Two months later, the Prince wrote again, "Our Ministry is doing very well and it gains the confidence of the country continuously." But he was not oversoothed by the assurance from France, even when Louis Napoleon followed his peaceful overture by asking for the hand of Queen Victoria's niece, Princess Adelaide of Hohenlohe, a request that was refused. Prince Albert went on polishing his guns. He wrote, "We are continuing our fortifications in the ports, as well as increasing and drilling our militia. This year we shall have 85,000 men. All this guarantees peace." Then he anticipated the tragedies of the coming years. "The most threatening place in Europe is at present Turkey. "1


{51}

1853

QUEEN VICTORIA left more and more of her duties to Prince Albert. In her letters to the King of Prussia, she set down the ideas she borrowed from her husband, but many of the phrases show that she was thinking more as a woman and less as a Queen. When Louis Napoleon abandoned his hope of allying himself with her family and married Eugénie de Montijo, a Spaniard whose grandfather had been American Consul at Malaga, Queen Victoria wrote to the King, "Le grand évènement du jour is the incredible marriage of the Emperor Nap. In France it is being very badly received. The future bride is beautiful, clever, very coquette, passionate and wild. What do they say about it in Germany? "1

There was another reason why she was thinking of life in womanly terms. She added, " ... our already so numerous family is going to have an addition in the early spring. But as always I am going on very well, and I am doing everything as usual. "2

Prince Albert was more engrossed with his warlike preparations than by the prospect of being a father for the eighth time. He conceived the idea of a permanent training camp, then an innovation, and Aldershot, which has prepared soldiers for the wars of almost a century, grew out of his plans.3 In June, troops marched in and "established themselves in a line of tents extending over upwards of two miles." The Prince drove over and slept in one of the tents so that he could take part in the manoeuvres like a real soldier, and returned to London with a severe cold. The Queen also went to see the soldiers and the

-128-

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