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John Van der Kiste

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Publisher:  Alan Sutton ISBN-10:  0904387771 Type: 


Copyright:  Jun 1 1981

A biography of Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia from March to June 1888

Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia from March to June 1888, was the husband of Victoria, Princess Royal of Britain, eldest child of Queen Victoria. Born in 1831, Prince Frederick William took less after his arch-conservative father William (later Emperor William I) and more after his liberal mother Augusta. His views were later encouraged by his father-in-law Albert, Prince Consort, and staunchly supported by his wife, whom he married in 1858.

The appointment of Otto von Bismarck as Prussia's Minister-President in 1862 was a blow to Frederick, widely recognized as the liberals' champion at the court of Berlin. Deliberately excluded from matters of state by the ruling clique, despite his ability as a conscientious and successful military commander during the wars against Denmark, Austria and France between 1864 and 1871, he and Victoria never gave up hope that eventually they would reign over a more democratic and peaceful German Empire. However, by the time he succeeded his 90-year-old father on the throne, he was fatally stricken with cancer of the larynx, and only survived to reign for 99 days. His successor, his eldest son William ('Kaiser Bill') was an unstable, easily-swayed young man, whose headstrong behaviour was a major factor in the deterioration of Anglo-German relations which culminated in the outbreak of the First World War.

The self-effacing Frederick has always been overshadowed by the personality of his more vivacious wife and larger-than-life son. This is the first biography of him published in English since 1901.
'The description of the rapid development of my dear Vicky's character, in consequence of our mutual declaration, is an exremely joyful piece of news for me...I can vividly imagine how the dear child has suddenly moved closer to her parents; and on both sides this development is a very beneficial, amazing one; but it would not be easy for me to say any more, for because I just feel so drawn towards her and discovered so much depth of mind and feeling in her, I really cannot put into words what it was that so specially attracted me.'

Prince Frederick William to Prince Albert after his engagement, October 1855

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