"On July 7th, the best of days to welcome Britain's King!"
It was not the first time Edward VII had been to the city. While still Prince of Wales, he had visited and - obviously unbeknown to the cheering crowds - had unpleasantly described the place as ‘very dirty, and the inhabitants low people'.
Other members of his family were far more impressed. Queen Victoria, Alice and Lenchen were delighted by the welcome they received here when, in 1856, the Queen came to open the Town Hall. This was Alice's first official public appearance and she was filled with admiration for the efforts to which the people had gone to show their loyalty to the Queen and her family - even decorating arches with flowers in which were written all the royal children's names. Alice connection to Leeds did not end there, for her first evening with her future husband was spent listening to a concert performed by the Yorkshire Choir and conducted by the chief organist from Leeds Parish Church.
Prince Albert was fascinated by the machinery of the mills and made an impression on one mill owner when 'while visiting a factory...in 1858, he was being shown a new wool-combing machine when he observed that a particular wheel was missing from the exhibit.'*
It is a pity that Edward VII was so unappreciative of the city...perhaps he changed his mind after the visit in 1908...or perhaps he continued to have such a low opinion of northerners....
*Dear Papa, Beloved Mama - by Christina Croft