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

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

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

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

Excerpt

'Why', asked The Times during the Crimean War, 'should we place a daughter of England in a situation in which devotion to her husband must be treason to her country?' The editor had heard that the young Princess Royal was to be engaged to Prince Frederick William of Prussia, the heir to a throne that was linked with England's enemy, Russia. The match was not at all to the liking of the editor of The Times, but he did not ask the true question: would not an English princess's devotion to her own family and her homeland make her seem treasonable to the chief minister of her husband's country?

This was what Bismarck asked himself as he worked to make Prussia powerful enough to become the German Empire. He was endeavouring to create a modern nation state complete with media manipulation and mass armies, secret Intelligence systems and devious diplomacy. Paradoxically, his long-lasting period of power depended upon the whim of an aged King of Prussia, whom he made into an Emperor and his fall, on the decision of a young Kaiser, who himself was to fall together with the Germany that Bismarck had created. Although Bismarck came from the Junker aristocracy and served the Crown, he resented royal and feudal constraints on his policies. Even worse to him was the rival diplomacy carried on through princely marriages and international kinship. These foreign contacts repudiated Prussian patriotism and the new nation.

Above all, he feared the Princess Royal of England once she had married Prince Frederick William of Prussia. She would for many decades be the wife of the heir to the throne and would become the German . . .

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