This week, we go far back and quite deep for our 10 questions and answers. This week, after careful deliberation on Twitter, we have decided to go for Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Princess Victoria, Princess Royal, German Empress, Queen of Prussia for this exciting and slightly different instalment of 10 questions & answers! Enjoy.
Question 1: Who was Princess Victoria?
Princess Victoria was eldest child and daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. ‘Vicky’ as she was known to family was born on 21 November 1840 at Buckingham Palace. Princess Vicky was an HRH from birth and as only child of Queen Victoria, was heiress presumptive (as first in line to the throne) to the throne. At the birth of her brother, Prince Albert Edward (later Edward VII), under the rules of Male Preference Primogeniture, she was passed by her brother even though he was younger.
Question 2: What was Vicky’s childhood like?
Princess Vicky was a colourful and intelligent person, unlike her brother Prince Albert Edward who was not famed for his intelligence, nor colourfulness in the right sense. Vicky was able to read and write by the age of five, as taught by her governess and was also able to speak French from an early age due to having a French nursery maid. Vicky learned French and German from various governesses, and science, literature, Latin, and history from Sara Ann Hildyard. Prince Albert tutored her in politics and philosophy.
Question 3: Whom did Vicky marry?
Princess Vicky married Prince Fredrick William of Prussia who was 2nd in line to the throne of the Kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian Court and Buckingham Palace publicly announced the engagement on 19 May 1857. Seventeen-year-old Princess Victoria married Frederick, at Queen Victoria’s insistence, at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, on 25 January 1858.
Question 4: What happened after Vicky married Fredrick William?
When she married Fredrick William, she assumed the title of ‘HRH Princess Fredrick William of Prussia’ as is the custom for females to assume their husband’s title. Upon the death of Fredrick William’s uncle in 1861, Princess Vicky became Crown Princess of Prussia and Fredrick William the Crown Prince as Fredrick William’s father acceded as Sovereign.
Question 5: Did Vicky remain involved with the UK after marrying Fredrick William?
In a way, yes. Crown Princess Vicky allied alongside her husband over attempting to teach their son about the British way of politics and Monarchy. However, their son (who later became Germany’s Kaiser during WW1) was a staunch believer in absolute Monarchy and refused to accept the ideas of a constitutional Monarchy, much to the dismay of Vicky and Fredrick William.
Question 6: What happened next?
During a series of wars in Germany, the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire were reunited and the title of German Emperor and King of Prussia became one title, held then by Fredrick William’s father. This made Fredrick William the Crown Prince of Prussia and now the Crown Prince of the German Empire, he also (along with Vicky) began using the complex style of ‘HI&RH’ which stood for ‘His Imperial and Royal Highness (The Imperial part coming from being Crown Prince of Germany and the Royal from being Crown Prince of Prussia).
Question 7: Did Vicky ever become Queen & Empress?
Yes. On the death of Fredrick William’s father on 9 March 1888, the Crown Prince ascended the throne as the Emperor Frederick III (and as King Frederick III of Prussia) and Victoria adopted the title and style of Her Imperial and Royal Majesty The German Empress, Queen of Prussia. Frederick, however, was terminally ill with throat cancer and died after reigning just 99 days.
Question 8: Was Queen Victoria of the UK annoyed that her daughter would hold a higher title than her?
Yes, Queen Victoria was reportedly annoyed that her daughter was to hold the title of Empress which ranked higher than Queen which meant that Vicky ranked higher than The Queen. To counteract this, The Queen had the Prime Minister of the day, Bejamin Disraeli, make her Empress Of India in 1876.
Question 9: What happened after King-Emperor Fredrick died?
When Fredrick died, Vicky took the title of ‘HIM The Empress Fredrick’ after her son acceded to the Prussian and German thrones. She maintained a regular correspondence with her mother. 3,777 letters from Queen Victoria to her eldest daughter have been catalogued, as well as more than 4,000 from daughter to mother. Many of her letters detailed her concern over Germany’s future under her son.
Question 10: When and how did Vicky die?
Vicky was diagnosed with inoperable cancer when staying at Balmoral. After the cancer spread, Vicky died shortly after her mother in 1901. She was buried in the royal mausoleum of the Friedenskirche at Potsdam on 13 August 1901. Her tomb has a recumbent marble effigy of herself on top. Next to her lies her beloved husband.