Despite fierce opposition from his mother, Queen Victoria, Edward VII was always passionately in love with France.
He had affairs with the most famous Parisian actresses, courtesans and can-can dancers. He spoke French more elegantly than English. He was the first ever guest to climb the Eiffel Tower with Gustave Eiffel, in defiance of an official English ban on his visit. He turned his French seduction skills into the diplomatic prowess that sealed the Entente Cordiale.
A quintessentially English king? Pas du tout! Stephen Clarke argues that as 'Dirty Bertie', Edward learned all the essentials in life from the French.
Two centuries after the Battle of Waterloo, the French are still in denial.
If Napoleon lost on 18 June 1815 (and that's a big 'if'), then whoever rules the universe got it wrong. As soon as the cannons stopped firing, French historians began re-writing history. The Duke of Wellington was beaten, they say, and then the Prussians jumped into the boxing ring, breaking all the rules of battle. In essence, the French cannot bear the idea that Napoleon, their greatest-ever national hero, was in any way a loser. Especially not against the traditional enemy – les Anglais.
Stephen Clarke has studied the French version of Waterloo, as told by battle veterans, novelists, historians – right up to today's politicians, and he has uncovered a story of pain, patriotism and sheer perversion ...