Friday, January 23, 2009

Prince of Wales to reign as Edward VII

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January 23, 1901

The new King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has chosen to be styled as King Edward VII. His only surviving son -- and heir apparent -- the Duke of York will now be known as the Duke of Cornwall and York. In due course, it is believed, the Duke will be created Prince of Wales.

In London, the king met with the Privy Council, and took the oath of accession. In his first statement to the council, King Edward said that "this is the most painful occasion on which I shall ever be called upon to address you. My first and melancholy duty is to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the Queen; and I know how deeply you and the whole nation and, I think I may say, the whole world sympathize with me in the irreparable loss we all have sustained.

"I need hardly say that my constant endeavor will be always to walk in her footsteps. In undertaking the heavy load which now devolves on me, I am fully determined to be a constitutional sovereign in the strictest sense of the word and, so long as there is breath in my body, to work for the good and amelioration of my people."

The king's statement also included his reason for using the name Edward, although he had been known as Albert Edward as Prince of Wales.

"I have resolved to be known by the name of Edward, which has been borne by six of my ancestors. In doing so I do not undervalue the name of Albert, which I inherited from my ever-to-be-lamented, great and wise father, who by universal consent, is, I think, deservedly known by the name of Albert the Good, and I desire that his name should stand alone.

"In conclusion, I trust to Parliament and the nation to support me in the arduous duties which now devolve on me by inheritance, and to which I am determined to devote my whole strength during the remainder of my life."

The late Queen Victoria now lies in state at Osborne House. Funeral arrangements are expected to be made today.

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