The Victorian era of British history spanned from 1837 through 1901. It is generally accepted as a period of peace for the empire and is known as Pax Britannica. This era was highlighted by Gothic Revival architecture, and social restraint per the example of Queen Victoria. That all sounds well and good, except that Victoria banned smoking of tobacco on the royal premises. It is presumed that the queen allowed for some exemptions for particular celebrations.
Victoria’s exemptions are curios as it means that she was wisely, though silently, acknowledging the value of celebrating with a cigar. It also acknowledges that she wasn’t ignorant of the fact that her son, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII, was an avid cigar smoker.
The image of King Edward, presented here, is the most important one of the King’s reign in the context of cigar history. It depicts the King at his coronation to the throne in 1901. After the King’s ascension to the throne he uttered one of the finest quotes in smoking history: “Gentlemen, you may smoke!”
The King had spoken and the royal court was once again allowed to light up. King Edward lifted the ban which his mother had instituted. The Edwardian era had arrived!