The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria

The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria

The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria

The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria

Excerpt

With the exception of Marie-Antoinette and the last Tsarina, the Empress Frederick is the most sorrowful figure among the women who have occupied a modern throne. The pathos lies in the descent from the radiant dawn to the stormy middle years and the crescendo of catastrophe at the close. The gifted princess, who started life in a harmonious family circle, married one of the finest men of his time, and looked forward to reigning over the greatest of Continental Powers, witnessed the shattering of all her dreams and schemes by a series of blows till her happiness lay in ruins, and the heart-broken widow, ignored and almost forgotten, waited for a slow and agonising death to end her sufferings. With its suggestion of pitiless fate it is like a Greek tragedy in modern dress.

Amid the throng of minor performers in the drama, six actors dominate the stage -- the Prince Consort, Queen Victoria, Fritz, Bismarck, William II and Vicky herself. The heroine was not merely the eldest daughter but the most fervent disciple of Prince Albert, whose liberal ideology coloured her thoughts till the day of her death. Less of a teacher and more of a comrade and a comforter, Queen Victoria shared to the full the joys and sorrows of her eldest child, standing out in bold relief in the unceasing flow of correspondence which enables us to visualise these exceptional women. Fritz, the Bayard of modern Germany, the perfect knight sans peur et sans reproche, deserves the affectionate admiration lavished on . . .

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