King Edward VII – 1907 King’s Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by King Edward VII in the House of Lords on 12 February 1907.

My Lords, and Gentlemen:

I am happy to say that my relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly, and I have no occasion to add to the full statement which was laid before you in December reciting a number of satisfactory Agreements recently concluded.

The earthquake at Kingston adds one more to the series of calamities which Jamaica and my other Colonies in the West Indies have experienced. I regret the deplorable loss of life and destruction of property in an important city, and I have seen with satisfaction that the emergency has been met by the Governor and his officers with courage and devotion, and by the people with self-control.

The occasion has called forth many proofs of practical goodwill from all parts of my Empire; and I recognise with sincere gratitude the sympathy shown by the people of the United States of America, and the assistance promptly offered by their naval authorities.

The first visit of an Amir of Afghanistan to my Indian dominions for more than twenty years, and his active survey of leading features in Indian life, have been to me, and, as I understand, to the Amir himself, a source of much gratification, as tending to promote that right feeling which is even more important than formal compacts.

In India, while firmly guarding the strength and unity of executive power unimpaired, I look forward to a steadfast effort to provide means of widening the base of peace, order, and good government among the vast populations committed to my charge.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons:

Estimates of the National Expenditure for the forthcoming financial year will in due course be laid before you. They have been framed with the object of effecting economies consistent with the efficient maintenance of the public service.

My Lords, and Gentlemen:

Serious questions affecting the working of our Parliamentary system have arisen from unfortunate differences between the two Houses. My Ministers have this important subject under consideration with a view to a solution of the difficulty

A measure of licensing reform will be introduced, with the object of effectively diminishing the evils which result from the sale and use of intoxicating liquors under present conditions.

Proposals will be laid before you for more clearly defining the functions of the military forces of the Crown, both regular and auxiliary, and for the improvement of their organisation.

Bills will be introduced dealing with the Holding and Valuation of land in Scotland.

Your attention will be called to measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs, and for otherwise improving the system of government in its administrative and financial aspects. Proposals will also be submitted for effecting a reform of University education in Ireland, whereby I trust that the difficulties which have so long retarded the development of higher education in that country may be removed.

You will also be invited to consider proposals for the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal, for Regulating the Hours of Labour in Mines, for the Amendment of the Patent Laws, for improving the Law relating to the Valuation of Property in England and Wales, for enabling Women to serve on Local Bodies, for amending the Law affecting Small Holdings in England and Wales, and for the better Housing of the People.

I commend all your arduous labours to the continued blessing of Almighty God.