The King is Dead, Long Live the King! : Majesty, Mourning and Modernity in Edwardian Britain
Author: Williams, Martin Published 13/04/2023 | Hardback
239 x 164 x 31 | 532g
A Country Life ‘Best Book of the Year’ 2023The Times Book of the Week * * * ‘I could read Martin Williams all day. He is a staggeringly communicative historian; this book throws shafts of light on recent history almost repeating itself, giving vivid glimpses into monarchy and the way things were, and are. Compulsory reading.’ — Dame Joanna Lumley’A social historian and gifted storyteller, Williams is by turns moved and amused as he reflects on the poignancy and rituals of a nation united (pretty much) in grief…’ — The Times’adroitly-written…[told by Williams] so skilfully, and with such silken prose, that it’s a pleasure to spend the time inside his head’ — The Oldie’delightful details…to rekindle this vanished epoch’ — Country Life’Vivid, panoramic, skilfully written, this gripping book is an insight into a time and an age’. — Kate Williams’Martin Williams has written a fascinating and absorbing account of the Edwardian era, the demise and funeral of the King, and the iconic Black Ascot that followed it. He has brought a lost age grippingly to light’. — Hugo Vickers’witty, informative and immensely readable… captures the spirit of the times’. — Miranda Seymour’A tour de force’. — Dr Kate Strasdin’We tend to think that Cecil Beaton single-handedly invented the Edwardian Age. Martin Williams shows us succinctly and elegantly that perhaps it was the King himself.’ — Nicky Haslam’… moves with unflagging wit and style. A fresh perspective on a brilliant life and a lost era beautifully evoked, it is impossible not to be swept away by this gem of a book. Pure pleasure.’ — Robin Muir’a must-have… a wonderful and thought-provoking read.’ — The Historian’…a book about a changed and changing world trying to cope with even more change…beautifully written [and] timely’ — The Catholic Herald’…resonates powerfully with our own recent experience of collective mourning…Williams describes the king’s gradual demise in evocative detail.’ — Air MailUnforgettable as it was, the public response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 was not without precedent. When her great-grandfather King Edward VII – glamorous, cosmopolitan and extraordinarily popular – died in May 1910, the political, social and cultural anxieties of a nation in turmoil were temporarily set aside during a summer of intense and ritualised mourning.
In The King is Dead, Long Live the King! Martin Williams charts a period of tension and transition as one era slipped away and another took shape. Witnessed by a diverse but interconnected cast of characters – crowned heads and Cabinet ministers, debutantes and suffragettes, artists and murderers – here is the swansong of Edwardian Britain. Set against a backdrop of bereavement and parliamentary crisis overshadowed by the gathering clouds of war, we see a people caught between past and future, tradition and modernity, as they unite to bid farewell to a much-loved monarch who had personified his age. From Buckingham Palace to Bloomsbury, and from the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall to a now legendary Royal Ascot enveloped in black, this is a vivid evocation of a world on the brink of seismic upheaval.