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

By Andrew Sinclair | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
At The Throat

'HOARSENESS, GENTLEMEN, ' THE Crown Prince joked to a deputation from the Reichstag, 'prevents me from singing to you."1 Throughout that winter of 1887, his throat had been irritated, and early in March, his doctor, Wegner, called in a specialist, Professor Gerhardt, who discovered a nodule at the bottom of the left vocal cord. Instead of leaving it alone, the professor decided to remove it. Daily he tortured the Crown Prince, first with a snare, then with a ring-knife, and, finally, with a red-hot electric wire to burn out the growth. The voice, the Crown Princess told her mother on Gerhardt's advice, would return completely.2

It did not. The Crown Prince was often unable to complete a sentence. Another specialist was summoned, Professor Ernest von Bergmann, a surgeon and a liberal supporter of the Crown Prince. The swelling on the vocal cord had not healed. Bergmann thought that it was deeply rooted and should be removed surgically by splitting the larynx from the outside. This appalling diagnosis reached the ears of the Crown Princess. 'I was more dead than alive with horror and distress when I heard this,' she wrote to Queen Victoria. 'The idea of a knife touching his dear throat is terrible to me.' The Crown Prince was very depressed; he now often thought his father would survive him.3

When the news of the proposed surgery came to Bismarck, he was distressed and annoyed. He had not been informed officially of a dangerous operation to the heir to the throne, and he intended to stop it. Through the Emperor, a further consultation was ordered, this time to include another three eminent doctors. After a careful examination of

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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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