A Lonely Child
Prince Edward was born in 1894. His father, King George V, was a tall, cold man who did not like children. 'Why does Edward talk all the time?' he once said. 'He's a very noisy child!'
His mother, Queen Mary, agreed. 'It doesn't matter if Edward is happy or unhappy,' she said. 'A child must be silent and strong.'
The family lived in Buckingham Palace, which had 600 rooms. There were 8 kitchens, 19 bathrooms, 24 toilets, 11 dining rooms, 17 bedrooms and 21 sitting rooms.
Edward once told a story about the house:
Buckingham Palace was very big, and people sometimes got lost. One night my mother, my father and I were sitting in the dining room. We were waiting for our dinner. We waited and we waited, but the food did not come. After twenty minutes, my father was very angry. He stood up and went to the kitchen. 'Where is the cook?' he shouted, 'and where is my food?'
'But, Sir,' the cook replied, 'your dinner left the kitchen fifteen minutes ago. Hasn't it arrived yet?'
'No, it hasn't,' my father shouted, 'and I'm hungry.'
The King left the kitchen and began to look for the food. Ten minutes later he saw a woman who was carrying three plates of meat and potatoes. 'What happened to you?' my father said. 'Why didn't you bring us our dinner?'
'I'm sorry, Sir,' the woman replied. 'There are a lot of dining rooms. I couldn't remember where to go. But if you return to the table, Sir, this time I can follow you to the right room.'
Edward did not go to school with other children. He stayed in Buckingham Palace where he had a special classroom just for him.
This is how Edward described his lessons:
My teacher, Mr Hansell, was a thin man. He never smiled and his nose was very red. We had lots of books but they were all very boring. They were full of words and they didn't have any pictures.
Sometimes I stopped reading and looked out of the window. Mr Hansell got very angry. He took a stick and hit me on the arm. 'Don't look out of the window, little boy,' he shouted. 'Look at the book.' He hit me many times and my arm was red.