A row on the train and an attempt to starve the Austrian Archduke. The son of the ruler of Montenegro in the company of his mistress. And on top of that, the German emperor is giving way to ... a dog. The most sumptuous funeral of the 20th century quickly turned into a series of embarrassment.
The funeral of King Edward VII of Great Britain attracted representatives of almost all monarchies in the world to London. On May 20, 1910, nine other rulers, five heirs to the throne and about forty additional representatives of the imperial, royal and princely families bade farewell to this heir to Queen Victoria. For the first time, so many crowned heads and their relatives gathered in one place. The residents of London, who were close enough to the procession, could see, among others, the Emperor of Germany, the King of Portugal, the Prince of Siam or the heir to the Ottoman throne.
Farewell monarch Edward VII while still alive (source:public domain).
This funeral was supposed to be a real symbol. A loud party at the end of the era, showing that monarchies are holding up perfectly despite successive revolutions and attacks. One of the observers summed it up neatly, claiming that he had witnessed:"a meeting of relatives, combined with a survey of the number of the royal profession."
We will not, however, analyze the splendor of the old dynasties here. Rather, we will focus on the most embarrassing aspects of the whole bloated celebration. Here are the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand I, the Montenegrin heir to the throne Daniło and the German Emperor William II in action.
The monarchs of the early twentieth century were very sensitive to prestige and priority. Such a significant event as the funeral of the head of the British Empire could not be complete without disputes over a place in the queue . For example, the king of Spain was indignant that he had to follow Emperor William, who, after all, ascended the throne two years after the protesters. Why, it's unacceptable! However, the most colorful dispute over priority took place much earlier - and in a setting that Agatha Christie would not be ashamed of.
All crowned heads attending the ceremony are included. From left to right:the King of Norway, the Tsar of Bulgaria, the King of Portugal, the Emperor of Germany, the King of the Greeks and the King of the Belgians. Seated from left to right:the King of Spain, the King of Great Britain and the King of Denmark (source:public domain).
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, and Ferdinand I, Tsar of Bulgaria, were to come from the Balkans for the funeral. It so happened that both men planned to cover the initial part of the route with the same Orient Express train. Here, however, there was a conflict of interest - both the Austrian and the Bulgarian were convinced that for prestige reasons his wagon should be attached at the very front.
The gentlemen literally went out of their way as long as their living room was attached right behind the locomotive. Eventually, Franciszek Ferdynand won. Bleeding out four years later after the famous assassination at least he might have thought with relief that he was the number one person on the popular train…
It must be emphasized, however, that it was a Pyrrhic victory. The Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand took severe revenge for the insult by forbidding the Austrian from entering his own wagon. Nobody would care about it, if not for the fact that ran through the Bulgarian lounge… the only way to the dining car.
Orient Express - a dream setting for a conflict (source:public domain).
The poor archduke, as soon as he was hungry, had to run across the platform for a meal during a stop and then return in the same way. Ferdinand, on the other hand, was able to observe his efforts with satisfaction during this time ...
Sponsorship at a funeral
Prince Daniło, heir to the throne of tiny Montenegro, also came to the funeral from south-eastern Europe. In such situations, monarchs were usually accompanied by spouses or relatives. The Montenegrin prince also took an accompanying person with him - a very attractive young lady. But how embarrassing the hosts was when it turned out that the lady was not his wife at all ...
Daniło, unperturbed by the commotion among the funeral attendants, stated that his spouse was unwell. Therefore, as a substitute, he took one of her maids with him.
Montenegrin lover - prince Daniło (source:public domain).
Affected officials thought about accommodating Montenegrin guests separately, but in crowded London it was difficult to find a free place for people of this rank. All luxury accommodations are booked in advance. In an interview with the prince, fear was carefully expressed that he might be forced to live in the same room with the manor house. At this point, however, no argument broke out. For the young dolphin, the situation was 100 percent ...
A dog more important than the emperor?
The funeral procession, apart from Edward's colleagues, was attended by politicians, aristocrats, friends, entertainment companions, and - and how! - his numerous lovers . All uncrowned guests, however, had to follow the carriages in which the most eminent of the guests sat in threes. An exception was made for only one and only character - a Scottish servant. And it was not a special distinction.
The role of this servant was to lead Caesar, Edward VII's favorite fox terrier, on a leash of honor. Throughout the entire route, the dog bravely trotted almost right behind the coffin, thus leading the funeral procession.
Edward VII's coffin, bid farewell by the crowds (source:public domain).
The true emperor, Edward's German nephew William II, later commented on this incident that he had to give priority to the dog for the first time in his life.
However, we do not know what Caesar himself thought about it. Perhaps he envied Wilhelm that he was in a carriage, and he did not have to tread hurriedly without even taking a single break to take care of his natural needs ...
Epilogue:the fate of the happy bunch
The four heroes of the story were soon not as laughing as they were at Edward's funeral. World War I turned their lives upside down.
The worst of them all was, of course, Franz Ferdinand. In June 1914, it turned out that he had bad luck not only for trains, but also for convertibles ...
Caesar bravely trotting (source:public domain).
Emperor Wilhelm II was swept from the throne by the revolution and the lost war. It was 1918 when he lost everything. And although he has probably never given way to the quadruped, he has certainly lost the reasons for occupying a privileged position among people.
Danilo did not even get the crown - in 1918, while his father was still alive, Montenegro was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (i.e. future Yugoslavia). If he continued romancing, he could no longer use the disguise that she was just a "lady of the court."
Tsar Ferdinand, due to the defeat of the Bulgarian army, also had to abdicate in 1918, although he obtained at least enough that the monarchy survived. The eldest son took the throne after him. The exile from the country turned out to be salutary for Ferdinand - he survived both of his descendants and the overthrow of his grandson by the communists.
This is how the time for merry royal picnics is over. Successive generations of kings, less numerous and not having similar influences, tried to avoid huge scandals. But did they always get it right - that's a topic for future articles.