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Royalty and Australian Society: Records relating to the British Monarchy held in Canberra


2 King Edward VII (1901–10)

Image 7: Portrait of Edward VII submitted for copyright registration in 1908.

Image 7: Portrait of Edward VII submitted for copyright registration in 1908.
NAA: A1714,, 22
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Edward VII was born on 9 November 1841 and as the eldest son of Queen Victoria, succeeded her upon her death. He was almost sixty when he came to the throne. King Edward's coronation was initially delayed by a bout of appendicitis and later postponed until the conclusion of the Boer War in mid 1902.

Edward VII was King until his death on 9 May 1910. He and his wife Alexandra married in 1863. They had six children. Due to his portly appearance, the King's nickname was 'Tum-Tum'.

Examples of records relating to King Edward VII
Recorded by: 1907–1912 Australian Industrial Property Organisation (CA 555)
International copyright registration with exhibit – photo of His Majesty King Edward VII, 1908 – Recorded by: 1907–1912 Australian Industrial Property Organisation (CA 555) A1714, 22
Recorded by: 1870–1907 Registrar of Copyright, Vic (CA 1400)
Australia Felix to King Edward VII, 1894 – Recorded by: 1870–1907 Registrar of Copyright, Vic (CA 1400) A1786, 7896B

This item consists of a 49 stanza poem written in honour of King Edward. The first two and final stanzas are as follows:

Seven in our sacred number
God's own appointed rest
And seven times seven earthly years
A jubilee once blest

O Son of our good Mother
Edward the Seventh thy name
Take up her crown, made glorious
By empire, wealth and fame

So shall this Daughter of Empire
Distant and small though she be,
Ever be true – true and loyal
To thy throne, thyself and thy seed

Series: A6662
Recorded by: 1887–1912 Governor-General (CA 1)
Governor-General's Office – Correspondence – Birthday congratulations to Edward VII, 1903 A6662, 185
Governor-General's Office – Correspondence – Congratulations on the anniversary of the birthday of his Majesty, 1906 A6662, 871
Series: CP697/96
Recorded by: 1857–1933 Chief Magistrate and (from 1913) Administrator of Norfolk Island (CA 6688)
Four Imperial bushmen natives of Norfolk Island, in Commonwealth contingent sent to London for coronation of Edward VII, 1902 CP697/96, Photo 1

The death of Edward VII

Image 8: Mourning the death of Edward VII outside Parliament House Melbourne, 20 May 1910.

Image 8: Mourning the death of Edward VII outside Parliament House Melbourne, 20 May 1910.
NAA: A1861,, 1616
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In its reportage of the death of the King, the Sydney Morning Herald claimed, 'death has clutched at the heart of Empire with a grip of ice'.1

The King's death on 9 May 1910 was caused by a combination of bronchitis and heart failure. The Herald went on to describe his final decline as follows:

In connection with King Edward's illness, trouble was first manifested during his Majesty's visit to Paris (in late April), when he suffered an acute attack of indigestion which compelled him to leave the theatre, where he had been witnessing the production of Rostand's Chanteeler. King Edward passed a bad night afterwards, and a chill which he had caught developed bronchitis...

On Thursday afternoon King Edward was seized with violent coughing which necessitated a public announcement of his illness...(On the day of his death) the royal family gathered at the bedside. The King was sinking rapidly but was free from pain. The Archbishop of Canterbury recited special prayers and conducted a short service at the bedside.2

Examples of records concerning the death of King Edward
Series: A2
Recorded by: 1904–1911 Prime Minister's Office (CA 588)
Memorials to King Edward VII, 1912–1915 A2, 1915/520
Recorded by: 1901 Department of External Affairs, Melbourne (CA 7)
Representation at funeral of late King Edward VII, 1910 A63, A1910/3590
Provision of wreath for the funeral of King Edward VII, 1910 A63, A1910/5932
Series: A2910
Recorded by: 1918–1960 Australian High Commission London (CA 241)
The late King Edward VII. Erection of Memorial in Sydney. Financial arrangements with Sir Thomas Brock, 1913–18 A2910, 427/6/1 part 1
The late King Edward VII. Erection of Memorial in Sydney. Financial arrangements with Sir Thomas Brook A2910, 427/6/1 part 2
The late King Edward VII. Erection of Memorial in Sydney. Financial arrangements with Sir Thomas Brook A2910, 427/6/1 part 3
A statue of King Edward riding a horse was erected in Macquarie Street, Sydney, by the King Edward Memorial Executive Committee of New South Wales. Through public subscriptions and a £1 500 donation from the Municipal Council, the Executive raised £7 500 for the construction of the statue.

In their specifications (included in Part 1 in a letter dated 25 January 1913), the committee stated: 'It being desirable the Sculptor should be a man of British race as well as of high qualifications, it is felt necessary to go to London – the centre of Empire Art.' Sir Thomas Brock was appointed, eventually by the Sydney Executive, in 1915.

Extensive correspondence about the construction and importation of the sculpture is included on parts 2 and 3 of this file. After delays caused by the war, the statue was finally completed and delivered in 1921.

Series: A2911
Recorded by: 1909–1910 Commonwealth Offices, London (CA 976)
Death of Edward VII – Programme of Memorial service held in Commonwealth Parliament House 20 May 1911, 1910–1911 A2911, 2/1911

This file is primarily concerned with the organisation in connection with the funeral of Edward VII, and the ramifications of his death.

It includes a letter from the Colonial Office in London dated 14 May 1910, informing the Government that it will be possible to reserve space in Hyde Park for 60 bona fide Australian visitors to view the funeral procession.

Later correspondence on the file, dated 5 August 1910 includes another letter from the Colonial Office which stated:

His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve that the period of official half mourning (where restrictions imposed on social activities were not as harsh) for his late Majesty may be considered to begin in Australia on 1 October, and after that date all entertainments, except balls, may be given.

This letter indicates the ramifications of the death of a monarch on the general populace. Another example of how widespread grief at the monarch's death was felt is a telegram from a group of pearlers in Broome expressing sympathy to Queen Alexandra.

Series: M3816
Recorded by: 1860–1966 Rt Hon Sir Eric John Harrison KCMG KCVO (CP 648)
Woollahra Presbyterian Church, Memorial Service in Connection with the Lamented Death of His Most Gracious Majesty, Edward VII, 15 May 1910

Contains a copy of the order of service.

1860–1966 Rt Hon Sir Eric John Harrison KCMG KCVO
Daily Telegraph Sydney, 9 May 1910 – Death of King Edward VII, 1910

Extract from the newspaper discussing the death of the King.

M3816, 33

The death of Queen Alexandra

Sydney
Series: M3633
Recorded by: 1918–1940 Sir Joseph Cook (CP 611)
Souvenir programmes, including programme for the funeral service of Queen Alexandra (wife of Edward VII), 1924 M3633, 5

Notes

Chapter notes | All notes

1 The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1910, p.8

2 The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1910, p.9


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