Albert Edward, or Bertie as he was known to friends and relatives, was a well loved member of the Royal Family. Not a brilliant pupil, he was incredibly charming, tactful and socially skilled, earning him the name ‘Peacemaker’ from European dignitaries. During his early adulthood, he made several successful tours to North America and India, boosting the image of the British Empire at home and abroad. That charm was indiscriminate, however, and he earned the reputation of being a playboy, much to the consternation of both Victoria and Albert. In fact, after Albert’s death, it is said Victoria could not look upon her eldest son without a shudder of shame.
While being a disappointment to his parents seemed to plague his every step, he was an intelligent, affable man and he pioneered the art of royal appearances (very similar to what we know today). He was politically savvy, socially conscious, financially responsible and a fashion trendsetter for men – he is credited with the art of the ‘stand-up, turn-down’ shirt collar and the ‘last button undone’ waistcoat. He was a patron of the arts, a gentleman hunter and an avid sportsman, having a stable of fine thoroughbreds for racing and steeplechase. When he took the throne in 1901, he was easily the most popular king in centuries.
Naturally, Bertie is a key figure in COLD STONE & IVY and Ivy finds herself alternately charmed, bullied, praised and threatened by this big bear of a man. Indeed, he is seen as the Peacemaker between demanding Victoria and reluctant Sebastien de Lacey, the Mad Lord of Lasingstoke. He also knows far more about the murders in Whitechapel than he lets on and Ivy must tread carefully to stop the crimes and save the de Lacey brothers, without calling the wrath of the Royal Family down on her own head.
On a personal note, Bertie was a delight to write and his unique speech patterns were completely fabricated. Just looking at his photographs reminded me of actor Peter Ustinov, and while writing his dialogue, I constantly heard Prince John’s “A-Hah! A-Hah!” from Disney’s animated Robin Hood. I must admit, I am quite chuffed with the way he comes across in this book.
Next up on our tour of famous, and infamous characters, we will read about Bertie’s nefarious son, Albert Victor and Bertie’s dear Mummie, old clockwork Vic herself. Stay tuned and I say, buy yourself a copy and get up to speed, wot? In an 8-wheeled Steam Car! Ah Hah! Buy Cold Stone & Ivy