By John Van der Kiste
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Extra info for Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: The Tragic Love Story of Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor
While he kept his distance from political discussions, knowing that in his position it was politic not to take sides, he had a sense of humour and relished a joke as well as anyone. Only those who failed to treat him with respect due to a prince of the blood royal risked incurring his displeasure, for while he had ‘the common touch’, he insisted on the appropriate deference to his rank. When not at Bonn he was happiest visiting his mother and sister at Koblenz, their rural retreat in West Prussia.
Was Vicky a courageous, grossly maligned woman determined to do the best for her adopted Prussia – and later Germany – without regard to the personal consequences for herself; or was she the tactless, domineering Englishwoman, a pampered Princess who remained a slavish disciple of her long-dead father, refusing to accept that there was any other way than the English one? Was Fritz an enlightened Prince who realized that the political mood in Germany was changing, and that the royal house had to change with it; or was he a dreamy, weak-willed depressive who allowed his wife to dominate him?
After her departure the Queen wrote to King Leopold that she found her ‘so clever, so amiable, so well informed, and so good . . ’25 Impressed with her liberal ideas and belief in constitutional government, as well as her criticisms of backward, autocratic Russia and weak France, Albert began to convince himself that this was the person through whom he could bring some influence to bear by furthering the unification of Germany under Prussia. In the spring of 1851 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert invited Wilhelm, Augusta and their two children to England for the opening of the Great Exhibition in London in May so they could meet Fritz, and introduce him to Vicky.
Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: The Tragic Love Story of Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor by John Van der Kiste