Edward VII took the temperate rule book of Victorian England and tossed it aside to make room for his favourite habit, cigars, We salute him for it.
The likelihood of seeing any of the current tranche of Windsors smoking is as low as an early abdication of our Lady Sovereign. This is perhaps more a result of the court of public opinion than an aversion to tobacco but what is for sure is that ‘twas not ever thus. Victoria was not the most amount of fun, and smoking was more or less banned during her reign. For one reason or another, she did not pass this temperance down to her children, most notably her son and heir. Albert, known in his tenure as Prince of Wales as ‘Dirty Bertie’ because of time spent soaking up all Paris had to offer, was a prolific smoker and even left his club having been admonished for lighting up and took 20% of the membership with him to somewhere which encouraged smoking as a communal activity. He ascended the throne in 1901 and soon after the Coronation announced, “Gentlemen, you may smoke.” Declaring the end of the Victorian era’s distaste for tobacco. And he did not hold back.
It is reported that he would smoke twenty cigarettes a day and twelve cigars. Just before his coronation, he had to have an operation for appendicitis, not a safe operation in those days. He could be found convalescing in bed smoking a cigar the following day. Do we need to look further for a Patron Saint of the website? The man who would become known as the Uncle of Europe, and who would also have a brand of cigars named in his honour (it’s no Churchill but still), serves as the patrician figure we cigar lovers are after, and that 20% of members from his club would be a throng we would join with great and unabashed eagerness. Vivat Edwardus!