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

By Andrew Sinclair | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
To Win, To Lose

'YOU ARE AMBITIOUS to be a king,' the Crown Princess mocked Bismarck in 1866, 'or at least President of a republic.'

She was half-joking, half-serious. Her so amiable and condescending manner irritated the Prussian minister. She had that touch of ironical superiority which Bismarck remembered from his one meeting with Queen Victoria at Versailles. The English Queen and her daughter seemed reluctant to be unfriendly to a man they clearly found unsympathetic and eccentric.

So Bismarck replied in the same semi-jocular tone. He was more confident now, and even more powerful, for he had achieved his war with Austria, and the Crown Prince had helped him to win it. Yet he still feared the potential influence of the alien Crown Princess who was so intelligent and provocative that she could dare to fence with him.

'I am personally spoilt for a republican,' Bismarck told her. He had need of a monarchy for his well-being on earth. He thanked God he did not have to live like a king, constantly on show. Until his death, he was fated to be the King's faithful subject.

The Crown Princess continued to look mockingly at him as he protested his loyalty. He was forced to change tack. He said that not everyone thought, as he did, that the monarchy would last. There would never be a shortage of royalists, but there might be a shortage of kings. 'To make a stew, a hare is needed. To make a monarchy, a king.' The next generation might be republican, if there were no king who wanted to be king. The heir to the throne made him anxious; he did not seem to respect monarchic traditions.

-103-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Princess Victoria's Family Tree xiv
  • Prince Frederick William's Family Tree xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Minuet Before A Wedding 5
  • Chapter Two - Adieu to England 32
  • Chapter Three - Divided Loyalty 49
  • Chapter Four - Besieged by Bismarck 65
  • Chapter Five - To Us Germans 89
  • Chapter Six - To Win, to Lose 103
  • Chapter Seven - Waiting on Ceremony 127
  • Chapter Eight - Empire 139
  • Chapter Nine - How Long, O Lord, How Long? 161
  • Chapter Ten - Anguish and Omens 179
  • Chapter Eleven - At the Throat 193
  • Chapter Twelve - The Short Reign 208
  • Chapter Thirteen - Old Scores, New Places 223
  • Chapter Fourteen - Retirement and Requiem 238
  • Source Notes 249
  • Select Bibliograpby 265
  • Index 269
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