Edward VII was the son of Victoria, who is widely considered one of England's greatest monarchs. She lived a long life, and as a result, Edward ascended to the throne late in life and did not enjoy a long reign. He came to the throne rather unprepared as he had a tendency to ignore matters of state and instead enjoy the decadent lifestyle of a rich British aristocrat.
Here are some of his greatest accomplishments:
- Modernization of the British military, especially the navy and army medical service. This is probably his most well known achievement. Without his reforms the British would have fared much worse in WWI.
- Diplomatic relations with other nations. With the exception of Germany, Edward did much to create strong bonds with the monarchs of other countries. He was related to many of the royal families of Europe and used his good natured personality to help strength the bonds that would eventually lead to the Triple Entente.
- Reintroduced many long abandon ceremonies and refurbished many royal estates which are a big part of British history and culture today.
What were his biggest failures?
- Did not activley pursue women's voting rights or home rule for Ireland. He was a pretty liberal guy, but fell short in these areas which would become major issues for later rulers (the Easter Rising was a major rebellion which Edward could have avoided had he looked into home rule more seriously)
- Failed to support the will of the people during the constitutional crisis of 1909. The house of commons wanted to pass this budget to fund many important reforms, such as welfare and land tax, but the house of lords vetoed it. Edward of course sided with the royal elite instead of putting his weight behind the bill which would have greatly helped Britain's working class.
Why was his death called the end of the Edwardian Summer?
- Edwards reign saw many major changes. Powered flight, modernization of the navy and socialism to name a few. Also, right after his death WWI broke out bringing with it the horrors of modern war. His life was really the last little bit of imperial British life untainted by war.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more answers.