Unforgettable 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.
‘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
‘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