fritz tells Albert that Willie's left arm was slightly damaged at birth and that's why they keep his arms covered at all times.
Victoria and Albert are back home and they talk with Victoria's mother. Bertie and Alice come in. Louie of Essex is here visiting Alice, but he soon must return. Bertie tells Alice that he doesn't intend to get married until he has begun to live. Bertie talks with his father and he reiterates his interest in the army. His father says no. Bertie will be going to Cambridge for his studies.
Scene III. Out with Friends.
At Cambridge Bertie runs into Charles Carrington (the boy who pushed him down to the ground in the park). Charles shows Bertie his accommodations. Bertie is impressed, but not so much from the accommodations point of view, but from a view of the possible freedom that Charles enjoys. Charles has the place all to himself and can entertain there any time he wants. Seeing Bertie's envy, Charles says: "I thought you had a hard life even then." Charles offers Bertie a cigar and Bertie accepts. Bertie loves cigars, a habit he picked up in Canada.
Victoria, Albert and Palmerston discuss the situation in America. Palmerston talks about oncoming civil war. He adds that the South will not be able to survive without Great Britain. But the key question seems to be are they rebels or a new nation to be recognized by her Majesty.
Charles invites Bertie to a get-together at his place with his friends. Bertie gladly accepts. One of the young men there is Natty Rothschild, of the very wealthy Rothschild family. The guys want to go for a night on the town. More specifically, they want to go to a music hall. Sadly, Bertie has to say: "I've never been anywhere on my own before." And it's not likely that Col. Bruce would permit him to go to a music hall. But then Bertie starts scheming about some way to get around Bruce. We see Bertie get on a train.
The guys are already at the music hall. The singer is Nellie Clifden and she sings about the daring young man on the flying trapeze.
The train pulls into the station. Two men follow Bertie and detain him.
Albert reads the riot act to Bertie. He accuses his son of harboring all kinds of vile intentions. He says that Bertie is guilty of the most flagrant breech of confidence and that he has to apologize to Colonel Bruce. He asks Bertie if his wish is to cause his mother the deepest distress. He adds: "You deliberately set out to destroy the crown's character and reputation." Bertie is upset and says: "All I want is to please you. . . .It's like being in a prison. If only I could do something useful . . ." But Albert is more interested in insulting his son than helping him. He tells Bertie that he is incapable of thinking of anybody but himself. Therefore, he will be sent back to Cambridge under escort. For a second there it seems like Bertie might revolt because he shouts a big "No!" But Albert insists that he will be under escort. To make things worse, Bertie will go nowhere, see no one without Colonel Bruce's permission. He finishes with more harsh words: "Now get out! I can't bear the sight of you."
Scene IV. Advice.
Palmerston comes in to get some advice from Albert about what to do about America. America is now two nations, totally divided. The South has captured Fort Sumter (in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina). A large part of British trade is with the cotton producing states of the South. Albert suggests that they deal with both regions as countries, but they must not give the rebels comfort. He and Victoria both agree on one thing. "Great Britain cannot support a nation whose principal reason for existence is the defense of slavery." Palmerston is very grateful to Albert and says that his government will follow the Prince's advice.
Victoria makes the remark to her mother that "Politics sickens me." She adds that she dreads the thought of Bertie becoming king. Albert comes in. He reports that General Bruce (probably promoted because of his detention of Bertie) says Bertie's suitably chastened. Grandmother suggests that they marry Bertie off as soon as possible. And let Bertie at least train in the army. These suggestions thrill Victoria as she sees a way around Bertie's problems. Albert agrees with Grandmother's ideas also.
Albert speaks with General Bruce. Bruce thinks it's a wonderful idea to have Bertie train in the army. He suggests his own unit, the Grenadiers, because they are the best.
Grandmother dies. Albert tells Victoria that she has been weeping for weeks now. Bertie is here, but Victoria can't bear the thought of seeing him or anyone else except Alice. Albert tells Alice to try to console her mother. He then tells Bertie that mother is too distressed to see anyone. But on the other hand, he is going to Ireland for training with the first battalion of the Grenadier Guard. He will be going as a staff colonel. Bertie does not like going as a colonel. He wants the men to like him and he does not want special attention, especially since he knows virtually nothing about military life. Albert tells him not to worry: "You will be treated like any other junior officer."
Scene V. Training Begins.
Bertie arrives with General Bruce. He meets his new commanding officer, Colonel Percy. The Guard of Honor salutes the Crown Prince. Then Bertie inspects the Guard. Col. Percy show Bertie his new quarters. He has a sitting room and a bedroom. Bertie finds a pipe left behind by the previous resident. He worries about having thrown a superior officer out of his quarters and he asks whose quarters are these. They are Sir George's who is now in the Brigadier hut. Bertie is very upset. He asks why and then asks how can the men accept him now?
Vicky gets a letter from her father. He wants her to go to Balmoral to be with her mother. Fritz asks his wife if Bertie knows yet that he is getting married. No. Fritz laughs at the names of the young women on the list of possible matches for Bertie.
Bertie learns that he will be learning various positions in the army. By doing this he will earn a promotion every fortnight until he achieves the rank of staff colonel. Bertie likes this idea. But now he wants to circulate and meet some of the officers. And who should he run into but Charlie Carrington. Charlie introduces Bertie to two of his fellow officer friends. Bertie starts drilling with the others and the Sgt. Major is on Bertie's back quite a bit.
Scene VI. Thinking Ahead.
Victoria and Albert are out on another outing.
Bertie has to give the marching commands for his unit and he seems a bit uncomfortable performing this duty. The Sgt. Major tells him that his word of command is too indistinct and he doesn't think ahead.
Victoria and Albert, along with Alice, Alfred and another sister, visit Bertie in Ireland. The Queen is very happy with Col. Percy and the job he has done for her son. After all the "adults" leave, Bertie's three siblings rush to him to tell him congratulations. They think he did a good job.
Back home Victoria tells Albert that Vicky writes that all the German princesses are ruled out in the bride selection for Bertie.
Bertie is sad. He tells Charlie and some of the junior officers that his parents are not happy with him. Charlie and the others say they think he has done wonders. "Everyone is amazed," they say. The junior officers have a party at Bertie's quarters. In addition to bringing booze, they also bring three women to the party. The music hall singer Nellie Clifden is one of the women.
At home alone with Victoria, Albert plays chess against himself.
Nellie takes Bertie into his bedroom and closes the door. She kisses him then has him sit on the bed where they kiss some more. Then she has him lay down as they continue kissing. Peaking into the bedroom, Charlie is ecstatic to see that Bertie will lose his virginity. He gives a sign to the other fellows that their plan is proceeding nicely.
Episode IV. Alix.
Scene I. Princess Alexandra.
Princess Alexandra of Denmark rides her horse very hard in an open woods then turns around to return home. She comes into her bedroom that she shares with her younger sister Dagmar, who tells Alix that mother told them to be downstairs in five minutes. Alix wants to know who's coming. The wife of the new British minister is coming. Alix says that they never send anyone important to Denmark.
The girls go downstairs to greet Mrs. Paget (who previously worked for Queen Victoria's daughter Vicky). The Queen introduces her daughters to her. She tells Mrs. Paget that Prince Christian is presently serving with his regiment. Mrs. Paget says she will invite her and the girls to an afternoon party.
Mrs. Paget speaks with Vicky. She describes Alix as being beautiful, graceful and unspoiled. She speaks four languages, but is childlike and unaffected. Vicky says: "She sounds perfect." Vicky then writes a letter to her mother to keep her informed.
Queen Victoria receives the letter from Vicky. She tells Alice to get her father. He is busy working, but Alice tells him that mother told her to tell him it's important. Albert comes but says that he was trying to write letters to both Lincoln and Jefferson. Victoria tells her husband that Vicky has sent them more information about the Danish princess. Albert says no to the idea. There will be trouble between Denmark and Prussia.
Scene II. Choosing a Bride.
Bertie tells General Bruce to apologize to Sir George for not attending the get-together. He says he feels very tired and will probably go to bed early. The General agrees to relay the message. Charlie comes over to Bertie to ask: "Did he believe you?" It seems so. A cab will be waiting for the junior officers one-quarter of a mile from the camp gates. Charlie tells Bertie not to wear his uniform. Bertie tells Charlie that he is to be married. He adds that his parents make a selection and he has the final choice, only the choice is incredibly limited. There are six German princesses, but thee of them are not suitable. That only leaves a choice of three. Charlie laughs at the photos of the available princesses.
Victoria and Albert have a big dinner. Albert talks with Palmerston about foreign affairs and Palmerston refers them to Lord John Russell who has the foreign office. Victoria says if the men are going to talk politics, the ladies are leaving. Later Victoria talks to Mrs. Paget. She wants to know all about Alix. Mrs. Paget says that Alix is the peacemaker of the family. She hands two photos of the princess to Victoria. Albert comes in and looks at the pictures. He says that they must not show these photos to Bertie. Alix looks too pretty. He still hopes that Bertie will choose a German princess.
Bertie and other junior officers are at the music hall.
Palmerston talks with Victoria. The Confederates are pushing ahead on all fronts. The success of the South depends on their getting sufficient supplies to carry on with the civil war. He also says that Lincoln is mad about the number of British ships that make it through the blockade. Victoria says: "It's an unofficial trade. They're privateers." Palmerston asks her: "But what would we do if they attack one of them?"
Victoria turns to other matters with Palmerston. The news about Alix leaked and the Prussians are outraged. They are saying the vilest things about Vicky and Fritz for helping out with the selection of the Danish princess. But Bertie will have none of the other princesses. Alix is the only one left.
Scene III. Chance Meeting.
Albert speaks with Bertie. He asks him what he thinks about Alix? Bertie wonders if Alix really looks as good as she does in the photos. Victoria comes in and also asks Bertie about Alix. He tells her that Alix seems pleasant. Victoria responds: "I had expected some show of interest even from you. She's a pearl." And don't worry about Prussia. They will make it perfectly clear that there is to be no political connection with Denmark.
Bertie says he wants to see the princess before he makes a final decision. Albert says they will arrange a meeting. Bertie will be sent to observe German army maneuvers on the Rhine. This will be his cover to stay with Vicky and Fritz. The parents and Alix will be there at the same time and a meeting will be arranged. And don't worry, Bertie. You will not be committing yourself. By the way, Alix knows nothing, expects nothing.
Albert and Victoria are at Balmoral. Victoria tells Albert that they should have gone with Bertie to the meeting. She also says: "If only I knew what was happening."
The meeting is arranged. Bertie will meet Alix almost by chance, but not really. They will meet in the spire cathedral. The adults act as if it is a chance meeting in the cathedral and then introduce Bertie to Alix. They then leave them alone. Bertie takes her hand to lead her behind the adults.
Victoria says she is very nervous. There is still no news. A letter arrives from Vicky and the royal couple learn that Alix definitely made a good impression on Bertie. Berite said that he had never seen a young lady that pleased him so much. Victoria says: "If only we knew how he felt."
Alix's parents talk to her about meeting the Crown Prince. She says she enjoyed his visit very much. He was very kind and very shy. He has sent her a photo and said that he would like to come to Denmark. The parents then want to know if she thinks the Prince likes her. Alix wonders why her parents want to know: "Why is it so important?" Well, Bertie will be king of the greatest empire the world has ever known. And the woman who marries him will be the Queen of that empire. Alix is surprised: ". . . marries him?" Her parents want to know if she could come to care for the Crown Prince. Alix is still in shock.
Bertie speaks with his parents about Alix. He says he likes her, but she is not as beautiful as he had expected. Moreover, he says: "Marry in haste; repent at leisure." He just has not fully decided on the matter. After Bertie leaves, Victoria asks Albert: "This is all he says?" Albert say he has noticed that he's more grown up now. Victoria says Bertie is incapable of any true feelings.
Alix has to move to her own room now. Dagmar is upset and says: " . . . all because of this stupid Prince of Wales." She wants to know if Alix loves him. Alix doesn't know. In fact, she even wonders what it would be like "to be in love, really in love".
Scene IV. Control.
Bertie and Charlie talk after dinner at General Bruce's place. Charlie says that Nellie wants to be remembered to Bertie. And Nellie wonders if another meeting might be arranged. Bertie says it's a definite possibility.
Bertie is at home with the three other eldest siblings. They congratulate him on his 20th birthday. Alfred tells Bertie if he doesn't want to marry Alix, he is very willing to marry her. Everyone laughs. Their mother comes into the room. She tells Alix that their cousin Ferdinand died yesterday of typhoid. Victoria then dismisses the other siblings to talk alone with Bertie. She tells him to be careful of what he says to his father. He is a bit on edge. She wishes him many happy returns and leaves. Albert comes in. He tells Bertie that both of Alix's parents are in favor of the marriage. But Bertie does not feel ready to marry. In fact, he looks very pained by the idea.
Palmerston visits with Victoria and Albert. He says that the Southern states sent two envoys on a British ship to Britain to plead their cause. A Union ship stopped the ship at gunpoint and the envoys were taken off. Albert gets Palmerston to promise not to do anything rash, but rather wait for a reply from Washington. Palmerston leaves. Albert says Lincoln is a wise man who will not risk a military confrontation with the British navy. He tells Victoria that he will handle the matter. Victoria is very worried about him and tells him: "Oh, no! You look so tired." She will do it. But Albert reiterates that they are a team and he will do it. Victoria objects that he is always working, always tired. Now they never go to bed at the same time. She leaves.
Albert seems upset and tired and starts to leave the room. Just then a letter arrives from Baron Stockmar. Albert is upset at what he reads.
Scene V. Bertie's Affair.
Albert visits with Victoria. He tells her that Baron Stockmar reports that Bertie is having an affair with an actress and music hall dancer. Everyone is laughing about it. The woman was smuggled into Bertie's quarters in camp by some of his friends.
General Bruce speaks with Bertie and asks him: "Is this true/" Yes. "Behind my back?" Yes. The General says that his father will come there on Monday. He then leaves.
Albert walks with Bertie in the rain. Under cover Bertie tells his father about having sex with Nellie. Dad doesn't want the details. Albert then asks General Bruce: "Please make no attempt to find them" (that is, the junior officers that helped Bertie). General Bruce leaves. Albert then tells his son that he knows that perhaps in the past he had given Bertie reason to resent him, even though he didn't mean to. (That last part being a bit of an exaggeration!) He says he did it because he loves Bertie. But he forgot perhaps, he says, that Bertie also needed affection. He ends with: "We must try to be close in the future. The past is past." He then gets Bertie to promise never to see Nellie again.
Back home Albert tells Victoria that Bertie is genuinely sorry for what he did, but Victoria says: "I will never forgive him!" Albert turns kind for once and says: "But you must. . . . We can't allow everything we have achieved to be destroyed by one mistake of our son's." Albert then coughs a few times. Victoria tells him he looks exhausted. Albert says that they walked too far, that they had taken the wrong road. He then tells Victoria that he must see Palmerston about the crisis with America. Victoria is very worried about Albert's health.
Albert meets with Palmerston and Lord John Russell. Palmerston says that Washington has refused to apologize and their attitude is aggressive and unfriendly. And worse, General Scott has arrived in Paris to ask the French to join the United States in war with Great Britain. In return, France will get Quebec back. Albert is very worried by the ramping up of tensions. He tells the government representatives that their worded response to Washington is far too strong. The Americans would take it as a direct challenge. And what would they get. Just a pointless war. Albert says he will work on the written reply to Washington; one that Lincoln can reasonably accept.
Scene VI. Fever.
Albert works on a redraft of the response. He finishes it and tells an aide to take it to Palmerston and tell the man to wait for a reply from Washington. Victoria comes in. Albert tells her that he feels so cold. Yes, he works too hard, but it had to be done. "We couldn't send an ultimatum." Victoria just agrees with everything her husband says.
Drs. Clark and Jenner come in to examine Albert. Alice takes Victoria out of the room. Alice tells her mother she will write Bertie. But Victoria says no. She blames Bertie for Albert's illness and adds: "I don't want him here."
The doctors confer. Dr. Jenner says that Albert has more than a cold. It's fever. Dr. Clark begs Dr. Jenner to say nothing of the fever, because Albert has a morbid fear of fever. If he knows, he will give up and die. Dr. Jenner nods in agreement, but when he sees Victoria he says that her husband has a "little" fever. Dr. Clark jumps into saying that the fever will not develop.
Alice writes Vicky while watching over her father in bed. Albert tells her to write Vicky that he is dying: "I'm the only one who seems to know it."
Palmerston speaks with Victoria. He says war has been averted with Washington. He then starts to ask her about various knighthoods. Victoria stops him short saying that she cannot discuss such things when her husband is so ill. The fever has developed, contradicting what the doctors told her. Palmerston says that she should send for Dr. Watson; he's the best. Victoria worries that the doctors will think she doesn't trust them.
Dr. Watson arrives to check on Albert. Albert has typhoid fever.
Bertie tells General Bruce that Alice has written him saying that he should come home. The matter does not seem urgent, so they will catch a train by early next morning.
Bertie comes in to deserted rooms. He pushes on until he reaches the outer room to Albert's bedroom. There are many men gathered in the room. Bertie goes into his father's bedroom where the older children, Victoria, the doctors and a priest watch over Albert who appears very weak. He kneels by his father's bedside and kisses his right hand. Albert speaks with Victoria for a moment in German. Then he dies. Victoria screams loudly. She then wails: "Oh, my dear darling." She sobs laying her head on the bed. Alice is at the other side of the bed.
Episode V. A Hundred Thousand Welcomes.
Scene I. Mourning.
Victoria, Alice and another sister pay their respects at the tomb of Albert.
Vicky cries and Fritz tries to comfort her. She says she can understand why mamma cannot stand the sight of Bertie. Fritz says that Victoria has accepted that her husband died of typhoid. Vicky says that Bertie was send to Egypt, not on a "good will trip" as said, but just to get him away from mamma. Fritz says that Bertie realizes that, adding that she must be gentle with Bertie. "He's suffered enough." Vicky says that Bertie has no desire to marry. It's sister Alice's time to marry, next month in fact.
Alix, Dagmar and Mrs. Paget talk together. The news of the day is that the Tsar of Russia wants Dagmar to marry his oldest son. But what about marrying Bertie? Alix says: "I could not marry a man I did not love."
The government ministers meet together. Palmerston is there along with Gladstone. They say that Victoria once again failed to attend another privy council. They talk about how Albert was the king virtually and now Victoria will have to learn about government all over again. Palmerston says that she is so consumed by grief that she is convinced she will die within the year. Maybe she will abdicate in favor of her son. Palmerston says he will talk to Victoria.
Palmerston speaks with Victoria. She says she knows that Bertie was well received in Egypt and Turkey. Palmerston says he wants Bertie to take on a share of the royal duties. Victoria responds: "We do not believe that our son is yet capable of taking part in government." She will carry out all the duties herself. And Bertie will marry Alix.
Scene II. Bertie's Return.
Bertie comes in and greets his two elder sisters. He learns that Alice is not very happy about her marriage because it was arranged by father. And he learns that often mother will see nobody but Alice. Bertie asks if she talks about him? No. He starts to go see his mother, but Alice stops him. Mother is going to Coburg to see the places that father knew as a boy. She will stay with Uncle Leopold at Laken. The Prince and Princess of Denmark and Alix will also be there. Later Bertie is to come and propose if mother approves of Alix. If he doesn't obey, mother says she will never see Bertie again.
Bertie comes into Victoria's room. She sits silently saying nothing, but does present her cheek so that Bertie can kiss her. She breaks down and cries on his chest.
Uncle Leopold and Queen Victoria await the introductions of the Prince and Princess of Denmark and their daughters. Victoria tells Leopold that Albert did not approve of the Danish family. But, she must see them. When Alix comes to be introduced to the Queen, she curtsies before her. Victoria seems to like her. She gives her some flowers picked from Balmoral.
Outside Bertie speaks with Alix and Dagmar. Leopold comes up to take Dagmar away. Bertie asks Alix if she would like to visit England. If she comes he wants her to stay forever. He adds that he feels that he may be unworthy of her. Alix says she feels the same way about him.
Palmerston asks the Queen if she has set a date for the wedding? March. Alix will be coming to Osborn next month. She must learns what is expected of her before marriage. And she must get to know her new family.
Scene III. New Family.
Alix visits with Bertie's siblings. They ask her to do a somersault and she does one, but nearly bumps into the Queen coming into the room. Everyone curtsies or bows. Victoria sends her children away in order to speak to Alix alone. She tells Alix that she does not want her to have a lady in waiting who is Danish. They might talk Danish with each other to the exclusion of Bertie. Then she questions her about her Danish books. She is satisfied when Alix says that are religious books, the only type that she reads. Victoria definitely likes that fact that Alix makes her own skirts to save money.
Vicky, Fritz and Bertie are together. Vicky receives a letter from mamma. She reports that mamma is so pleased with Alix. But she still won't come out of mourning. Bertie says that she will spoil everything. Vicky defends their mother and mentions that she is only 43 years of age and may be a bit jealous of him and Alix starting marriage fresh.
Dagmar and Alix speak with each other. Dagmar will be marrying the Tsar of Russia's oldest son. She asks Alix if she loves Bertie. Alix says: "Very much." If only she knew his family would love her too.
The government ministers say that the Queen changed her mind once again. Now the wedding is to be in the too small St. George's chapel in Windsor. Palmerston says she underestimates the popularity of Bertie. There is a photo of Alix in every shop window in London. And the people are upset with the Queen because they never see her anymore. Palmerston adds that the people of Britain may surprise her and demand to see more of Bertie and Alix.
Alix and her family arrive to a large crowd of well wishers. His Lordship the Mayor of London comes to give her a royal address of welcome. He is so nervous that after the British leave, the Danish family all laugh. When Alix steps out in front of the crowd there is great excitement She asks: "Is this all for me?" Bertie runs to welcome her. He gives her a kiss much to the happiness of the crowd.
Victoria, Bertie and Alix go to see Albert's tomb. Victoria tells them: "He gives you his blessing." It seems a bit strange to both Bertie and Alix.
Bertie marries Alix. Victoria watches from the gallery. The couple look up at her. She has her handkerchief in her hand.
Scene IV. A Night Out.
Alix plays the piano for Vicky, Fritz and Bertie. Bertie and Alix are on their honeymoon. Vicky speaks of Bismarck rattling his war saber and that Fritz has no say anymore with his father. It's all Bismarck. Vicky is shocked when she sees Bertie light up a cigar.
Bertie and Alix see their new house, Marlboro House, together. Alix loves it. She is bowled over at the fact that she has 85 servants. She says she would like to spend her evenings quietly with her husband at home. But Bertie says no. There are far too many people who want to meet her. They kiss.
Alix meets Lord Russell and Lord Palmerston. Bertie speaks with Palmerston about his wanting to do something useful. Palmerston tells him that he will speak to the Queen.
Palmerston does speak to the Queen about Bertie. And her answer is a too sharp: "No, no, Prime Minister. It is far too early." To stop Palmerston's protests she tells him: "I shall think of something for him, but not now." Palmerston brings up a matter about Prince Alfred. Victoria says she agrees with him. Alix is too taken with Alexandra and she wants him sent to sea as soon as possible. No, that's not what Palmerston wanted to talk about. He says the Greeks want to elect a king and Prince Alfred is their first choice. Again Victoria is opposed to a son of hers doing something. She says that Albert wanted him to succeed his Uncle Ernest as the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Palmerston counters with the possibility that Duke Ernest himself may accept the Greek kingship if Alfred refuses and he can keep Coburg with Alfred as regent. Victoria shouts: "Never!" "You must find someone else. We do not see Affie as a king and will not accept Ernest."
Scene V. Public Opinion.
At a fancy ball, Alix asks who will dance with her. Affie says he will. They dance. Palmerston tells Bertie that the Queen says "not yet", but he will keep Bertie informed of what's going on and will gradually apply pressure on his mother to change her mind about his doing something useful.
Bertie tells Palmerston that people adore Alix. Palmerston says that the people feel cheated by the Queen's self-imposed seclusion. Given that, says Palmerston, Bertie and Alix could liven up society by bringing joy and vitality back to public life after these years of mourning. Alix dances with her husband.
Bertie and Alix start going out constantly to visit hospitals, dedicate buildings such as the Royal Dramatic College building, go to the opera and doing many other things. The couple is a big success with the public.
With Bertie Palmerston tries to speak with the Queen about his and Alix's contributions. IBut again the Queen is down right hostile to Bertie's wish for recognition for his work. Palmerston starts listing all the things Bertie and Alix have done as of late. Victoria responds that Bertie did all this for recognition and he plunged headlong into society, which his father always kept at a distance with good reason. She says to Bertie: "You go about begging for admiration with no care for your position." She says she is also very disappointed in Alix. Bertie should be working on denying himself amusements so as to set a good moral example for the country. Bertie starts to argue with his mother but she stops him by shouting: "I will not be contradicted! . . . You may go!"
After Bertie leaves the Queen turns her anger on Palmerston. She accuses him of encouraging Bertie in these activities. Palmerston starts to say given her continued absence from the public ... but the Queen stops him with: "My nerves will not allow me to appear in public." Palmerston says that's why Bertie's and Alix's popularity is of great value. He says that with Bertie, acting as her public representative, . . . but again gets cut off by the angry Queen. She again shouts: "He is not! He does not represent me in public! . . . He will never stand beside me in his father's place." She adds that each day she feels her loss more deeply. She sums it all up for Palmerston by insisting: "You will not let them compete for popularity with me!"
Bertie tells Alix how nasty his mother was toward him. Alix says that she may just be envious of him. Bertie is not reassured. She then adds that who would have thought that her father would become the King of Denmark and Willie (Alix's brother) the King of Greece in just six months. Then she changes the subject. She is pregnant. Bertie is shocked. He tells his wife that he just got used to being a husband.
Scene VI. A Complicated Situation.
Palmerston says to the other government ministers that they have to accept the Queen's seclusion. She refuses to fulfill any of the nation's public functions. And she won't allow the Crown Prince to perform these functions either. He says she has started using the royal "we" speaking for herself and the spirit of the deceased Albert. And when she uses the royal we in reference to a subject, her opinion cannot be changed. Gladstone says that Disraeli will use this against them. But someone notes that Disraeli already has an issue, Denmark. Germany wants to use its strengthened army against the Danish provinces of Schleswig and Holstein. Palmerston says he's not all that concerned. After all, it's a complicated situation.
Alix argues with Fritz over the question of Schleswig and Holstein. Things start to take on a nasty tone. Queen Victoria comes in and says: "How good it is to see you all gathered." But very soon afterwards the fighting starts again. Alix, being Danish, is very outspoken and Vicky, now German, talks back to her. Alix asks how can she remain quiet when her country is endangered. This really makes the Queen angry. She tells her that "Your country is now England!" She says Alix will have to learn to accept certain situations. The Queen then scolds Vicky. She reminds her that she is here solely as "our" daughter. She then forbids any further mention of the matter. The Queen goes on to scold everyone in the room. Here they are fighting only two years after the death of their father for whom they all have gathered to honor. She then singles out Bertie. The Queen tells Bertie to remember that Alix is with child and must not agitate herself.
Alix gets sick and has to return home, while Bertie plays field hockey. Lady Mac tells one of the servants to call a doctor and get word to the prince. She then tells Alix that her time has come. The baby will be born two months too soon. Bertie races home. Arriving home he blames himself for his wife's situation. After all, they did warn him she wasn't strong. He then learns that the Prussian army is marching into Denmark. Bertie just says: "I didn't realize how much she meant to me. I don't care about anything as long as she's all right." He hears the cry of a baby. It's a boy! Bertie thanks the doctor and Lady Mac. He tells Alix: "Oh, my darling, thank goodness you're safe." Alix says: "A blessing. Our son."
Episode VI. The Invisible Queen.
Scene I. Husband.
Alix is not well enough to travel. Bertie comes in to her room. Lady Mac and Sir William Knollys are there already. Lady Mac tells Bertie that Dr. Gull has forbidden her to leave her bed. Alix wants to be alone with Bertie, so the other two leave the room. Alix wants to talk about Bertie's sister Helena's hideous marriage coming up. She is set to marry the so-called Prince of Schleswig-Holstein. Alix says that her father has lost half of his country and now Helena will marry the Prince. She urges Bertie to talk to his mother. Alix also says that Helena told her that she did not love the Prince, who is old enough to be her father. Bertie says he will go to Windsor and do what he can.
Bertie speaks with Helena at Windsor. He says he will speak to their mother about the marriage, but Helena says: "Please, no!" Brown, the Scottish aide to the Queen, comes in. After he leaves, Bertie says: "I don't like the man." Helen says that mother feels safe with him, probably because papa trusted him. Then she says that they must not let mother find them alone together.
The Queen comes in as Helena leaves. Now she is very pleasant to Bertie. Bertie wants to know about the upcoming marriage, but this only makes the Queen angry. Bertie says he doesn't understand the reasons for the marriage. And Alix is naturally upset. Victoria growls: "We all disapprove of Prussia." The Schleswig and Holstein matter and Prussia's war with Austria are terrible things. But Bertie should remember that Vicky and Fritz are Prussian. And Alice is on the Austrian side.
The subject turns to Bertie being able to do something useful. Victoria says that Mr. Disraeli agrees with her. "You can only be fully trusted when you learn to be discreet." She says that Bertie and Alix are always searching for mindless amusement. Bertie rightfully says: "I've got nothing else to do!" Mother says that with two boys, both born before their time, Bertie should make sure this upcoming baby is born on time.
Scene II. Illness.
Bertie is with Sir William Knollys and Dr. Gaul. Dr. Gaul has been looking after Alix for four hours. The doctor tells Bertie that Alix has taken a turn for the worse. She has rheumatic fever. And the new baby will be premature. Bertie goes in to see Alix. She tells him that she can bear the pain when he (Bertie) is with her. She asks where was he? At dinner with Affie.
Queen Victoria really likes Mr. Disraeli, who is a great talker and a total flatterer. Disraeli tells her that Prime Minister Lord Derby sends his congratulations on her new grandchild. (Alix has had a baby girl.) Victoria says that she blames Bertie's self-indulgent way of life for Alix's weak health.
Lord Derby and Disraeli talk about the French having abandoned their empire in Mexico. The Prime Minister wants Disraeli to talk to the Queen about showing herself more in public. Disraeli says that will be a very difficult task because she is so set against it. And she is set against Bertie. The Prime Minister says that Alix is the royal family's best asset. Disraeli suggests that they make Bertie the new governor-general of the Dominion of Canada.
Queen Victoria is delighted to see Disraeli: "You always bring me such good news, Mr. Disraeli." They talk about France and Mexico. The Queen says: "Poor old cousin Maximilian." He should never have gotten mixed up with Louie Napoleon. (Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was executed by the Mexicans after they overthrew his government.) Then Disraeli tries to broach the issue of her "retirement" from public life. But before he really gets going, the Queen abruptly stops him with a very loud growl: "No!" She will prevent Bertie from representing her at the great military review at Alderschott (?). Disraeli goes to work with his silver tongue, flatters her greatly and gets her to agree to go to the review herself instead of Bertie.
Disrael speaks to Bertie. Bertie notes that his mother has declared full court mourning for Maximilian and canceled the military review. Disraeli gives Bertie some advice. He tells Bertie that he must be more tactful with his mother: don't appear to be in competition with the Queen for popularity with the people; gain her confidence; and, above all, start by healing the breach in the family over the question of Prussian-Danish-Austrian politics. Disraeli reminds Bertie that "Prussia is far too powerful to be offended unnecessarily."
Scene III. Germany.
Having tea, Bertie, Alix, Charlie Carrington and Sir William talk together. Bertie says he and Alix will only pay an informal visit to Vicky and Fritz. Sister Alice arrives. Bertie is not happy to see his sister yet, because of the fear of a political argument developing.
Bertie and Charlie talk alone. Bertie says that Alice's husband actually fought against Denmark. And Alix's sister is the wife of Czarevitch Alexander (Sasha). Bertie says about Sasha: "I used to think the Russians were all devilishly clever before I met him." Bertie says there will be trouble. Minnie (Dagmar) and Sasha come into the room. Alix has still not arrived. Bertie says that since she got her walking sticks (i.e., walking canes) she is slower than ever. Alix enters and the two sisters warmly greet each other. Bertie asks Sasha about his visit to the King of Prussia, but Sasha has to tell him that they didn't visit him because Alix wrote Minnie not to. Bertie is shocked and does not approve. Minne invites her sister to visit her in Russia and Alix wants to go.
Almost all the principal adult family members, except for the Queen herself, are gathered together. Alix's brother Willie (now the King of Greece) invites Alix to come to Greece. The matter of the King of Prussia is discussed. Sir William Knollys tells Bertie that the King of Prussia wrote to see Alix, but she refused his offer of a visit. Bertie says that she must see the King of Prussia if he has asked for a meeting. Alix virtually shouts: "No! Never." She leaves the table, but Bertie asks her: "Alix, please, for my sake." Minnie butts in with: "Why are you crawling to the Prussians?" Bertie gets angry and says: "It is your duty to put your personal feelings behind you. It is time you all realized who I am and what I am. . . . You, madam, will behave as my wife. You shall receive the King of Prussia." A crest-fallen Alix leaves the room. Bertie tells Knollys to send a telegram to the King of Prussia asking him to breakfast tomorrow morning.
Alix looks pale as she waits for the King of Prussia. The King arrives with Bertie behind him. Alix curtsies to him and he tells her how lovely she is. Then he greets Alice. Things go well and Bertie quietly thanks his wife for her cooperation. He adds: "The Queen will be very pleased."
Scene IV. Grandchildren.
At the table with her family Victoria tells Bertie and Alix how pleased she is with both of them. For the past two years they have behaved in an exemplary fashion. She also says that she was pleased by his reception in Ireland, especially at this time of such unrest.
Bertie's little boy George misbehaves, chomming at the table and refusing to stop when asked. Queen Victoria sternly tells the boy that he's been acting like a dog and dogs always get send under the table. So George has to go under the table. Bertie and Alix suggest that this is a little too stern and they get in an argument with the Queen about discipline. Suddenly George crawls on all fours out from beneath the table. He has removed his shirt and shoes. George says that he is just acting like a dog like his grandmother told him. Then he says: "Woof-woof." The Queen is shocked by this behavior. Helena and Alix grab the children and rush them out of the room. The Queen looks at Bertie and slowly asks: "Woof-woof?" Both Bertie and his mother break out in loud laughter. She says that such incidents are very precious and that's why she always wants grandchildren around her.
Brown comes in to announce that Prime Minister Gladstone is here. The Queen says: "Oh, that dreadful man." She says he speaks to her like he were addressing a public meeting and she only understands half of what he says. Alone with the Queen, Gladstone tells her that "The conditions of the people of Ireland is a standing reproach to Great Britain." The Queen, however, is none too pleased with the Irish. They were rude to Affie on his visit there when he was only there to present a check for charity. Gladstone brings up the "retirement" issue but soon drops due to the terrible look on The Queen's face.
Gladstone speaks with Bertie and Alix. He tells them that he finds it almost impossible to speak with the Queen. "I feel she resents me. . . . If she continues to insist on fighting the government, the monarchy itself is in danger." Gladstone then asks Bertie to speak to his mother. Bertie tells the Prime Minister that he has no political influence with the Queen.
Scene V. Accusations.
Charlie Carrington comes to speak with Bertie about a very serious matter. He asks if he remembers the Mordaunts. Yes, Harriet just had a baby. Well, says Charlie, her husband is going to divorce her. Apparently, the child was born blind, and in the shock, Harriet thought it was a punishment from God and confessed to her husband that she had committed adultery with three different men. Bertie is concerned. He says that it will mean social ruin for the accused. Who were they? he asks. Charlies says: "Lord Coles, Freddy Johnson and you, sir."
Bertie is with his mother. She glares at him. He explains to her that he hasn't been called as a co-respondent, but only as a witness. The Queen, however, is extremely angry. She grits her teeth and says: "Do you know what this means?" Does he know how bad it will be? Well, Bertie says, he wrote Harriet some letters. The Queen says: "Oh, boy, Bertie!" She approaches him but this time only says: "Of course you are innocent. You have no need to tell me." But know this. "People delight in believing the worst of us."
Bertie speaks to Alix about the finished case. He was completely exonerated. Lady Mordaunt was declared insane. Bertie thinks he's in the clear, but Alix tells him that she is taking the older children and returning to Denmark. She only agrees to go to the opera with him so people will think that things are all right between them. At the opera the attendees applaud, but when that dies down some boos are heard.
Gladstone is in a conference with other Liberal politicians and says that the Prussian victory over France (in the Franco-Prussian War) and the fall of the French monarchy as a consequence has led to the rise of Republicanism. There have been riots and demonstrations. Yet the Queen will not alter her attitude toward the public. Gladstone says the trouble is that the Queen is invisible and the prince of Wales isn't respected.
Bertie, Alix, Alice and Gladstone talk together. Louie Napoleon has gone into exile. Wilhelm of Prussia is calling himself Emperor of United Germany (the Kaiser, says Alix sarcastically). At home there are violent protests about the Queen's invisibility. Some members of Parliament have even called for the Queen to be deposed.
Alix notices that Bertie doesn't look well. He tells his wife that he is all right, especially since she has come home. The Queen herself asked her daughter-in-law to return. Alix agrees with Alice that it was far too dangerous for the grandchildren to stay in Denmark. Bertie starts physically shaking. Alice and Alix lead him to bed.
Scene VI. Typhoid.
Bertie tells Dr. Gull that he can't stay in bed. The doctor replies: "I won't answer for the consequences if you don't sir!" Dr. Gull then tells Alix and Alice that the fever will develop very soon. Poor Alix hasn't slept in four days. And Queen Victoria is not well enough to be told of her son's illness. Later Brown and the Queen enter. She wants to know where is Bertie. She finds him in a state of delirium. She comments: "Oh, boy. Just like his father." This makes Alix cry and she leaves the room. The Queen takes the attitude that the illness is a matter of fate. They must accept it. The doctor tells her that the end in near. The family goes into the bedroom to be at Bertie's side. Later the doctor checks Bertie again and this times says" "Crisis is passing. I believe he'll recover." Alix cries.
Gladstone speaks to Alix and a recovered Bertie. He says that the people wept in the streets for him. Moreover, the reaction of the public has destroyed Republicanism as a significant factor in radical politics. Public opinion has changed. Gladstone now hopes he can get Bertie the post of Viceroy of Ireland. He adds that Bertie will undoubtedly be welcomed in Ireland.
The royal family attends an official service of thanks giving at St. Paul's Cathedral for Bertie's recovery.
At a meeting with Sir William, Bertie and Alix, Gladstone sadly tells Bertie that the Queen utterly rejects the Irish plan and any other plan he might present to her concerning Bertie. He adds: "Of course, I will press the matter again", but Bertie just shakes his head no and leaves the room. He takes a walk around the estate and is joined by his two small sons.
Episode VII. The Dearest Prince.
Scene I. Nothing to Do.
Bertie says: "I'm bored!" He says he likes Mr. Disraeli, but he complains that all that studying he had to do for some 20 years has led to nothing. He exclaims: "If she (the Queen) doesn't change her mind and give me something to do, I'll go stark, staring mad." Bertie is holding a big ball. Dagmar and Sasha are there. Bertie flirts with Lady Edith Aylesford, who is very pretty. Alix sits while the others dance. She is accompanied by Oliver Montagu who often escorts her to affairs in the absence of Bertie. The two brothers, Lord Randolph Churchill and Lord Blandford, talk with each other and Lord Randolph assures his brother that there is nothing inappropriate going on between Alix and Montagu.
Mr. Disraeli is congratulated on his splendid majority. He is now the Prime Minister. The men talk about the ball being in honor of the Russians. There was a row over prince Alfred's fiancťe. The Russians wanted the Grand Duchess of Magi to be given precedence over the Princess of Wales. Queen Victoria put a stop to that, but the Czar was offended. So this is the Prince of Wale's way of healing the breech. Bertie comes in and the men kid him about the recent visit of the Shah of Iran. The Prince complains about the Shah, but, nevertheless, says he enjoyed himself. After Bertie leaves, Disraeli says that he will see what he can do for Bertie. Alix dances with Bertie. Lord Blandford dances with Lady Aylesford.
Scene II. A Place for Bertie.
Disraeli speaks with the Queen. He recently visited the home of Bertie at Sandringham. Czarevitch Alexander and Minnie are still visiting there. Victoria asks Disraeli to sit down and he does so. She says that she has read the proposed legislations and likes the social reform contained in the Artisan Dwelling Act. She speaks of ". . . those dreadful slums." Disraeli changes the subject by saying that he is impressed at the way Bertie handled the Russian couple and suggests that Bertie be given something to do. The Queen has mellowed a bit because this time she says: "I shall think about it. . . . I make no promises, mind!"
At Sandringham Alix and Bertie are together with Minnie and Sasha along with both couples' children. Alix says to her sister that Bertie is very envious of Sasha. After all, Sasha has some real power in the government, while the Queen prevents Bertie from having anything to do. She is worried for her husband because he gets so angry inside.
Bertie speaks with Disraeli. He says he is already 34 years of age. Disraeli asks him if he has anything in mind in the way of work. Bertie says "no".
Bertie and his buddies talk about their social club at Marlboro House. They say that they need to keep the membership down because everyone wants to join the Marlboro. Alix and Oliver come in after having seen an exhibit of Indian ivory workmanship. Alix says she really wants to go to India. Bertie tells her that he will be busy tonight. Alix excuses herself.
Bertie doesn't really have anything to do. He is at the music hall again. He speaks together with Lord Joe Aylesford. On another night Lord Aylesford is the victim of a hazing ritual. He is blindfolded and has to crawl on all fours while being smacked on the behind and elsewhere with a rolled up newspaper. Alix tells him that he was a good sport.
Bertie visits Disraeli. He tells him: "I think I found something." It's an official visit to India.
Scene III. An Unfair World.
Bertie speaks with the Queen. He says he wants to get away from his old style of life. This pleases the Queen. He tells her of his plans and says that Disraeli and his cabinet approve of the idea. Then he really piles on the flattery by saying of his father: "I'm trying to be worthy of him." Queen Victoria is pleased with the remark and consents.
Disraeli speaks with his cabinet. He is so happy. He tells them: "We have done it!" Disraeli safely assumes that no one has anything against Bertie's visit.
Alix is extremely upset. She marches in to talk with Bertie. She asks him: "Is it true?" Oliver innocently told her about the trip to India. She wants to know why she wasn't told. After all, she has so much to do before they leave. Bertie has to tell her that he is going alone. In fact, no women are going with him and his buddies. Alix is absolutely shocked and tells her husband she does not understand. When Bertie still resists, she gets very angry and says: "I will not be left behind! I shall speak with mama!"
Alix speaks with the Queen. But Victoria is not at all happy with Alix's demand to go with her husband. She tells her that her place is with her children. Alix says: "It is so unfair!" She goes on, until Victoria shouts: "No, Alix that is enough! I cannot consent." Alix leaves when Mr. Disraeli comes in. The Queen is upset over Alix's visit. She says to Disraeli: "I am most displeased!" She says she has just had an unpleasant visit from Alix demanding to go to India. Now she wishes she had never given her consent for the trip at all. And she is very unhappy about the list of the Prince's companions heading to India. They are all members of the "fashionable set" she complains bitterly. She believes they all unsavory individuals.
Bertie says goodbye to Alix. After he leaves, Alix cries on the shoulder of Charlotte Knollys.
Scene IV. India.
In India Bertie enjoys himself drinking and talking to his buddies. Among them are Charlie Beresford and Charlie Carrington. Bertie is upset over the news that British army officers treated some Indians with great disrespect. He complains that the officers treated a "black" man like a brute. Lord Salisbury has assured him that the officers will be replaced.
Alix reads Bertie's most recent letter to her children: three girls and two boys. The children are impressed that their father went on a tiger hunt.
Disraeli talks with Queen Victoria. He tells her that Bertie's visit was "most successful". Like Bertie, the Queen says she is very upset about the report that some British officers treated Indian princes and chiefs very badly. And speaking of India, Disraeli tells her that they have introduced a bill to make her: "Empress of India." She is very pleased.
Lord Aylesford speaks with Bertie. His wife intends to run off with Lord Blandford. He asks Bertie for permission to return to England. Blandford adds that he should never have left his wife in the first place to go to India. Bertie receives a telegram from Blandford's brother: Lord Randolph. He reports that he will try to stop his brother from running away with Lady Aylesford.
Scene V. Misunderstanding.
Alix tells Charlotte that Bertie is now in Cairo. He will be home soon. She says: "I long to see him." And he is bringing lions, tigers and elephants home as gifts for the children. Alix then talks about the Indian visit being a great success. The subject turns to the Aylesford scandal. Alix regrets that now she will not be able to receive the Aylesfords. Speaking of the devil, Lady Aylesford arrives in the company of Lord Randolph and another Lord. Lord Randolph has very unpleasant news for Alix. He says that he has in his possession letters from Bertie to Mrs. Aylesford that if published his royal highness would never sit on the throne. The three visitors all want to keep the letters out of the public eye, but in order for this to be possible, Bertie must get Lord Aylesford to drop his suit for divorce. Alix gets very upset over the blackmail and says: "No. I won't hear anymore. I think you had better go."
Alix visits the Queen. Victoria tells her daughter-in-law that she did right by coming to her. She will speak to Mr. Disraeli about the matter.
Mr. Disraeli is very concerned about the possible impact of the scandal on the Prince of Wales.
Bertie himself is furious with Lord Randolph and tells Beresford to write him and tell him that Bertie challenges him to a duel. Churchill takes the position that he shall neither retract nor withdraw. Mr. Disraeli says that Churchill thinks he has the "crown of England in his pocket." He comments: "Well, we shall see!"
Scene VI. Return.
Angie is on a small steamboat headed to see Bertie. They meet, hug and kiss. Bertie thanks her for coming. Alix worries for him, but he says: "I don't care very much, as long as you believe me." She asks him if it is true that he challenged Lord Randolph to a duel because of her. Bertie says yes. Alix is very pleased.
With the Queen and Disraeli, Alix reports that at the opera, there was a standing ovation for Bertie and her that lasted several minutes. Lord Aylesford decided to drop his suit. And Lord Randolph has written a letter of apology to Bertie. The Queen is very glad the whole thing is over. Victoria then turns to Disraeli and gives him a copy of a book printed in Hindustan of her journal of her life in the Scottish Highlands. Disraeli thanks her and congratulates her on the publication.
The discussion with Disraeli turns to the Balkans. Victoria is very worried about the troubles there and wonders if it will mean war with Russia. And, she asks, why is Mr. Gladstone so agitated?
Alix tells Bertie that she is going to Greece to visit her brother. Bertie objects: "But I've just come back." Alix promises not to stay away for long.
Mr. Disraeli congratulates everyone of his ministers on the recent political accomplishments: the Anglo-Russian deadlock has been resolved; a defensive alliance with Turkey concluded; opposition in Cyprus confirmed; and they have kept the Russians out of the Mediterranean Sea. Disraeli writes a short letter to Bertie rather than sending the dispatches to him as usual. Bertie is not happy about this. It puts him in a bad mood and he decides not to go to the opera. He also decides not to go to the reception in his own honor given by the Arctic explorer Sir Allen Young.
The reception for Bertie takes place. Sir Allen Young talks to Charlie Carrington about the recent scandal. It appears that Lord Randolph is off to America. The man has been disgraced and his name is no longer even mentioned at Marlboro House. Bertie must have changed his mind. He arrives late for the reception. Bertie is introduced to a new person -- the beautiful and young Mrs. Edward Langtry from the island of Jersey off the coast of France. Bertie is very taken by her beauty and he looks back over his shoulder at her.
Episode VIII. The Royal Quadrille.
Scene I. Sense of Direction.
While walking in Denmark, Bertie, Willie and Sasha get lost. They have to ask for directions from a driver of a cart. The man offers them a ride and the lost men get on board. The cart driver asks them their names and is a bit taken-aback by the responses: the Czar of Russia, the Prince of Wales and the King of Greece. So the man asks the three men if they know who he is? No. He's Napoleon Bonaparte, he says. The three royals burst into laughter.
The three royals arrive at their destination. They are still laughing about the farmer's reaction. Minnie is telling her sister that since Sasha's father was assassinated,she feels very frightened all the time. So now she insists on coming to Denmark every summer just to get away. Bertie tells Sasha that he feels that a king should be seen by his people, but Sasha tells him that the situation in England is very different from that of Russia. Bertie realizes this and feels bad about bringing his views up. After Sasha leaves, Bertie apologizes to Minnie. Minnie says that Sasha is also afraid of Germany and Bismarck. Bertie suggests to Alix that they take a trip to Germany to see Vicky and Fritz. Alix refuses because of what Germany did to her family and country.
Scene II. Active Duty.
Despite her objections, Alix is in Germany with Bertie to see Vicky and Fritz. Alice tells her sister-in-law that she and Fritz have little influence. She says it's all Bismarck's doing. The man even tries to turn Willie against her. When all four are together they talk about Queen Victoria. She is very upset about Disraeli's death. Willie enters and greets Bertie and Alix. The son knows something that the others don't. Gladstone is the man of the moment. He has embarked on a holy war in Egypt and has bombarded Alexandria.
Bertie and Alix are with Oliver Mantagu and Gladstone. Gladstone tells Bertie that the nationalist revolt of the Egyptian army was led by one of their colonels and they were proposing to set up a military dictatorship. Therefore, he sent in the British army under Garnet Wolseley to protect British interests in the Suez Canal. Bertie says: "I should like to go, you know." After all, he is a Field Marshall. Gladstone says yes, but what about the Queen? Bertie is not discouraged and takes Gladstone with him to speak to the Queen.
Bertie tells the Queen that he wants to go to Egypt with the household cavalry. Victoria says: "It's quite impossible. . . . I can't allow it." She says that she is an old woman and Bertie might be called upon at any moment.
Scene III. Lillie Langtry.
Lillie Langtry comes in to a restaurant and everyone looks at her. His Royal Highness is expecting her, she says. She is taken into a separate room where Bertie and Lord Carrington await her. Bertie tells her that her play is a great success. Bancroft took her on as an actress, but Bertie was the one who sweetened the deal. Mrs. Crawford and Sir Charles Dilke arrive. They all have dinner together.
Alix gets a letter from Oliver Montagu. The man writes about a great victory at Tel al-Kabir (1882) where they annihilated the Egyptian army. Lillie is going home and Bertie takes her in his carriage.
Lillie sits with Alix and Mr. Gladstone. She reads out loud a bad review of her in Punch. Alix says that she and Bertie saw her performance and think she was excellent. Alix says that she and Lillie want to know from Gladstone about his work among fallen women. Gladstone says that he tries to rescue them from prostitution. He takes them home where he and his wife provide food and shelter. Is he usually successful in reforming the prostitutes? Not as often as he might wish, says Gladstone. Lillie warns him that this might be misunderstood and harm his reputation. That doesn't discourage Gladstone, a perhaps too religious man. Bertie arrives with Sir Charles Dilke and Charlie Carrington. He happily announces that he has taken a position as a member of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes. Sir Charles will be the chair and Charles Carrington will also be on the commission.
John Brown brings the Queen into the room with Alix. The Queen fell down the stairs. And, she says, John Brown is not well at all. He chased some hooligans all night and got a chill. Victoria then takes a look at Alix's two grown up boys. She says they look very handsome.
Scene IV. The Worst Areas.
Charles Carrington and Bertie speak together. Charles is now a member of Parliament. He tells Bertie that Bertie has a chance to see poverty for himself up close. He can take Bertie to the worst areas of the city. Bertie is terribly excited. He says Charles is a genius.
Bertie visits the worst areas along with Charles and two locals. He is amazed at the poverty he sees. After his visit is finished, he tells Charles: "I had no idea --no idea."
Bertie reads a speech on the poor dwelling conditions of the poor and working classes to the House of Lords. In conclusion he says he hopes the Commission will recommend measures of a drastic and thorough character to improve the dwellings and the general conditions of the poor and working classes.
Queen Victoria is very upset. She cries to Alix. John Brown has died. The Queen says: "We all thought it was no more than a chill." She calls John Brown her best and truest friend. Lord Tennyson contacted her and he will write the inscription for the statue of John Brown to be placed at Balmoral.
Bertie speaks with Gladstone. He wants it to be known publicly that he supports the bill to improve the conditions for the less fortunate. But Gladstone tells him it is impossible. He cannot take a public stand. The crown must remain above politics. Bertie is upset and mad. When he is with Lillie again he tells her that they won't let him rule, or fight or work. The poor guy can't even vote. Lillie cheers him up by sitting on his lap and giving him a kiss.
Scene V. Forbidden Pairing.
Alice dances with Bertie. She tells her brother that it is quite impossible to be happy in Bismarck's presence. Her son, Willie, however is enjoying himself. Alice tells Bertie that she hardly ever sees Willie anymore and it's all Bismarck's doing. She and Bertie go out into the hall to find Fritz who is not well these days. They find him sitting on a bench in the hall. Bertie gets Fritz to agree to see an English doctor since the German doctors have had little success in curing Fritz. They talk about Alice's daughter Victoria dancing with Sandro, Prince Alexander of Bulgaria. Fritz asks if they are not supposed to be keeping these particular two dancers apart?
Bismarck comes out into the hall. He tells Alice that her daughter Victoria is dancing with the Prince of Bulgaria and it is the express wish of the Emperor that they be kept apart. Any thought of the two marrying is impossible. Just before he leaves he says he hopes he has made himself clear. After Bismarck leaves, Alice almost shouts: "Oh, I hate him!"
Alice speaks with Bertie again. Bismarck has accused her of actually working against Germany. Sandro quarreled with the Czar and Germany doesn't want to offend Russia. And Fritz is ill. At this time Willie comes in. He tells his mother that the Emperor has forbidden his sister ever to see Prince Alexander again. It would cause a breech with Russia. Willy acts way too straight-laced and buttoned-up. Bertie, with little luck, tries to get Willie to discuss the matter. When Willie will not yield, Bertie says that Willie will not be able to visit England for the Queen's Jubilee because the Queen approves of the idea of marriage of Victoria and Sandro. Willie is upset. He leaves. Bertie laughs. He says to Alice: "You see how very much he wants to come to England?" He reassures Alice that it will all work out in the end.
Willie speaks with Bismarck, who advises him to learn to use his defeats and turn them into victories. His father is ill. Perhaps too ill to succeed Willie's grandfather. His father might step down in Willie's favor. So, Willie should learn to smile and prepare himself for the accession.
Queen Victoria, Alice and Alix are greeted enthusiastically as they ride in a carriage to the Jubilee celebration. After the celebration the family gets together. Both Fritz and Willie are there. Queen Victoria tells her daughter Alice that Will is behaving beautifully. The adolescents leave the room. They will play skittles (which looks something like bowling). Willie is told to go with them. He decides to take his Aunt Alix with him. Then the Queen decides that she will play skittle also. Bertie and Alice are left alone in the room. Bertie says that things are coming around, but Alice says she is still not sure.
Scene VI. Celebrations and loss.
Lillie Langtry and Bertie are together again. Bertie mentions that she is now a success at home and in America. He says that now she can manage on her own. Will she take her play to America? Yes. Bertie says: "We will always be friends. . . . I'm there if you need me." Lillie leaves after kissing Bertie.
It is the silver wedding anniversary of Bertie and Alix. The family is there to celebrate. The old Kaiser has died and now Fritz and Vicky are Emperor and Empress of Germany.
Queen Victoria receives a letter from Vicky. Fritz has died of cancer. He was emperor for only 99 days.
At the funeral Bertie tries to comfort Alice. Alice weeps that Willie has blamed her for his father's death because she had helped convince him to use an English doctor. She says that she feels like a prisoner in her own home now. Frankly speaking, she is frightened of her own son. Willie is on the side of Bismarck. Willie comes down the hall and everybody stops talking. After a long pause, Willie calls for his mother to come. He holds his arm out for her to take. They leave.
Episode IX. Scandal.
Scene I. Lady Brooke.
Bertie leads his guests into the ballroom. Lady Daisy Brooke comes over to Bertie to ask for his help. Some of the men in the room say that Lady Brooke is after the Prince of Wales. Bertie tells Lady Brooke that he will see her after the dancing is underway. Alix herself is a bit distressed when she sees Lady Brooke and Bertie leave the dance floor.
Alix goes into a private room. Oliver follows her. Alix says: "It's beginning again, isn't it?" But this time it will be with Lady Brooke. She asks Oliver if he thinks that she (Alix) is pretty. Oliver tells her she is beautiful. This cheers Alix up and she goes back to the dance floor with Oliver.
Lady Brooke says that she is involved in a delicate matter. Charles Beresford was her lover at one time. After they broke up she wrote him a letter. His wife found the letter and now she (Lady Brooke) is afraid that the woman will use it against her. George Lewis, the solicitor for Lady Charles, has the letter. Lady Brooke asks the prince of Wales if he can get the letter back for her. When he accepts, she says: "You are kind, sir. I hardly know how to thank you."
Alix dances with her son Eddy, who will be the Duke of Clarence. His sister Louise is now married and in Scotland. Alix tells Eddy that at 26 years of age, and second in line to the throne, he should get married. Eddy is not so certain.
Scene II. The Letter.
Bertie pays a visit to George Lewis. He tells the solicitor that he would like to see the letter from Lady Brooke. George is taken aback by the surprise request, but obeys the Prince. Bertie looks at it and then tells George: "Destroy it!" George says he will not. That would be unethical. The Prince asks him: "You refuse to do what I ask?" George says yes, but he will advise Lady Charles to destroy it. Satisfied, the Prince leaves.
Eddy and his brother George are together talking. George says that last night Eddy mad a fool of himself over Lady Erskine. Eddy tells George that he ought to lighten up and have a bit of fun now and then.
Lord Charles Beresford reads the riot act to George Lewis. He says that the Prince of Wales has twice visited Lady Charles and asked her to give up the letter or allow it to be destroyed. Before leaving, he tells George not to let anyone else see the letter. George agrees.
Charles Beresford pays a visit to the Prince of Wales. He demands an explanation from Bertie. The one matter he is most upset over is that Bertie told Lady Charles that she better cooperate or she would not be allowed to go to Marlboro House (in other words, she would be made a social outcast). The man is so angry, that he nearly hits Bertie.
Alix comes in to ask Bertie why Lord Charles left in such a huff. Bertie won't tell her. He does tell her, however, not to invite Lady Charles over to Marlboro House for awhile. He then changes the subject. His wife tells him that Louise is pregnant and she thinks they should go see her. Bertie, however, will be going to visit Arthur Wilson and his wife at Tranbee Cross (?spelling) and staying there a couple of days or so.
After dinner at the home of the Wilson's, the Prince of Wales wants to play the card game baccarat (which is illegal because it involves gambling).
Eddy and the Princess Helene d'Orleans go to see Queen Victoria. Eddy has proposed marriage to Helene. The Queen points out that she will have to change her religion.. Helene is very willing to do so. The Queen then gives them her consent and her blessing.
Scent III. The Cheat.
The Prince of Wales plays baccarat. The elder sons of the Wilson's notice that Lt. Col. Sir William Gordon Cumming has been cheating at cards. They watch the following day and see it again. They decide to talk with Lord Coventry about the matter. Lord Coventry and Lt. General Williams listen to the young men. Four people have noticed Gordon cheating at cards by increasing his stake after the cards had been dealt. Lord Coventry and Lt. Gen. Williams tell the young men that this is a serious accusation. The two older men say they will talk with Gordon.
The Lt. Col. reacts harshly to the accusation that some people objected to his way of playing cards. He says: "I deny it absolutely. It's not true." But then he drops into a chair and says: "Oh God! If this were ever to get out." He then says he must see His Royal Highness.
Lord Coventry, Lt. Gen. Williams and the Prince of Wales come together with Gordon. The two older men say they have prepared a statement they want Gordon to sign. The papers swears all parties involved in the matter of cheating and its discovery on December 8 and 9, 1890 to silence and has Gordon swear to never play cards again as long as he lives. Gordon objects that he is innocent, but the older men tell him it is the only way to avoid a scandal. Gordon signs the document. After he leaves, five younger men come in to sign the document. The Prince of Wales also signs.
Scene IV. Apology.
Alix tells Bertie that this is the second time Eddy has had his choice of bride turned down. Helene's father and the Pope won't let her change religion in order to marry Eddy. Francis Knollys comes in to tell Bertie that a scandal seems to be starting over something about an illegal card game and someone cheating.
Prime Minister Lord Salisbury comes in to see Queen Victoria. They talk about the scandal. The problem is that the secret has not been kept. Queen Victoria refers to the whole matter as "Disgraceful!" She says that Bertie must go away somewhere, but Lord Salisbury tells her he can't. Bertie will be called as a witness for the defense.
In the courtroom Sir Edmund Clarke representing Gordon says that his client was victimized to save the honor of a prince and to save a tottering throne. They charge also that it was the Prince of Wales who did not enable Lt. Col. Gordon to take his case to his commanding officer, the proper move in accordance with military rules.
Prime Minister Lord Salisbury talks with Queen Victoria. She says: ". . . a tottering throne?" She can't believe that Sir Edmund Clarke would dare say such a thing. The Lt. Col. lost the case and was dismissed from the army. What really upsets Victoria is that The Times editorial said that the "serious" people of England "regret and resent" the actions of the Prince of Wales in the matter.
Queen Victoria tells Lord Salisbury that she will have the Prince of Wale write a to-be-published letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury condemning gambling. Lord Salisbury approves. Gladstone has already given his approval. There's a problem, however. Bertie won't sign any such letter because he thinks it would be highly hypocritical of him.
The Prince of Wales with Francis Knollys tells Gladstone in very uncertain words that he will not sign such a letter. Gladstone leaves. Lord Rosebery comes in. He has more bad news. Lord and Lady Charles Beresford are threatening to make their quarrel with the Prince of Wales over the Lady Brooke letter public. Lady Beresford is distressed about being excluded from court. The couple wants the Prince of Wales to give them an apology. And Bertie must also allow Lady Beresford to appear at court. The Prince of Wales says this is just blackmail. Rosebery says that the couple think that since they are already social outcasts, they have nothing to lose and will tell all about Lady Brooke and Bertie. And, by the way, Alix already knows.
Bertie tries to speak with Alix, but she says that she would rather not talk about it. She asks: "You still see her don't you?" Bertie answers: "From time to time, yes." Alix says she thought it would all blow over, but: "It doesn't end."
Scene V. Eddy.
Alix tells Bertie that May of Teck is a German princess, but as English as they are. She approves of the match between her and Eddy. Later, Lord Salisbury talks with Bertie and tells him that Lord and Lady Beresford are determined to make the whole scandal public. Lord Beresford has invited the press to his place to give his views of the affair. The Prime Minister says that Bertie has no choice but to meet some of his demands. Following the recent cheating scandal, this new scandal ". . . could precipitate a national crisis." Bertie asks: "What do you want me to do?"
At a formal dance, Eddy, dancing with May of Teck, looks physically ill. Alix comes to him to inquire about his health, but he angrily tells her that there is nothing wrong with him. He continues dancing.
The Prime Minister and George Lewis meet with Lord Charles Beresford. Lord Salisbury says that the Prince of Wales has agreed to a formal exchange of letters with Lord and Lady Beresford. Beresford says that he wants a formal apology, including the matter of the exclusion of his wife from court. Lord Salisbury agrees to the request and says he will write the letter himself and the Prince of Wales will sign it.
The Prince of Wales and his two sons are out hunting. Eddy is feeling terribly and starts shivering. George becomes concerned about his brother and helps him back to the mansion.
Francis Knollys comes out of Eddy's bedroom and shakes his head no to the three sisters and brother George. They all file in to see Eddy's last moments. He dies. Alix cries and Bertie helps her from the room.
Part VI. Moving On.
Bertie visits the Queen. She tells him that for him the last two years have not been kind. But that is now all in the past and they won't speak of it anymore. She changes the subject and says that Alix grieves too much over poor Eddy's death. Bertie agrees and says she is still very upset. To make matters worse, Oliver died in Egypt. Yes. And Lord Salisbury has resigned. The Queen says that the liberals are certain to win the elections. She tells Bertie: "I will not send for him." She is speaking of her old nemesis Gladstone. She describes him as "a wicked old man" and points out that this will be the fourth time for Gladstone as prime minister. She ends with: "No, Bertie. It's too much to ask."
Gladstone goes to Queen Victoria to receive her request to form a government. They both now use walking canes and Victoria points that out.
Bertie is happy for Gladstone. And Gladstone is happy to say he hopes that Bertie will serve on the Commission of the Aged Poor. Yes, Bertie will serve. Then Gladstone asks Bertie to speak to Rosebery about accepting the position of head of the Foreign Office. His wife recently died and he wants to retreat from the world. (Meanwhile, dressed in black Alix sits at the side of Eddy's death bed. There is a large British flag draped over the bed.)
Rosebery comes to see Bertie. He did accept the Foreign Office post and says the work has proved to be his salvation. Francis Knollys comes in with a box and gives it to Rosebery. Rosebery in turn presents it to Bertie. Inside is a key. It was made for Bertie's father, says Rosebery. It is a key to the foreign dispatch boxes. Bertie is very moved and says: "Thank you, Archie. Thank you."
Rosebery talks to Alix to say goodbye. And he wants to give her some advise. When his first wife died his first instinct was to hide and he refused the offer of the Foreign Office. But after a bit of contemplation about the matter he decided that ". . .my duty to the living was more important than my need to mourn the dead." He says he hopes Alix will ". . .come among us once again." Alix says she will think about what he said. Rosebery leaves.
Alix goes in to see Bertie no longer dressed in black. Bertie notices and says she's changed. Yes. It's about a year since Eddy died and she thinks it has been long enough. She talks about May of Teck with Bertie saying that she's glad she stayed with them at Sandringham. She says: "She's almost like one of the family." Bertie tells her that people are saying that May will marry George. Alix thinks that would be inappropriate. But Bertie says the Queen approves of the idea. Alix snaps at Bertie that she won't be rushed. And besides, they don't even know if the two young people even like each other. Bertie says: "Oh, don't we?" He walks her to a window where they see George and May walking hand in hand on the mansion grounds. Alix is pleased. George kisses May's hand.
Episode X. The Years of Waiting.
Scene I. Frightened of Mother.
After a day of yacht racing, Bertie and his German nephew Kaiser Willie arrive late. He tells Willie that mama will be furious, especially so since the dinner is in honor of Willie. Willie tells Bertie to cheer up. He then says: "You know, I believe you're just a little bit frightened of your mother."
Willie goes in to the family. When Bertie arrives Queen Victoria says he is late and they have already eaten. Bertie seems a bit discouraged, but Willie shouts to him: "Never mind! It's been a splendid day." He then goes to eat his dinner. Bertie tells Alix and his daughters that Willie is just insufferable. Impossible. And he can't beat him in a yacht race to get even with him. Willie has refused to take part in the yacht race and Willie's yacht the Meteor is faster than Bertie's Britannia.
Bertie attends a music hall performance of singer Marie Lloyd. He is with a woman named Daisy. Bertie says that he needs to build a bigger and better yacht. But his financial adviser says he can't afford it. O.k. then. He will sell the yacht and concentrate on horse racing.
Alix, Minnie and Charlotte talk together. Minnie's husband Sasha has died and Nikki her son doesn't have his father's will. He is rather weak. He married the German Alek (now Czarina Alexandra) and now the German influence is very strong. The Kaiser even engineered the wedding. And therefore, Alix says something nasty about the Kaiser. Minnie says she wants to see Bertie. Their daughter Toria comes in. After she leaves, Minnie says that she should get married. But Alix says that she shows no inclination for marriage.
Bertie speaks with Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. He wants to know why he wasn't told about this Dr. Jameson Raid. Salisbury says that he just learned about it himself recently. Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape, sent Dr. Jameson and 400 mounted police on a raid into the Transvaal to incite a revolt against the government of Paul Kroeger in order for the British to take over and set up a British Dominion. Jameson, however, was forced to surrender. Cecil Rhodes has resigned and returned to Britain for an inquiry. Bertie says it was just a shame that the Kaiser knew about this before he (Bertie) knew. Bertie is rather upset. He tells Salisbury that he only gets to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Queen and he has been doing that all his life.
Scene II. Balmoral Castle.
A male Scottish dancer dances for Queen Victoria and others. Then eight male and female Scottish dancers come out and perform a dance. Then they all leave. Queen Victoria speaks to Czarina Alexandra, while Bertie is with Czar Nicholas II. The Queen and others have noticed that the Czar looks tired. On this day, says the Queen, she has reigned longer than any other English sovereign.
Bertie and Nikki got out hunting. Bertie says that his mother and he are in the tradition of constitutional monarchs. They don't have the power the Czars of Russia have. They return to the mansion. Bertie tells Nikki that he doesn't need all those detectives around him, but Nikki thinks otherwise. Bertie learns that Queen Victoria and the Prime Minister are meeting with Czar Nicholas II on the situation on the Cape of Africa. This upsets Bertie, but he quickly covers it up by saying that he is going to New Market tomorrow any way. (He is going to the horse races.) France Knollys says to the Prime Minister that the Queen has excluded Bertie from doing useful things. Francis says it still makes him personally very angry when he thinks about Bertie's situaltion.
Scene III. The Races.
At the horse races Bertie meets Mr. and Mrs. George Keppel. He takes an immediate interest (probably in Mrs. Keppel) and asks them to join him in his box. The Keppels go with Bertie to the box. They watch as the race goers wave and cheer for the Crown Prince.
There is a fancy dinner. In attendance are Bertie, Alix, the Keppels and the Gladstones. Bertie's horse won the derby. Gladstone calls the Queen an "obstinate and short-sighted old woman." Bertie agrees with him, but adds "and a great queen." Alix speaks with Gladstone alone. She is worried about her brother Willie in Greece. The Turkish army is near Athens and nothing will stop them from taking that city. Gladstone tells her that since he's retired, he has little influence over politics. And Alix says that the only thing the Queen talks about now is her up coming diamond jubilee.
The Queen talks to Alix about the jubilee. There will be a procession through London. She avoids the subject of Greece. Alix finally tells her that she has come to ask her for her help. The Turks are on the verge of over-running the whole country of Greece. And there are anti-monarchist demonstrations in Athens. The Queens says: "We are in touch with the Czar about it." Alix objects that this is not enough, but Victoria gets angry and ends the conversation.
Scene IV. "Go it, Old Girl".
Bertie is in a black costume for the masquerade ball. Three thousand people will be in attendance. It is part of the Jubilee Celebration. The situation in Greece is getting worse and Alix is still very worried about her brother. Alix comes into the room and laughs at the plumed hat that her husband is wearing as part of his costume.
Queen Victoria with Alice visit Albert's tomb. She tells her daughter that she still misses Albert thirty-six years after his death. Alice tells her that she is more popular than ever. The Queen says that a man in the crowed shouted at her: "Go it, old girl!" She says: "I rather like that. It has a friendly ring to it."
The family and guests watch a film about the Jubilee celebration. Gladstone says he didn't care for it much. He says it flickers too much. Bertie tells him that he's not sure any more if he even wants to be the king. He is not sure he can do it.
Scene V. Mr. Gladstone's Passing.
Bertie attended Gladstone's funeral. The Queen did not. She listens as Toria reads a notice in the paper about the funeral. The Queen says bitterly that there is no precedence for such a thing that Bertie has done. When Toria reads that Bertie went over to Mrs. Gladstone and kissed her hand, Queen Victoria has an outbreak of rage, screams and pushes everything off the table top in front of her.
At a big dinner, the talk turns to the Boer War in South Africa. France and Germany have backed the Boers. And the war itself is not going well for the British. The British army has suffered several reverses and the army is besieged at three places: Ladysmith, Kymberly and Maraky (spelling?). Bertie's son George says that he wants to go down there. Alix talks about outfitting a hospital ship to support the war effort. But first she is going to Copenhagen for a visit. And Bertie is going too. Bertie says that he does not want Alix traveling by herself because there is so much anti-British feeling on the continent because of the Boer War.
Bertie and Alix are on the train. He is warned not to leave the train at a station because there are anti-British demonstrations. Bertie says he is going out anyway. Alix objects to his going out. Soon a young man jumps at the window and fires two shots into the compartment shattering the glass on the table in front of Bertie. Alix screams while Bertie jumps up and back. Bertie makes light of it by saying that the fellow obviously was not a good shot. When he sees the captured fellow he is amazed that he is only a boy. He tells Francis to tell his capturers not to hurt the fellow.
Alix is together with her sister Minnie. They say that Vicky is not doing well and that this has been held back from the Queen. And the Boer War just keeps dragging on and on. It has been two years now. And what happened to that would-be assassin? The fellow was a member of an anarchist group and was only 15 years of age. Since the court found that there was no criminal intent, he was released, much to the distress of Bertie. Minnie says that Bertie is eating too much these days. Alix says that he has been eating very heavy ever since the death of his beloved brother Affie. She says that he has felt so low since the funeral. Alix asks her daughter Toria to run over to May's place and ask if the grandchildren (David and Bertie) can visit with grandmother Alix.
Francis Knollys speaks with Bertie. Bertie says that he returned without notice because he got bored. He is to have dinner with Agnes Keyser in the evening. Fritz phones Bertie to tell him about his mother the Queen.
Scene VI. Waiting No More.
Queen Victoria lies in bed.
Bertie visits with Agnes Keyser at her place. He tells her that the Queen is dying. He also says: "I am frightened, Agnes." Agnes says that any one in his position would be a bit frightened. But Bertie has his doubts. He says: "I'm not fit to reign anymore. . . I'm nearly 60." He adds ". . . and so many people expect me to fail." He wonders if he should not stand aside and let Georgie become the king. He goes on. He says he is tired and that he hasn't the stomach for the fight for it anymore. He says he lost that will, if he ever had it. To be king after so long? And how will the public take it?
The Queen asks her doctor, since she is better, can she have her dog with her on the bed? The doctors says she can. Alix arrives and greets Bertie. Bertie tells her that mother is not better. The Kaiser is coming. Apparently, he invited himself. When the Kaiser arrives, Bertie goes to see him. He tells Bertie that he wants to see his grandmother one more time before she dies. The family and the Kaiser go upstairs with Bertie to stand at the bedside of Queen Victoria. All the servants line the long hall to her bedroom.
On her deathbed Queen Victoria's calls Bertie's name twice. She smiles at him and then dies. Alix and Bertie both cry. The servants in the hall kneel.
In a naval uniform Bertie asks the captain of the ship why is the ship flag at half mast? Because the Queen is dead, says the captain. Bertie just says: "But the King lives!" The flag is raised.
Episode XI. King at Last (1902-1902)
Scene I. The New Sovereign.
Charles Carrington and Francis Knollys talk about Bertie who they say has waited nearly 60 years to be king. They note that Balfour and Lansdowne are after Lord Salisbury already. Balfour tells Salisbury that it is time to insist on constitutional reform. And the king should not interfere in government. Bertie comes in and gives a little speech to the assembled group. He says that he wants to be known as Edmund VII.
There is an official announcement of the new King Edward VIII. God save the King!
Prime Minister Salisbury swears loyalty to King Edward. Arthur James Balfour, first lord of the treasury, swears his loyalty.
Charles Carrington and Francis Knollys are with Bertie. Meanwhile, Lord Esher shows Alix around Victoria's former rooms at Buckingham Palace. The King wonders: "Where the devil is Alix?" They are all waiting for her to begin the greeting of the government envoys. Lord Esher tells Alix that the King is probably waiting for her. She says: "Let him wait! It will do him good." Impatient, the King tells his staff to send in the Marquis Luis de Soveral, the Portuguese ambassador, who is a friend of the King's. Alix finally arrives, 50 minutes late.
Scene II. Family and Foreign Affairs.
The family watches flickers of the funeral procession. They clap when it ends.
The King wants to keep Frederick Ponsonby, secretary to Queen Victoria, on in service to himself. Ponsonby is happy to remain in service. Kaiser Wilhelm II speaks with his uncle Bertie. He says England and Germany are the strongest nations in the world and they both have a sincere desire for peace and order. And the two nations together could police the world.
Lord Esher tells Balfour and Lansdowne that the King is learning fast and may surprise them yet.
King Edward, Alix and Toria are at Windsor looking at the rooms. Alix tells Bertie that she doesn't like it. She feels that Victoria is still watching them. Bertie tells her that this room is where his mother first worked with his father, desk set next to desk. The King picks up a small plaster likeness of John Brown and then deliberately drops it smashing it to pieces. When Alix hears that she will be having to spent most of her time at Windsor and Buckingham Palace, she shouts to Bertie: "I will not sit at her (Victoria's) table and live in her rooms." For once in her married life, she wants to choose for herself.
At Marlboro House, Alix concedes to live at Windsor, but still insists that Buckingham Palace is out of the question. Bertie tells her that he has to have dinner with the cabinet. But Bertie does not eat with the cabinet. He is with Mrs. Keppel and other friends. He unloads his doubts to Alice Keppel. Bertie is upset that he can't do much about the continuing Boer War. He can't convince Alix to live in Buckingham Palace. (Alice has a great suggestion to win her offer. Let Alix completely redesign the entire palace interior to her own liking. Bertie likes the idea.) And then there is his sister Vicky. She is dying of cancer of the spine.
Scene III. Vicky's Request.
Bertie is in Germany. He first visits Kaiser Wilhelm II. Then both men go visit Vicky. After staying a little while with his mother, Willie leaves. Bertie tells Vicky that Willie behaved very well at the funeral. He tells her that he won't go through the coronation ceremony until after the end of the Boer War. Vicky says that life is still hard for her in Germany. She is English and, therefore, has never been accepted. She then warns Bertie about Willie. She says one day Willie will change. He can't help it. He can't be second to any one. His hatred and envy of England will return and with a vengeance. So watch out for Willie.
Ponsonby comes to see Vicky at her request. She tells him that she has many letters from England, mostly family letters and most of them from Queen Victoria. She wants Ponsonby to take charge of the letters, which could be used against England. And one thing is certain. Her son must not have the letters. Ponsonby agrees to take the letters with him in his luggage. But he is shocked when he sees the several boxes of letters. He tells Vicky: "I did not expect so many." But he will still take the letters.
Ponsonby has a scare. The Kaiser wants to know what's in all these boxes. Ponsonby says nothing and is relieved when the Kaiser just says "You English with your clothes and comforts." He tells his staff to see that the boxes are not left behind.
Scene IV. End of Full Mourning.
Alix, Bertie, Francis Knollys and Lord Esher play bridge. Alix asks Bertie: "Why do you want to work so hard, anyway?"
The first ball before the official end of the mourning period is to be held. Alice Keppel asks Alix what to wear. Alix just tells her to wear whatever she wants. When ball time arrives, the women and men are all dressed in simple black. And in walks Alix all dressed in white and fabulous diamonds. She outshines everyone. Bertie and Alix dance to a round of applause from the guests.
Alix shows Bertie the redesigned room interiors of Buckingham Palace. Bertie is impressed and says that he never thought the rooms could be made so pleasant. Alix shows Bertie his room and he says: "Everything you've done is perfect."
Bertie speaks to Lord Salisbury and others. He wants to know when the war will be over. He says that the Boers must know it's futile to go on fighting. The Prime Minister says that peace terms will be signed by June 1. Bertie is happy. Then Lord Salisbury tells him that because of his increasing ill health he will be resigning soon. Bertie expresses his regret and then asks the Prime Minister to suggest someone. Salisbury suggests his nephew Mr. Balfour. After the men leave the King, Bertie has a sudden terrible pain in his lower right side.
Scene V. Sudden Illness.
Everyone knows that the King is ill, but that he is trying to prove to everyone that there is nothing wrong with him. This is especially true now since the coronation is only two days away. At the coronation one-half million poor people will be fed at the Crown's expense.
Bertie suffers more pain in his right side. He tells Alix that it is nothing. When George arrives he learns that papa is very ill. And the man won't let himself be examined! George takes the matter into his own hands and gets his father to let himself be examined. The doctor tells George and his father that the illness is appendicitis. King Edmund is relieved. He says: "I thought it might be cancer." But the doctor says the appendicitis is just as dangerous. The King must have an immediate operation. Bertie goes sky-rocket mad. He shouts: "I will be crowned!" The doctor will not let himself be intimidated. He says that if the King is not operated on by tomorrow, it will be too late. Bertie's spirits sink. He says: "My people will never forgive me." Alix asks the doctor if the operation is dangerous. Well, it has not often been performed.
Scene VI. Surgery and Coronation.
The newsboys on the streets shout: "Coronation postponed! King's life in danger!"
The King says: "I apologize to everybody." The operations goes ahead. The patient is given chloroform. At first the King fights the anesthesia, but he succumbs after a struggle.
Alix says that her husband has always believed he would die before the coronation ceremony. The doctor comes out. He tells Alix: "It's all over, ma'm, and I believe successful." Alix is so happy to hear the good news.
Alix is pleased about something else. The King has lost weight. The coronation ceremony will take place on August 9.
Some of the cabinet members discuss the King. Salisbury says that the illness has made the King even more popular than before. He adds: "In time he will prove a remarkable king."
The King finishes his preparations for coronation. He now wonders where's Alix. He shouts: "This is too much! Today of all days." But Alix is ready all decked out in white again.
Bertie is crowned King. Three shouts go up of : "God save the King!"
Episode XII. The Peacemaker.
Scene I. An Unpleasant Nephew.
Bertie leaves the party. Alix runs after him. She asks him what she will say to their guests. He tells her to tell them that he is bored: "Willie is being particularly insufferable!" He is conducting a one man monologue in there.
Willie tells the guests that the British empire is inefficient and that democracy is only one step from anarchy. What's wrong with Britain is that the British never expect to have to fight. Alix intervenes. She says the Boer war has been over for two years and the men are still arguing over it. Alix gets Willie to dance with her. When Wille leaves the room Bertie says he finally realizes what's the matter with the guy: "He's off his head!"
Later Bertoe asks Alix: "Why does he invite himself here if he only sets out to be unpleasant." Alix says that Bertie always makes Willie feel second best. Bertie says that he now feels sorry for Willie's country. She has to be up with Willie.
The men go play a round of golf. They are interrupted by Alix and Charlotte Knollys. Alix has invented her own game. The first one to get the ball into the hole wins. And she wins. Bertie is so exasperated by Alix's interruption that he quits.
Lord Esher tells Lord Carrington that the King has been unsettled for weeks now. The man feels cut-off from everything. Alix tells Bertie not to sulk and Bertie tells her that he is going to London for a few days to see Prime Minister Balfour.
Scene II. The King's Advice.
Bertie and Lord Carrington are at a dinner party laughing heartily. The King talks about how disappointed he is in the monarchy. There is so little he can do except attend public functions. Someone says that the monarchy is much more than that. Bertie complains about not receiving the proper information to help make decisions concerning foreign policy. The monarchy, he says, is only a rubber stamp these days. He adds that he feels that his advice should be listened to. He says that he sat by when he was Crown Prince, but he refuses to sit by and do nothing now that he is king.
Lord Esher speaks to Alice Keppel. He says he told Lady Warwick that she is to having nothing further to do with the King. Alice thinks that this is meant as a message for her too, but Esher assures her it is not. He says that the King is greatly influenced by her. He will listen to her. And this is especially important since the King is in a mood to do something rash. Alice says she will try to help calm the King.
Lord Lansdowne says to Prime Minister Balfour that the King can't be serious about this planned grand tour of Europe. He simply can't go without consulting the Foreign Office. He must be talked out of it.
The King tells Mr. Balfour that he is going to Portugal, Gibraltar and Italy. And he is going next month. The Prime Minister and Lord Lansdowne demand that he take a government representative with him. The King will take Charles Hardinge.
Scene III. Secret Arrangements.
Alix speaks with Bertie. She asks him why she is not to go with him and why did he keep it a secret fromher. Bertie says that the trip had to be kept secret. After Bertie leaves, Alix says that her husband won't share things with her anymore. She asks: "Why does it all have to be so secret?"
Balfour and Lansdowne both agree that the King has hoodwinked them. He has ordered a battleship to Algiers to salute visiting French President Loubet. Then he is planning a state visit to Paris. Esher defends the King to Balfour. The King has cemented the friendship with Victor Emmanuelle in Italy. Balfour objects that France is a different country. And the French have a violent hatred for Britain because of the Boer War. The French police tell them that they cannot guarantee His Majesty's safety. Balfour says he will cancel the visit, but Esher says the King is already on his way.
Bertie arrives by train to a chorus of boos. The French President greets him at the station.
Bertie gives a speech. He ends by saying, speaking personally, he hopes to establish a lasting peaceful relationship between Britain and France. Hardinge accompanies Bertie. He tells the King that the French police say that they should not mix in the crowd. Bertie pays no heed to the advice. He proceeds over to a French actress he recognizes and praises her for her acting ability. He kisses her hand. She is so flattered that she says something flattering back to him. Touched by her kind remark, Bertie heads back upstairs.
When Bertie gets on the train to leave France, he is greeted by a chorus of cheers. He says to the men with him: "Well, gentleman, the tide seems to have turned. Now what will the government say?"
Scene IV. Policy.
At a ball Alice observes that father and son (Bertie and George) are more like brothers. Lord Esher remarks that Bertie does not want George to suffer like he had to. Bertie speaks with Balfour and Lansdowne about troublesome Germany. He says he knew that German pride would be ruffled about the agreement with France, so he paid a call on his nephew Willie when he was in Germany. The government fellows are not pleased, but feel a little less stressed about Bertie's actions. Alix dances with Admiral Jack.
Bertie speaks with the leader of the opposition: Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. He wants to talk about the trouble in the Midlands. Young Winston Churchill has been making some pretty inflammatory speeches under the influence of his Welsh friend, Lloyd George. The King stresses that the times are changing and they need men of common sense and moderation.
Esher and Bertie talk. They agree that the Kaiser sees the British actions as attempts to encircle Germany. He has begun to expand the German navy to meet the threat. Russia is distracted by the situation with Japan (Russo-Japanese War of 1905). Esher says that they must reform the army. Bertie totally agrees with him. He asks him if he would lead a commission on war office reform. Esher says yes and adds that he could get a report out in two months.
At a party, Alice Keppel talks to Bertie. She wants him to talk to Admiral Jack who is saying some pretty wild things that may get him into trouble. Bertie does talk with Jack. They both realize there is a danger in the build-up of the German navy. Admiral Jack would like to launch a surprise attack on the German navy and wipe it out. Bertie tells him the idea is "barbarous". Jack then says that they should at least reorganize naval command. They could save a great deal of money and then spent it on building bigger and better ships. Jack will soon be made the First Sea Lord. Bertie and he will work together on the reorganization, but Bertie tells Jack that there will be fierce opposition.
Scene V. Birthday.
Bertie looks over the presents for his grandson's birthday. Balfour is there but he didn't bring a present. The Prime Minister tells the King that the Kaiser has his eye on Morocco, which is a direct challenge to both the British and the French. But Bertie can't deal with that right now. After the party, he is going to Denmark to congratulate his son-in-law Charles on becoming King of Norway.
In Copenhagen Bertie and Alix visit her father. Minnie is also there. She complains that Alec stops her from seeing her grandchildren. She's so beautiful, but so cold, Minnie says. Bertie wants to talk to the Czar through Minnie, the dowager empress. But she appears to be of little use. She says her country is torn with unrest after the war with Japan. Bertie tells her that he would like to meet with the Czar personally.
Willie and Czar Nicholas II meet aboard ship. The Czar says that the Japanese completely annihilated the Russian main fleet. Willie wants to talk about Uncle Bertie. The man is always in Willie's way in his dealings with other nations. Nikki says that his real ambition is to be the ruler of Europe. Willie says he works through all his women who spy for him. Nikki responds by saying: "He's a devil." And he resents us, says Willie. Russia and Germany must be allowed to claim their true place in the world. So they should make an alliance. Then France and Italy will join them, thereby isolating Britain. Willie adds that there will be a new government in Britain. A pacifist will be in charge and Bertie will have no one to support him. The two joyful national leaders embrace.
Scene VI. So Much to be Done.
Sir Campbell-Bannerman forms a new government. He speaks with Bertie about it. Bertie asks him if his health is up to leading the Liberal party. The new Prime Minister answers that the Liberals have been out of power for most of the past thirty years and he is determined to lead his party.
Alix cries. Her father is dead. And she is mad at Bertie for not saying he will go with her to Denmark for the funeral. Bertie tells her that he has an important meeting with the Russian ambassador. He has to get across to the Russians that a treaty with Germany is not good for them. He insists it is a necessity. Alix cries and leaves.
In Denmark Minnie and Alix are alone together. Minnie says that her own usefulness is over. And Alix says that she does not share in Bertie's life anymore. They have grown apart. Alix then has an idea. They will get a house together, just the two sisters, and will live together there at various times. They cry and embrace.
Another ball is held. Charles Carrington is now a cabinet minister in the government. Sir Campbell-Bannerman has such a large electoral majority that now he doesn't need the King. Bertie is congratulated for driving a wedge between his two nephews. They call him the peacemaker now. But he is still not happy. He spends most of his time preparing his country for war, not peace. He tells Alice Keppel: "I'm growing old, you see. I'm tired now. There's still so much to be done, so much." The King falls asleep. Alice kisses his hand, leans back in the chair next to him and just sits quietly with him while he sleeps.
Episode XIII. Good Old Teddy!
Scene I. Old Men.
The King is with Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in Marienbad. He congratulates Sir Henry on rejecting the channel tunnel idea. The King says that they don't want England attached to Europe. Ponsonby tells the King that he was delayed by a woman who wanted to sleep with the King. He told her no. But she then asked if she could sleep with him (Fritz Ponsonby). The men have a good laugh.
Alix and Minnie now have their own place to stay when they are in Denmark. Alix is upset that Bertie refused to come with her. He would rather be with Alice Keppel.
Bertie and Alice Keppel dine together. The King wants to speak with the Russian Foreign Minister, a man who he himself invited to meet with him.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Winston Churchill, Lord Esher, H. H. Asquith and David Lloyd-George speak together. The Prime Minister says that the Anglo-Russian Agreement has been signed yesterday in St. Petersburg. Now there is a triple alliance with France and Russia. And Willie is bound to be very upset about the new arrangement.
At a ball, Willie introduces his wife to Daisy. He then speaks with Uncle Bertie. Later he tells everyone how happy he is to be in England. Willie says this is a real home and that they must meet more often. Willie says it's his English blood that makes him so fond of the place. He adds that he longs to be with them. After all, blood is thicker than water.
Scene II. German Relations.
Bertie says to a couple of his friends that Willie sounds sincere this time. But at the Foreign Office, the poor fellow railed against the Jews and talked about building a railroad from Berlin to Baghdad. Bertie laughs. The railway will probably be used to bring in military supplies. Willie suddenly bursts in on Bertie. He is shouting: "I am always misunderstood. . . . It's life or death." He demands to speak. He wants to know why Britain builds up its forces against Germany. Bertie tells him they build because the Germans build. Willie says it is only to defend their commerce. He swears that he personally is the greatest friend England has. After all, he was the one who won the Boer War for them because of his master plan for victory. Instead of being congratulated, he is treated cruelly. He gets so angry that he chokes himself up so that he can't even talk. He has to leave the room. (It seems obvious that the fellow is just a bit paranoid.)
At a Christmas ball news arrives that the Prime Minister is dying. Bertie is coughing his head off. Everyone tells him that he smokes way too much. Bertie is told that the Prime Minister is sinking fast. And the Kaiser has changed his mind again. He is trying to break the agreement between Russia and Britain.
Scene III. Reform.
Bertie arranges a get-together with Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia. A family group photo is taken. Later Bertie and Nicholas talk. The Czar says that he was confused and misled and said some things he is sorry for now. Russian Foreign Minister Stolypin is also there, as well as Admiral Jack. The Brits offer Nicholas the post of Admiral of the Fleet in the British Navy. Nicholas is very honored and pleased. He says: "I would be delighted." Minnie complains about Alexandra again. But she refuses to leave Russia. If Nicholas needs her, she must the there for him. Bertie urges Nicholas to bring about some of the reforms demanded by the Russian people. The Russian leaders, however, worry that one or two reforms will only bring demands for more reforms. Alexandra says that she is putting her little boy to bed, even though it is not even dark. She says she doesn't want to get him excited. Bertie talks with Nicholas about having lost one of his own sons.
Back at home Alix shows the family pictures of the visit to Russia. She starts smoking, which shocks the family. She defends herself by saying if Bertie can smoke, so can she. Bertie comes in to tell Alix thanks for helping him with the trip to Russia. But now he needs her help again. But this time is will be with Willie. Since Bertie got Russia away from Willie, the Kaiser says that Bertie wants a war, but he expects Willie to start it so he (Willie) will be blamed. In short, Bertie says he has to go to Germany. Alix objects that Bertie is not well. Bertie replies that he has to go. Willie says that Bertie hates him and he has to show Willie that it's not true. They will make a state visit to Berlin.
Willie and Bertie speak together. The King tells the Kaiser that this time he speaks for his government. Willie says yes, the government that has isolated Germany. He virtually demands that Britain make a treaty with him. Bertie objects that the they are rivals. Willie and Alix go to dance, while Bertie sits with Daisy. He starts coughing and coughing. Then he starts choking and he faints. Everyone starts running back to Bertie. Alix loosens his collar. Bertie recovers and says that he couldn't breathe. Willie tells Bertie: "I would rather die myself, than anything happen . . ." He is interrupted by Bertie.
Scene IV. A Desperate Situation.
Bertie and his friends enjoy themselves at the races.
Bertie speaks with Churchill and Asquith. He doesn't like all this talk about class warfare. Bertie thinks that Lloyd-George is too radical. But the Liberals believe that it is the House of Lords that is not cooperative. And their resistance will very probably lead to a constitutional crisis.
Alix asks her son where is his father. George says dad is wearing himself out. This is a critical time. If the House of Lords rejects Lloyd-George's budget, father will have to dissolve Parliament and call for a general election. This could well send the country into chaos. There must be a compromise.
The Liberals lost support in the general election. H. H. Asquith is now the Prime Minister. And he has a radical suggestion. If the House of Lords doesn't cooperate, they will ask the King to create hundreds of Liberal peers to offset the Conservative peers. Lord Esher objects that if the King is used like this in politics, it will harm the institution of the monarchy.
Bertie says that they are using him like an imperial lever. They want him to sacrifice his friends. He describes the situation as the last battle of the old world. We are now, he says, in the time of the common man. Alice Keppel tells Bertie that he needs rest.
The King in Bearritz starts to head up the steps to the Hotel du Palais. He suddenly falls to the ground.
Alix receives a letter. In Paris, Bertie caught a chill. He collapsed. He suffers from bronchial attacks and the doctors are afraid of pneumonia. Bertie won't leave his hotel. He doesn't want anyone to know of his condition. Alix says that Mrs. Keppel is with him: "But how I wish it was me."
Alice Keppel, the Portuguese ambassador and Bertie walk along the shore. They sit down. Bertie says that he must return to London. His friends object that he is not well enough to travel. Bertie says he has to go. Asquith is introducing a bill to limit the powers of the House of Lords. If it isn't passed, the government will have to resign and the King must be there.
Scene V. Not Needed.
Alix says that at least Bertie is getting better. George tells her that dad was very ill and Toria says that he is coming home now. Alix says she is going to Greece to see her brother. She adds: "I am clearly not needed."
Back at Marlboro House, Bertie says that the Queen is abroad and the situation in the country is a tense one. The veto bill has been carried in the House of Commons, but the House of Lords realizes it is fighting for its very existence. Bertie (having a feeling of seeing things for the last time) suddenly says: "We're going back to London." Call Miss Keyser and ask if he can dine with her tonight.
At dinner with Agnes Keyser Bertie tells her that he has no appetite these days. He doesn't sleep much. The Lords have passed the people's budget, but there is no hope they will pass the veto bill. And so the government will ask him to appoint 500 Liberal peers, enough to swamp the upper house of Parliament. He says that he wonders at times what has he achieved. He has the strangest feeling that he is seeing everything for the last time. That's why he wanted to see Agnes. But now he is very sick again. He was stupid and got caught in the rain this morning.
Alix arrives home and wonders why Bertie didn't meet her at the train station. He usually does. George tells her that father can hardly breathe. He has perhaps only a few days left to live.
Alix comes in to see her husband who sits in a chair. He tells her that no one's to blame and begs her not to get upset. Alix says she came home to be with him and she is staying with him. Bertie says: "I was waiting for you." Music to Alix's ears, he says: "I'm glad you're here, Alix. I missed you." After she leaves to change her clothes, Bertie has a heart attack and falls down.
Scene VI. "I am very glad."
Alice Keppel arrives. Alix called her because she knew Bertie would want to see her. He is just conscious, but he does not have long. She opens the door to let Alice into the room where Bertie sits in a chair. He says something to her but it is unintelligible.
Admiral Jack, the Portuguese ambassador, Cassell, Esher and others wait in an outer room.
Bertie is on his death bed. Alix and George, as well as other family members are in the room. George tells his father that his horse has won the derby. The King says: "I am very glad." He dies. Toria cries. George leaves the room. He tells Ponsonby: "He was my best friend." Ponsonby kneels before George and says: "Your Majesty." He kisses George's hand.
Churchill says it is the end of an era. H. H. Asquith says that he was booed in the streets. They said that it was he who killed the King. The people are stunned. He then says: "No man in our time was more justly beloved. And no ruler in any time was more sincerely true, more unswervingly loyal or uniformly kind to his advisers and servants. He earned well the title by which he will always be remembered: the peacemaker of the world."
Alix and Minnie are the last to leave Bertie's body.
George and his mother visit Bertie's closed casket.
A truly enjoyable mini-series. My wife loved it and asked for more mini-series like this one. We really felt that we got to know the family of Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert and then the family of King Edward VII. It was fascinating to see how tied they were to so many of the royal families of other nations. Bertie himself was the uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He was also more distantly related to the King of Norway and the King of Greece (two brothers of his wife Princess Alix of Denmark.) Political problems were interwoven with familial problems in a very interesting way. We felt we really got some good insight into the world of the royals. And who knew that Queen Victoria had such a terrible temper and that she and her husband were both unreasonably cruel to their son Bertie who later became King Edward VII? Kaiser Wilhelm was much too paranoid and presented both political and familial problems for the British royals. There was a great deal of political detail in the movie and we got to meet political characters that we rarely if ever see on screen.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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