Nine Kings in one photo

By RHP | Posted on: November 22, 2013 | Updated on: November 1, 2015
Nine Kings in one photo

Nine Kings in one photo, 1910.

In May 1910, European royalty gathered in London for the funeral of King Edward VII. Among the mourners were nine reigning kings, who were photographed together in what very well may be the only photograph of nine reigning kings ever taken. Of the nine sovereigns pictured, four would be deposed and one assassinated. Within five years, Britain and Belgium would be at war with Germany and Bulgaria. Only five of the nine monarchies represented in the photo still exist today.

Standing  from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, King George I of The Hellenes (Greece) and King Albert I of the Belgians (Belgium). Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King-Emperor George V of the Great Britain and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

There are several family relations in that picture. For instance, Frederik VIII of Denmark (bottom right) was the father of Haakon VII of Norway (top left), while Wilhelm II of Germany (top, 3rd from the right) was first cousin of both George V of the United Kingdom (bottom center), and Queen Maud of Norway who was wife to Haakon VII of Norway and sister to George V of the United Kingdom – which made Haakon VII of Norway and George V of the United Kingdom brother-in-laws. George V of the United Kingdom’s and Queen Maud of Norway’s mother was incidentally Alexandra of Denmark, sister to Frederik VIII of Denmark. This means that Frederik VIII of Denmark was also the uncle of George V of the United Kingdom.

George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. The funeral of King Edward VII was the last time all of the great European monarchs would meet before the First World War, the same war that would end most of the monarchical lines of Europe for good. Imagine, they all knew a war was coming, all knew it was going to be between them. Looking at this picture really makes one realize how much the First World War was the result of national egos embodied by monarchs. And just how full of nonsense they were with any sense of honor or duty to their states.

12 thoughts on “Nine Kings in one photo

  1. Roscoe

    The good part of it is that kings cannot decide the fates of millions of people only because of their disagreements with fellow cousins. The bad part is that money can buy hundreds of thousands of mercenaries to send all across the planet to wage war for stupid reasons and kill innocent people.

    1. Bob

      The ‘King’ sitting in the middle chair looks a lot like the photos we see of Tsar Nicholas. Was he not at the funeral?

  2. Kenneth

    Regarding close family relations: Also, Frederick VIII of Denmark and George I of the Hellenes were brothers.

  3. Electrion

    The Portuguese king is in fact Manuel II, not a common name for a king, but he wasn’t supposed to be one; the first Manuel in the XVI century wasn’t supposed to be king as well… Republicans killed his father the regnant king, and his elder brother, he took the throne at 17 years old; in this picture he was 20; 5 months later monarchy ended in Portugal with him. I’m glad we’re living in a republic now but he was a good man while he was king and after in exile; he lived in the wrong time at the wrong place, monarchy was rotten. Never was an ego character, had a strong sense of honour and duty to his state. Want to know more, search for it.

    1. Dianne Gardner

      Thank you for that, Electrion. It was said he was god father to 300 children during his exile because of his kind and sincere heart. He inspired a story that I’ve written which I hope to become a TV series.

      1. Electrion

        How interesting Dianne! I visited your website and hope all your dreams come true. Of course I’m Portuguese and artist, who else would care about the story of d.Manuel II? However I’m sure Portuguese people knows little about him, nobody cares about these subjects; maybe 10% knows he was the last king and nothing more… Good for you who understood the potential for a story. Best regards

  4. eileen

    saw an original print of this picture today in the butler’s sitting room at Stansted Park-curious that everyone is dressed alike


    They are not dressed alike. Uniforms are different as are the royal and military orders. Some orders would be alike, for example if King George V had bestowed the Order of the Garter on any of the kings.

  6. Purrete

    I’m fascinated by this picture for being unique and also for the family relationships between the posers. They were unbelievably powerful men if considered the wealth, the armies and the amount of people they could influence still……. they didn’t avoid a World War that actually finished their power and influence! Are we better with parliamentyary democracies today? What is the criteria to define what is better for the society? It’s obvious that countries with a puppet monarchy like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Holland and the UK accomplished much more than ex- monarchical societies like Greece, Portugal, Romania or Bulgaria, but why? Even Austria is in a better shape than Hungary !

  7. Peter VE

    “Imagine, they all knew a war was coming, all knew it was going to be between them.” They didn’t even know a war was coming in July, 1914. Read the Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman and the Sleepwalkers, by Christopher Clark before pronouncing on the end of the first globalization. Some were complicit in the start of the war, others not. Our elected leaders are sleepwalking us into the next world war.


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