Posts Tagged ‘Princess Victoria’

Why Otto von Bismarck Is Not Confused with Dr. Spock

Posted in On This Day on November 21st, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

The fecundity of Queen Victoria and the diligence of Prince Albert produced nine children. In fact, their first child was born 40 weeks after the wedding. Princess Victoria debuted this day in 1840. Of course, she went into the family business and was married off by the time she was 18 to Frederick the Crown Prince of Prussia. Although named for her mother, Princess Victoria was the transgender replica of her father. She possessed an intelligent mind, a sterling character, industrious nature and progressive political sentiments. Otto von Bismarck immediately regarded her as an enemy and kept her and the like-minded Frederick isolated and powerless.

The ruthless chancellor even determined the upbringing and education of their children, becoming the seminal influence on the young Hohenzollerns. The future Wilhelm II was imbued with Bismarck’s mannerisms, militarism and politics; he just never acquired the Old Chancellor’s genius. However frustrated, Victoria and Frederick awaited their inevitable succession to the throne, when they could undo the worst of Bismarck’s polices. And wait they did. The reigning Kaiser Wilhelm I proved adamantly long-lived (1797-1888). When Frederick finally succeeded, he was dying of cancer. His reign lasted 88 days. Bismarck’s reign continued, in person until 1890, and in influence until 1918. Victoria, the Dowager Empress of Germany, really didn’t like her son and spent much of her later years staying with her far more congenial family in Britain. She and her mother, two elderly widows, kept each other company. Both Victorias died in 1901, the daughter six months after the mother. With more love of pomp than filial affection, Wilhelm gave his mother a state funeral and interred her in the dynastic tombs at Potsdam.

The influence of Wilhelm’s English heritage can be succinctly summarized: he spoke the language and he wanted a navy.