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Topical Budget 79-2: Wedding of Lady Edwina Roberts (1913)


Main image of Topical Budget 79-2: Wedding of Lady Edwina Roberts (1913)
35mm, black and white, 308 feet
Production CompanyTopical Film Co.

Lady Edwina Roberts, the younger daughter of Earl Roberts, marries Major Henry Lewin at All Saints' Church, Ascot.

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Lady Edwina Roberts (1875-1955) was the second daughter of Field Marshal Frederick Roberts (1832-1914), who became Earl Roberts of Kandahar and Pretoria in 1901 following an exceptionally distinguished military career that included posts as British Army Commander-in-Chief in India, Ireland, South Africa and Britain.

In India, he met the writer Rudyard Kipling, who was sufficiently impressed by his ability to relate to ordinary soldiers that he coined the term 'Bobs' in an 1898 poem of the same name, which describes in lower-class vernacular an idealised vision of a British Army commander ("This ain't no bloomin' ode/But you've 'elped the soldier's load/An' for benefits bestowed/Bless yer, Bobs!"). He also wrote the poem 'Roberts, 1914' to commemorate the Earl's death.

Because Roberts' sons had died before him, the Earldom was allowed to pass down the female line, and Edwina became the 3rd Countess Roberts after the death of her older sister in 1944. Tragically, like her father before her, she would live to see the death of her own son Frederick, who was killed in action in 1940.

Her husband, Henry ('Harry') Lewin (1872-1946), was a major at the time of his wedding, though by 1917 he would attain the rank of brigadier-general and the Legion d'Honneur. After marrying into the Roberts family, he began a close friendship with Kipling, with whom he enjoyed an extensive correspondence about military and literary matter that lasted until the writer's death in 1936. These letters were subsequently donated to the Sussex University Library.

Michael Brooke

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A Very Topical Year: 1913