A biography of 'Vicky', Princess Royal of England, Queen Victoria's eldest child, and 'Fritz', Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia. The great hope of German liberalism, he ascended the throne in March 1888 when stricken by cancer of the larynx and died three months later.
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With the wedding in 1858 of Vicky, Princess Royal and Fritz, second in line to the throne of Prussia, hopes were high for a peaceful united Germany. However, four years later Bismarck was appointed Minister-President of Prussia and inaugurated an era of 'blood and iron'. The united Germany he brought about in 1871 was a very different proposition.
Vicky and Fritz's family life saw several tragedies. They lost the guidance of her father the Prince Consort at an unexpectedly early age, their eldest son William was born with a deformed left arm (he and his mother almost died in the process), and their two younger sons died in infancy.
When Frederick ascended the throne in March 1888, he was stricken with cancer of the larynx and died three months later. Had he lived longer and the accession of their unstable son William ('Kaiser Bill') been delayed, there would almost certainly have been no Great War. The widowed Empress died in 1901 and was thankfully spared the sight of England and Germany at war with each other.
A few weeks after her husband's death, Vicky had written of her certainty that one day there would be a reaction among the German people. While they would still praise the national virtues such as the readiness to sacrifice, the capacity for work, and the heroic deeds of their army, they would 'revolt against the poisonous spirit which is now spreading so widely - against the confusion of ideals and the ignoble sense, against idol worshipping, against blindness and delusion which seems to prevent any unprejudiced local judgment!' By then, she knew she would be resting in her grave and reunited in the world hereafter with her husband, 'and they will hardly know what we wanted, and how much we loved our fatherland for which we were permitted to do so little.'