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King Edward VII Invitation to a Morning Party in Chiswick for Lord Russell

£95.00

Fine printed invitation to a Morning party hosted by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII (1841-1910), and the Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra (1844-1925), at Chiswick, dated simply as 24th July but circa 1880. The invitation was given to the British diplomat and the first British Ambassador to the German Empire, Odo William Leopold Russell, 1st Baron Ampthill, (1829-1884), styled Lord Odo Russell between 1872 and 1881.

Russell was born in Florence, Tuscany, into the Russell family, one of England's leading Whig aristocratic families. His father was Major-General Lord George Russell, second son of the 6th Duke of Bedford. His mother was Elizabeth Anne Rawdon, daughter of the Honourable John Theophilus Rawdon and niece of the 1st Marquess of Hastings. His uncle was the 1st Earl Russell, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. His education, like that of his two brothers, Francis and Arthur, was carried on entirely at home, under the general direction of his mother.

In March 1849 Russell was appointed by Lord Malmesbury as attaché at Vienna. From 1850 to 1852 he was temporarily employed in the foreign office, whence he passed to Paris. He remained there, however, only about two months, when he was transferred to Vienna. In 1853 he became second paid attaché at Paris, and in August 1854 he was transferred as first paid attaché to Constantinople, where he served under Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. He had charge of the embassy during his chief's two visits to the Crimea in 1855, but left the East to work under Lord Napier at Washington in 1857. In the following year he became secretary of legation at Florence, but was detached from that place to reside in Rome, where he remained for twelve years, until August 1870. During all that period he was the real though unofficial representative of Britain at the Vatican.[2]

Russell's personal success with Otto von Bismarck led to his appointment as ambassador at Berlin in October 1871. He admired the new Germany and liked Germans: during his thirteen years in Berlin he never forfeited the confidence of Bismarck. Just as he had understood his Constantinople chief, Stratford de Redcliffe, and had never been broken by his suspicious rages, so too he achieved a sympathetic understanding of Bismarck. He withstood the Iron Chancellor's rages about real or imaginary plots, dispelled his darkest suspicions of British policy, and penetrated to the core of Bismarckian motives and strategy.

Russell was trusted by Victoria, the Crown Princess and the Hohenzollerns, but his cordiality to Bismarck's enemies was never tainted by the suspicion of intrigue. Nor was the objectivity of his dispatches compromised by his private belief that Kulturkampf must fail, or by his revulsion at Bismarck's persecution of Roman Catholicism. From the outset, he recognised Germany's colonial aspirations, though his appreciation of this complex situation was imperfect. In 1879 he was responsible for the novelty of attaching a commercial expert to the Berlin embassy staff.

After his eldest brother became eventually 9th Duke of Bedford in 1872, Russell was granted the rank of a younger son of a duke, becoming known as Lord Odo Russell. He was sworn of the Privy Council the same year. He was subsequently made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1874, a Knight Grand Gross of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1879, and raised to the peerage as Baron Ampthill, of Ampthill in the County of Bedford, in 1881. He was British delegate at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, along with Disraeli and Salisbury.

Russell was trusted by Victoria, the Crown Princess and the Hohenzollerns, but his cordiality to Bismarck's enemies was never tainted by the suspicion of intrigue. Nor was the objectivity of his dispatches compromised by his private belief that Kulturkampf must fail, or by his revulsion at Bismarck's persecution of Roman Catholicism. From the outset, he recognised Germany's colonial aspirations, though his appreciation of this complex situation was imperfect. In 1879 he was responsible for the novelty of attaching a commercial expert to the Berlin embassy staff.

Lord Ampthill married Lady Emily Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, on 5 May 1868 with whom he had six children.

Edward was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.

The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe. Before his accession to the throne, he served as heir apparent and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. During the long reign of his mother, he was largely excluded from political power, and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite. He travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, and represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother.

As king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries, especially France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor. The Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis that was resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords.

Size: 18.5 x 12 cm approx

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