Nine Kings in one photo, 1910

In May 1910, European royals gathered in London for the funeral of King Edward VII. Among those mourning were the nine reigning kings who were photographed together, which may be the only photograph of the nine kings ever taken. Of the nine sovereigns depicted, four would be deposed and one would be assassinated.

Within five years, Britain and Belgium would be at war with Germany and Bulgaria. Of the nine monarchies shown in the photo, only five still exist today.

Oddly enough, the four sovereigns whose monarchies would not last until the twentieth century (Bulgaria, Portugal, Germany and Greece) all stood together. Today it would not be possible to photograph nine reigning European kings, as only seven kingdoms remain, two of which are currently headed by queens.

Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Helens and King Albert I of Belgium.
Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

There are many family relationships in that picture. For example, Frederick VIII of Denmark (bottom right) was the father of Haakon VII of Norway (top left), while Wilhelm II of Germany (top, third from right) was the first cousin of both George V of the United Kingdom (bottom center). ), and Queen Maud of Norway who was the wife of Haakon VII of Norway and the sister of George V of the United Kingdom - who made Haakon VII of Norway and brother-in-law George V of the United Kingdom.

Queen Maud of George V of the United Kingdom and mother of Norway coincidentally Alexandra of Denmark was the sister of Frederick VIII of Denmark. This meant that Frederick VIII of Denmark was also the uncle of George V of the United Kingdom.

George was the grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

King Edward VII's funeral was the last time all great European monarchs would meet before World War I, the same war that would end most of Europe's monarchical lines for good. Imagine, they all knew that a war was coming, all knew that it was going to happen between them.

Looking at this picture really shows how much of the First World War was the result of the national ego that was embodied by the emperors. And how full of rubbish they were with no sense of respect or duty to their states.

Life of nine kings

Haakon VII was born in 1872 and was crowned king in 1905. He ruled for seventy-five years until his death in 1957. He was popular among the people and he reduced the 'pomp and celebrations' to a great extent.

When Germany invaded Norway in 1940, he refused to step down and took himself to England, where he worked as a resistance force. He returned victorious in 1945 and was succeeded by his son Olav V.

Ferdinand I was born in 1861, and was first prince and then king of modern Bulgaria. He ruled from 1887 to 1918. He declared Bulgaria independent from the Ottoman Empire (1908) and assumed the title of Tsar.

Two years after taking the picture he joined the Balkan League against Turkey, but became an ally of the Central Powers when they invaded Serbia in 1915. After defeat in 1918, he abdicated, succeeded by his son Boris III.

Manoel II was born in 1889 and was King of Portugal in 1908/10, thus almost escaping the picture, which shows his peak youth (he was twenty-one years old). His father, Carlos, was assassinated along with Crown Prince Louis, and Manoel became king in February 1908.

After the October 1910 revolution, he abdicated and settled in England as a very wealthy country gentleman. He died at a relatively young age in 1932.

Wilhelm II was born in 1859 and was German Emperor and King of Prussia from 1888 - 1918. He was the eldest son of Frederick III and Victoria (daughter of Queen Victoria of Britain, which made her the great Queen of India and grandson of the Empress).

He put Germany on the path of conflict by pledging full support to the Austria-Hungarian Empire after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo.

He was no more than a man during the Great War and when it ended in 1918 US President Wilson refused to negotiate while he remained on the German throne. He went to the Low Countries where he lived until 1941, ironically still living in the country occupied by Hitler's Germany.

George I was born in 1845, the second son of Christian IX of Denmark. He was a Danish naval officer, elected by the Greek National Assembly on the statement of King Othon of Greece and elected King of the Helens.

In 1867 he married Grand Duchess Olga - the niece of Tsar Alexander of Russia. He was assassinated in Salonika in 1913 for his involvement in the infamous Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 and was succeeded by his son Constantine I.

Albert I was born in 1875 and was King of Belgium from 1909 - 1934. He succeeded his uncle Leopold II. When the Great War broke out, Albert refused the German insistence on an unhindered route through Belgium, and led his forces in an undeniably heroic resistance, eventually withdrawing to Flanders.

It was Albert who commanded the combined Belgian and French forces in the final offensive off the Belgian coast in 1918, and he re-entered Brussels on 22 November. He was killed in a mountaineering accident in the Ardennes in 1934, and was succeeded by his son Leopold III.

Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from his birth in 1886. He was a member of the Spanish Bourbons - Los Bourbons. He was the posthumous son of Alfonso XII, and his mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was his regent until 1902 when he was sixteen years old.

In 1923 he allowed Primo de Rivera to destroy the parliamentary system and establish a dictatorship, and the dictator's fall from public popularity discredited Alfonso.

In 1931, after a spectacular Republican advantage in local elections, he decided to leave Spain (and his wife and family), never to return. He died in Rome in 1941.

George V was the grandson of Queen Victoria, son of Edward VII. Born in 1865, he had recently become king when the picture was taken. The Union of South Africa (1910) was formed during his reign.

He served as an officer in the British Navy and became Prince of Wales in 1901; He married Mary of Teck in 1893. There were five sons and one daughter in his family.

After George V died in 1936, there was much mourning across Europe (except possibly Germany and Austria). His wife, Queen Mary, carried on her philanthropic works and queen duties until her death in 1953 at the age of seventy-six.

Frederick VIII was born in 1843 and lived until 1912, just two years after this picture was made at Buckingham Palace. He was the brother of Queen Alexandra of Britain, who married the then future Edward VII.

He married Louise of Sweden and was celebrated for their simple, well-organized and informal home life. Their second son, Karl, became Haakon VII of Norway, seen here for the first time in the back row to the left. He was succeeded in Denmark by his eldest son, Christian X.

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