A Ruritanian Idea from the 1990s: King Edward of Estonia

Prince Edward in 1994.
Photo (c) Heptagon/Shutterstock.

In July 1994, the Estonian Royalist Party (Eesti Rojalistlik Partei / ERP) sent a letter to Buckingham Palace requesting that Prince Edward, the youngest child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accept their invitation to become King of Estonia. At the time, the party had 8% of the seats in the Estonian Parliament. Estonia had gained independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The man behind this eccentric request was Kalle Kulbok, the head of the Royalist Party. In an interview, Mr Kulbok stated: “A British royal on the throne of Estonia would link us closely with Britain, a democracy we would like to emulate. It above all would be a great protection against future Russian attempts to conquer us again.” The Estonian would-be-kingmaker went on to elucidate the virtues of Prince Edward that would endear the royal to the people of Estonia: “Estonians admire youth, which is free of Soviet corruption. Prince Edward is young and we are a very young nation ruled by a very young government. We like Prince Edward’s artistic interests, which fit very well with Estonia’s. I can also promise that Estonian newspapers are a lot nicer and more respectful than the English media.” As it turns out, Kalle Kulbok had confided his dreams of a Kingdom of Estonia to the well-known historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore. Mr Kulbok entrusted the letter of the Royalist Party to Mr Sebag-Montefiore to be delivered to Buckingham Palace, which the latter kindly (and likely with a large dose of amusement) did.

When reports of this letter emerged, a spokesperson of the Estonian Embassy to the UK offered some clarification to the British people: “Estonians think very kindly of your royal family. But the Estonian Royalist Party is our equivalent of your raving loony party. They do not represent the government in any way.” A Buckingham Palace spokesperson anonymously confided: “It is a charming but unlikely idea.

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