'I felt as if I were being married over again, only much more nervous.'
'I MUST WRITE DOWN AT ONCE What has happened -- what I feel & how grateful I am to God for one of the happiest days of my life!' the Queen wrote at Balmoral on 29 September 1855, soon after her return from Paris. 1 For days past she had been expecting to hear the news which so much excited her, since on the twentieth of the month Prince Frederick William of Prussia had asked Prince Albert if he might propose to the Princess Royal. The Queen had feared he might not do so, that he would not find her daughter sufficiently attractive: as Lord Clarendon said, she was 'always finding fault with her daughter's looks, and complaining of her being ugly and coarse'. 2
Prince Albert had no hesitation in giving his permission for the proposal to be made. Long harbouring a distrust of France, he had consistently advocated closer ties with what he hoped would one day soon be a liberal Germany, unified under the leadership of Prussia. Besides, Prince Frederick -- Fritz, as he was known in the family -- was a pleasant, wellintentioned young man, 'unaffected and amiable' in the Queen's words and moreover (always a strong recommendation to her) handsome, as well as tall and broad-shouldered. Of course, Vicky could not marry until she was at least seventeen and that would not be for another three years; but there could be no harm in an engagement. Prince Frederick was twenty-four and had, he said, hoped that he would be able one day to marry Vicky ever since he had first seen her when she was no more than ten.