'She must solemnly repeat that unless
her Ministers support her . . . she cannot go on.'
THE REPERCUSSIONS of the Mordaunt divorce case had scarcely died away when in the summer of that year of 1870 war broke out between France and Prussia. At first France was seen in England as the aggressor; but, later, the Queen was once more in trouble for her widely reported sympathy for the Germans which flew in the face of the sympathies of her people who became, as she put it, 'very French'. At a meeting of republicans in October, after Napoleon III's army had been beaten at Sedan, a French border fortress on the Meuse, and France had been declared a republic, the Queen's Court was described, not for the first time, as constituting a mere 'pack of Germans'. Even so, when the defeated French Emperor arrived in England in March 1871 the Queen greeted him warmly:
I went to the door with Louise and embraced the Emperor 'comme de rigueur'. It was a moving moment, when I thought of the last time he came here in '55, in perfect triumph, dearest Albert bringing him from Dover, the whole country mad to receive him, and now! He seemed much depressed and had tears in his eyes, but he controlled himself and said, 'Il y a bien longtemps que je n'ai vu vôtre Majesté.' He led me upstairs and we went into the Audience Room. He is grown very stout and grey and his moustaches are no longer curled or waxed as formerly, but otherwise there was the same pleasing, gentle, and gracious manner. My children came in with us. The Emperor at once spoke of the dreadful and disgraceful state of France. 1
The month before the Emperor's arrival the Queen had consented to open Parliament and she agreed to wear a new crown; but it was said