By Christopher Hibbert
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Additional info for Edward VII: The Last Victorian King
In Toronto arches bearing Protestant slogans and colours and portraits of King William III were erected across the route which the Prince was to take to Government House. The Duke of Newcastle obtained an undertaking from the Mayor that all these arches would be removed; but, ﬁnding that one of them had been left standing, he sent for the Mayor to come to him at Government House, upbraided him in the strongest terms and told him that his invitation to the Prince’s levee would be cancelled. The Mayor, thoroughly disgruntled by this treatment and protesting that he had done all he could to get the offending arch taken down, at ﬁrst refused to apologize, but later relented and was invited to attend a subsequent levee with his Corporation.
But most of the Prince’s time was allotted to study. ‘The only use of Oxford is that it is a place for study, a refuge from the world and its claims,’ General Bruce was reminded by the Prince Consort, who, possessed by a terrible anxiety that ‘time was being wasted in pleasure’, was—after restless nights of worry—a frequent visitor to Frewin Hall where he complained that recreations, especially hunting, were encroaching too much upon the Prince’s intellectual pursuits. ‘Bertie’s propensity is indescribable laziness,’ the Prince Consort wrote to his daughter in Germany.
As well as being more interested in clothes than in government, the Prince far preferred ‘good food’ to ‘mental effort’. There had been trouble over this particular propensity already. On his ﬁfteenth birthday he had been given permission to choose his own food ‘in accordance with what the physicians say is good for you’. But the experiment had not been a success. Eighteen months later, strict diet sheets had been prepared for him, authorizing three meals a day—a light breakfast of bread and butter, tea, coffee or cocoa and an egg; a luncheon of meat and vegetables with seltzer water to drink and preferably no pudding; a rather more substantial dinner, but still as light as possible.