Friday, September 17, 2010

Pets of the Belle Époque: King Edward VII’s Dog, Caesar

Caesar, The Royal Collection
King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, was a great lover of dogs. He kept many dogs as companions and for sport, however, his favorite was a Wire Fox Terrier named Caesar. Caesar was King Edward’s constant companion. When the king traveled both in England, and abroad, he always brought Caesar with him. Caesar, being a terrier, had a mind of his own and was known to get into mischief from time-to-time. That only made the King love him more.

Caesar and Edward VII
The Royal Collection
Caesar wore a jaunty little collar with a gold tag which read. “I am Caesar. I belong to the King.” The tag served useful when Caesar invariably ran off in search of adventure—something he did quite often. Once, in fact, the entire Marienbad Police Force was dispatched to find Caesar after he had darted into the woods. While Caesar was perfect in the King’s eyes, when he would visit friends, his hosts often found the dog to be rather “stinky.”

Such a beloved pet, Caesar was immortalized in a jeweled sculpture created by Carl Fabergé which was given as gift from the King to his wife Queen Alexandra. Made of enameled chalcedony, the figure featured a gold collar and ruby eyes.

In 1910, upon the death of the King, Caesar was reportedly broken hearted. The terrier walked in the King’s funeral procession—behind the carriage holding the casket. The sculpture atop the tomb of Edward VII depicts Caesar curled up at the King’s feet.

Caesar in the King's Funeral Procession
The Royal Collection
The British people felt a deep sympathy for Caesar and his bereavement. His image graced many postcards and a book was written “by Caesar” following the King’s death entitled, “Where’s Master?” The frontispiece of the book reads as follows:

We’ve come to the end of the journey.
They say I can’t follow Master any further.
They say there are no little dogs where master has gone.
...But, I know better.

Caesar's Book
Jackson's World
Upon the King’s death, Caesar stayed close to Queen Alexandra. When he passed away, she described him as her greatest comfort during a time of great loneliness. Caesar was a noble and royal companion who just happened to have a royal master.

Figure of Caesar by Fabergé
Jackson's World

Where's Master?


Dashwood said...

What a very touching story. It must be a comfort to Royalty to have the unequivocal love of a pet which would ask no more of a king than a commoner.

Joseph said...

How true, Dashwood.