By John Van der Kiste
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Additional resources for Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: The Tragic Love Story of Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor
While his tutors found him kind and obedient, they thought he was not particularly intelligent. Augusta was disappointed if not surprised to find her son apparently growing up as a typical Prussian prince, with no early evidence of interest in her progressive political views, but instead a typical Hohenzollern sense of devotion to the army and Prussian monarchy inherited from the father whom he admired but feared. 14 In the spring of 1848 Germany, like much of Europe, was shaken by unrest; street fighting broke out in Berlin, and the temporarily unnerved King promised immediate reforms in consultation with the Landtag (Prussian Parliament).
Vicky was equally flattered and embarrassed when the Emperor walked up to her after the meal, bowed, and asked her for a dance. Blushing deeply, she allowed him to escort her through the Salle des Glaces. It was a rite of passage which she would always remember with pleasure if a touch of embarrassment as well. She was spared a meeting with the Prussian ambassador to Paris, Otto von Bismarck, who was presented to her parents. Queen Victoria greeted him with civility if coldness, while Prince Albert, Bismarck later recalled, gave him the impression of ‘a certain illdisposed curiosity’ when they spoke together.
The festivities spread far beyond the centre of the capital as the whole nation went en fête for ‘England’s Daughter’ and her husband, with gifts and public dinners for the needy in cities up and down the country. Having made their responses ‘very plainly’, in Queen Victoria’s words, at the altar in the chapel of St James’s, Vicky and Fritz walked hand in hand to the vestry to join the rest of the family for the signing of the marriage register, full of confidence and beaming at the assembled guests.
Dearest Vicky, Darling Fritz: The Tragic Love Story of Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter and the German Emperor by John Van der Kiste