The Other Victoria: The Princess Royal and the Great Game of Europe

By Andrew Sinclair | Go to book overview
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Foreword

BY WOLFGANG PRINCE OF HESSE

This book is largely based on two collections of correspondence: one consisting of letters written by Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort to my grandmother, the Empress Frederick, which are in the keeping of our family foundation at Kronberg, and the other of the counterpart letters from the Empress Frederick to her parents, which are in the Royal Archives at Windsor.

It is only through informed discussion of the problems raised by Dr Sinclair that justice to the Empress's memory will be done in the long run, and no such discussion is possible without access to these papers. In furtherance of this aim I have not only released them to Dr Sinclair, but also take this opportunity, with the author's kind consent, of joining in the debate, the more so as the interpretation which the book places upon the record of the Empress Frederick's aims and activities is in some respects far from my own.

It is not so much with the details of this book as with its general thesis that I take issue. The marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter to the future King of Prussia is presented as an extraordinary event whose main purpose was to place a political agent and spy at the heart of the Prussian court. However the Princess Royal's situation in Germany can not be seen as the result of some deep-aid conspiracy to subvert the independence of a foreign state.

The life of a sovereign's daughter who married a future foreign sovereign was never easy. Of course there were conflicting loyalties, but the line of duty was clear. Loyalty belonged first to the country of

-xi-

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