Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor
John Van der Kiste
Sutton (Stroud, UK), 2002
Queen Victoria's eldest child, also named Victoria (1840-1901), married Prince Frederick William of Prussia (1831-88) in 1858. Though it had been an arranged match, both young people were very much in love, and on a personal level it would be one of the happiest of all royal marriages in 19th-century Europe.
Politically, though, it was a failure. The dreams of the couple and of Vicky's father, Prince Albert, for European peace and a liberal Germany were to be shattered. They were an intelligent couple who had high hopes for the future, but against the 'blood and iron' policy of Chancellor Bismarck, they could do nothing.
As a family, they had their tragedies. Two of their four sons died in infancy, one of meningitis, another of diphtheria. The eldest, William, was born with a severely damaged left arm, and grew up to be the polar opposite of his modern-thinking parents. By the time Fritz ascended the German throne in 1888, he was mortally ill with throat cancer and died three months later. Vicky's remaining thirteen years of widowhood were overshadowed by the unfeeling behaviour of their son, the Emperor who would lead Germany into war in 1914 against her British homeland.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste