Princess Beatrice, was kidnapped by night and forced to sign his abdication. Queen Victoria's letters were full of indignation, but now she had the satisfaction of writing to a Foreign Office that supported her belligerent spirit. The

"bad and wicked"
Tsar, so unhappily tied to the Queen's family by marriage, was plotting one more campaign to break through the Balkans and advance on Constantinople. Prince Alexander returned to Sofia, but there was an attempt to upset his train, and a plot to murder him in the cathedral. The unhappy Prince was forced to leave his country and within a few weeks was sitting peacefully in the dining room at Windsor, telling his story. The Queen thought it
"seemed like a dream to see Sandro sitting"
among them,
"after his having gone through such unspeakable dangers and horrors,"
and she found it
"intensely interesting to hear him speak of his terrible experiences,"
although his
"poor face looked so sad while doing so. "
3

In 1887, there came another alarm from the Balkans, when Prince Ferdinand of Coburg was proposed for the crown of Bulgaria. Queen Victoria thought him

"totally unfit delicate, eccentric, and effeminate,"
and wrote of the
"absurd pretension of this foolish young cousin."
But she could not thwart the plan and her gifted, eccentric Coburg cousin was elected Prince of Bulgaria in July, 1887. Twenty-one years afterwards he was proclaimed King. (He became the enemy of Britain in the 1914-1918 war, abdicated in 1918, and in 1948, at the age of eighty‐ seven, was still living in Coburg, within the American Zone of Occupation.)

Lord Salisbury's Government was unable to prevent the dramatic changes in the Balkans, but there was no doubt of Britain's determination to intervene if the Russians went too far. The Prime Minister's speech in the Guildhall, on November 9, 1886, was a challenge to Russia; not a weak acceptance of events such as the Queen had suffered so many times, with Mr. Gladstone. She wrote 4 to Lord Salisbury of the five years of

"mischievous and fatal misrule"
from which she was mercifully delivered, and was certain that he would "succeed."


{131}

1886-1887

QUEEN VICTORIA'S growing confidence in her government brought calmness to the entries in her journal. Princess Beatrice came each

-324-

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