fond of amusement and have always been so, but I think in no country more than ours do the Higher Classes occupy themselves, which is certainly not much the case in other countries. We have always been an Aristocratic Country, and I hope we shall always remain so, as they are the mainstay of this country, unless we become so Americanised that they are swept away...."
The Prince continued to enjoy his rich and amusing friends, but he also received men of "the sedatest vocations and character" and the society in both his London and his country house had the advantage of good mixing. While his mother hugged her grief at Windsor, the Prince became so popular that Brinley Richards composed "God Bless the Prince of Wales," a secondary anthem, sung to welcome him wherever he went.
THE Prince Consort, who had understood the tangled fortunes of Schleswig and Holstein so well, made one of his few cynical remarks over the plan to marry Princess Alexandra to his son. He had said,
"We take the Princess, but not her relations. "1
The test of this decision came in 1863-1864, after the death of King Frederick VII of Denmark and the accession of Princess Alexandra's father, King Christian IX. The claims and rights over Schleswig and Holstein were simplified by brute action, in January, 1864, when Bismarck followed an ultimatum to the new King of Denmark by ordering Prussian and Austrian troops to invade the duchies. The action was an echo of the invasion of Silesia by Frederick the Great and in line with the later invasions of Belgium in 1914, and Poland in 1939.
Filial ties, national loyalties, and ambitions were rudely tested in the following months. In June, 1863, the Queen had received a letter from her daughter in Prussia, saying,
"Thank God, I was born in England."Bismarck had been rude to her and to her husband. With the Prussian armies on the march and her beloved husband going to war, the focus of her passions changed. The British Parliament, the press and the people began an immediate outcry against Prussia for attacking a people incapable of considerable resistance. The Crown Princess thought the British newspapers "absurd, unjust, rude and violent." On April 13,