The Royal Farewell: King Edward VII's Funeral in 1910

The death of King Edward VII on May 6, 1910, marked the end of an era in British history. His funeral, which took place on May 20, 1910, was a grand event befitting the passing of a monarch, demonstrating the pageantry, tradition, and international significance of the British monarchy.

King Edward VII, often known as the "Peacemaker" for his foreign policy efforts, had reigned over a period of significant social change and increasing international tension. His death was keenly felt not only in Britain but across the globe.

His body lay in state at Westminster Hall, where tens of thousands of mourners paid their respects. The funeral procession from Westminster Hall to Paddington Station, and thence by train to Windsor for burial, was an impressive spectacle. The procession included members of the royal family, the prime minister, and other high-ranking officials, alongside military detachments from the Army and Navy.

The funeral was also notable for the unprecedented gathering of international dignitaries. Nine European kings, alongside special envoys from around the world, attended the funeral to pay their respects. It was one of the largest gatherings of European royalty ever to take place, a reflection of both the late king's popularity and his diplomacy skills.

The funeral procession made its way slowly through the streets of London, lined with mournful spectators. The King's horse, "Sorcerer," followed the gun carriage bearing the coffin, its master's boots reversed in the stirrups, a tradition in military funerals. The procession was accompanied by the tolling of bells and the playing of funeral marches.

King Edward VII was interred at St George's Chapel, Windsor, next to his father, Prince Albert. His death ended a period of relative peace and stability in Europe, the so-called "Edwardian Era," and heralded the beginning of a new reign under his son, George V, which would soon see the world plunged into the turmoil of World War I.

In retrospect, King Edward VII's funeral was a historic occasion, reflecting not only the protocols and traditions of a royal funeral but also providing a snapshot of the geopolitical landscape of the time. As such, it remains a significant event in the history of the British monarchy.
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