the phrases of politeness. They would have needed the services of a crystal gazer to tell them where the fortunes of their navies would be decided, in the misty dawn at Jutland, twenty-eight years later.
While the Prince of Wales and his son were watching Germany's mighty army marching past, and observing the merits of the new smokeless powder, at the School of Musketry, Prince Bismarck was learning the full wisdom of what he had said many years before, when he moaned over the ingratitude of princes. He might have learned another lesson, during the closing days of the visit of the Prince of Wales. When the Prince was released from official duties, to amuse himself as he pleased, he went immediately to the old Chancellor. He was not bitter against the dropped pilot, nor afraid of the Emperor's opinion. He found Prince Bismarck terrible with anger, heaping abuse upon the character of his Emperor.
"The old Prince was terribly hurt and pained at being forced to resign,"the Prince of Wales wrote 4 to his mother. He returned to England over-confident in the results of his visit, and his statement to Lord Salisbury, that the Emperor showed a
"strong desire ... to be on friendly terms"with Britain, did not impress the Prime Minister. Lord Salisbury wrote to the Queen,
"So long as it lasts, this mood is very valuable, but will it last? "5
THE political power of the monarchy has diminished since Queen Victoria died, although there have been many occasions when the continuity of experience, the ethical example, and the rigid principles of her descendants helped to bridge the gap between retiring and advancing governments. Queen Victoria fought against the dwindling political power of the Crown with vigour that her followers have been unable to employ, not through ineptitude, but because British affairs have reached a state in the twentieth century where monarchy can no longer provide the kind of political leadership required.
Queen Victoria's fight for the prerogatives of the Crown is therefore one of the most important themes of her story, especially when the royal valour of that fight is considered in relation to her simplicity as a woman. The simplicity endured to the end. In 1890, the Queen wrote,1 after driving through London in a closed carriage,
"There were crowds out, we could not understand why, and thought something was going[on], but it turned out it was only to see me."