HRH Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom, The Princess Royal, German Empress & Queen of Prussia.
Born: November 21, 1840. Died: August 5, 1901.
Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal was the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her parents were a little disappointed that their first child was a boy, but many were relived that there was now at least one person in line for the throne ahead of the queen’s uncle, the much disliked King Ernst August of Hanover. Until the birth of her brother, Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, Victoria, called Vicky within the family, was heiress presumptive.
Vicky had a close relationship with her father and his liberal politics greatly influenced her. Her marriage at the age of 17 to the future King Friedrich III of Prussia was a part of her Father’s plan to see a liberal Prussia at the head of the German Empire with his daughter Vicky as empress leading the Germans from Conservatism to a liberal monarchy modeled after that of Great Britain. Although Albert, the Prince Consort, did not live long enough to see Germany become an empire under Prussian leadership he would have been disheartened to learn that it never strayed from its conservative ideals.
Vicky had a difficult time adjusting to Prussia and its rigid court. For her part, Vicky did carry a sense of pride in all things English which bothered many Germans at court. In 1861 she and her husband became the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Prussia. Their desires to raiser their son, Wilhelm, in a liberal fashion brought her into conflict with her father-in-law, King Wilhelm I of Prussia, and Prussian Chancellor Bismark. They feared that liberalism would weaken the power of the monarchy and place power away from the king and chancellor and into the hands of the reichstag and that Vicky would place Britain’s interests over Germany’s.
In 1871 Germany became a federated empire with the Prussian king as emperor. The new emperor was 74 years old and Vicky and Fritz did not think they would have too many years before they in turn sat on the new imperial throne. In 1887 Crown Prince Friedrich was diagnosed with throat cancer. In March of the next year German Emperor Wilhelm I, King of Prussia died and Fritz became Emperor Friedrich III, King of Prussia. His reign was brief lasting only 99 days. With such a short time on the throne he could not impalement any liberal policies he and Vicky had envisioned. Vicky became known as the Empress Frederick in her widowhood and he relationship with her son, the new emperor, Wilhelm II, remained strained.
Vicky and Fritz had eight children (4 boys and 5 girls) with two of her young sons, Sigismund and Waldemar, dying at young ages affecting Vicky deeply. In her widowhood she continued to be a patron of the arts and education and established schools for the higher education of girls and for nurses’ training. She also continued to be close to her British relatives and kept a almost daily correspondence with her mother totaling over 3,500 letters.
Vicky’s mother died in January of 1901 and Vicky was unable to attend the bedside vigil due to the fact the she herself was also dying from bone cancer. Vicky died at the age of 60 and was buried along side her husband and their two young children at Friedenskirche in Potsdam.