ON January 2, 1861, died the King of Prussia, Frederick William IV,
and his brother, the Prince Regent, succeeded as William I. Prince
Frederick William became Crown Prince of Prussia, and henceforth the
Princess Royal was called, both in England and in Germany, the Crown
In the Letters of Queen Victoria there is a most impressive account, written by the Princess Royal, and there published for the first time, of the death of the King of Prussia. The event moved her the more deeply because, not only was she present at the death-bed, but it was really her first sight of death.
The King had been ailing so long that those about him had ceased to be specially anxious. On Monday evening, December 31, the Prince and Princess Frederick William were sitting at tea with the Prince Regent and the Princess of Prussia, when there was brought bad news from Sans Souci, but still nothing to make them particularly uneasy. In the middle of the night, or rather early next morning, they were called up with the intelligence that all hope for the King had been abandoned.
Without waiting for any kind of carriage, although, as the Princess notes, there were twelve degrees of cold Reaumur, she and Prince Frederick William hurried on foot to the Prince of Prussia's palace. From thence they went in a special train to Potsdam. There they found the King dying, and the members of the Royal family standing round watching the death struggle. The painful scene went on till five the next afternoon, when Prince Frederick William wisely sent the Princess off to bed. At one o'clock in the morning of January 2 they were again called, with the news that the King had not many minutes more to live.
The letter in which all these facts are recorded is a remarkable composition, especially when it is remembered that the writer was only twenty. We may be sure that any thought of literary effect was far from her, and yet no one, reading it now after the lapse of so many years, can be insensible to the poignancy of this simple, unstudied, almost artless description of the scene in the death-chamber - the dim lamp; the silence broken only by the crackling of the fire and the death-rattle; the Queen, Elizabeth, continually wiping the perspiration from the dying man's forehead.
But the letter also shows how really noble was the new Crown Princess's outlook on life. She speaks with the warmest affection of her parents-in-law: "May God bless and preserve them, and may theirs be a long and happy reign," and she goes on to describe the King as he lay dead, peaceful and quiet like a sleeping child. She could hardly bring herself to believe that this was really death, "that which I had so often shuddered at and felt afraid of"; there was nothing dreadful or appalling, only a heavenly calm and peace.
The Crown Princess also speaks with deep feeling for the Queen Dowager, who had never really liked her, and who, as we know, had been in sympathy so pro-Russian all through the Crimean War. But this grief brought the two together as perhaps nothing else could have done, and the Princess says: "She was so kind to me, kinder than she has ever been yet, and said I was like her own child and a comfort to her."
Prince Albert was evidently greatly moved by his daughter's letter. In his reply he reminds her that in one of the most impressive experiences of life she was now older than himself. "The more frequently you look upon the body, the stronger will be your conviction that yonder casing is not the man, yea, that it is scarcely conceivable how it can have been. In seeing and observing the approach of death, as you have been called upon to do, you have become older in experience than myself. I have never seen anyone die." To Stockmar the Prince wrote that "The Princess, now Crown Princess, has in the late trying time at Berlin again behaved quite admirably, and receives on all sides the most entire recognition."
That same eventful January of 1861, the Princess lost two firm and loyal friends in Lord and Lady Bloomfield. She parted with them with great regret, and presented to Lady Bloomfield a bust of little Prince William done by herself.
At that time it must indeed have seemed to the Crown Princess as if all her own and her husband's hopes and aspirations for a full and useful public life were about to be amply fulfilled. The new King had not only always been an affectionate father to his only son and heir, but he had also been marked among the princes of his time for his liberal opinions and English sympathies.
The third anniversary of the Crown Princess's marriage came very soon after the death of the old King, and writing on that day to her mother she said: "Every time our dear wedding day returns I feel so happy and thankful - and live every moment of that blessed and never-to-be-forgotten day over again in thought. I love to dwell on every minute of that day; not a hope has been disappointed, not an expectation that has not been realised, and much more - that few can say - and I am thankful as I ought to be."
Soon after the accession of William I, Herr Max Duncker was formally attached to the Crown Prince as a channel of communication in State matters. Duncker had been Professor of History at the Universities of Halle and Tubingen, and had also obtained some practical experience of politics as a member of the Frankfort and Erfurt Diet, and as a Prussian deputy. He had indeed been chosen by Stockmar for the position of confidential adviser to the Prince, with whom and with the Princess he was already in favour; and he saw in his new post an opportunity of sowing seed which might one day spring up and bear fruit an hundred-fold.
In March the death of the Duchess of Kent deprived the Crown Princess of a grandmother to whom she had been very warmly attached, and with whom was associated all the events of her happy childhood and girlhood.
On receiving the unexpected news, for the Duchess of Kent had only been really ill a few hours, the Princess started for England, not entirely with the approval of her father-in-law. The Prince Consort, who in this matter of his daughter's relations to her father-in-law always showed exceptional tact, wrote and thanked the King: "Her stay here has been a great comfort and delight to us in our sorrow and bereavement, and we are truly grateful for it."
The problem of the Schleswig-Holstein duchies and the unfortunate Macdonald affair combined to draw England and Prussia still further apart. It is true that the latter was formally settled in May, but the bad feeling it created was not appeased. Lord Palmerston said in the House that the conduct of the Prussian Government had been a blunder as well as a crime, while the Prussian Foreign Minister (Baron von Schleinitz), then on the eve of his retirement, retaliated with a stiff rejoinder.
A leading article in the Times, backing up Palmerston's view, is described by Prince Albert, in a letter to Berlin, as "studiedly insulting." At the same time the Prince saw clearly that Schleinitz had made a mistake in mixing up the Macdonald affair with la haute politique. "In Germany the idea of the State in the abstract is a thing divine; here it means the freedom of the individual citizen." And he goes on to say that the feeling in England ought to teach Prussia that mere talk will not do.
"Prussia has been always talking of being the only natural and real ally of England, but since 1815 she has taken no part in any European question. Prussia sets up a claim to stand at the head of Germany, but she is not German in her conduct. The Zollverein was the only really German action to which she can point. She leads Germany, not upon the path of liberty and constitutional development, which Germany (Prussia included) requires and desires. I can imagine that with the high military pretensions to which she has laid claim for the last forty-five years, she suffers under an oppressive consciousness that her army is the only one which during this long period has not been called into action. I repeat, however, that a large, liberal, generous policy is the preliminary condition for an alliance with England, for hegemony in Germany, and for her military renown."
These were the views with which the Crown Princess was steadily indoctrinated. It is possible that she found them a little too cool and impartially objective for her patriotism, but if so, there is no trace of such disagreement in Prince Albert's correspondence.
It was fortunate that Prussian opinion was at this time distracted by the thought of the coming coronation of the new King. The ceremony raised certain questions which, though nominally concerned with mere ceremonial, possessed in reality considerable importance from a constitutional point of view. The principal question was whether the oath of allegiance traditionally taken by the estates of the realm was consistent with the new constitutional law desired by the King. Apparently the King wished the oath to be taken, but was dissuaded by his Ministers, and it was decided that his Majesty should simply be crowned at Königsberg in the presence of the Landtag.
In July, 1861, the Crown Prince, who had gone with the Crown Princess to pay a visit to Queen Victoria, wrote from Osborne a long and remarkable letter to his father, a passage in which shows how constantly he consulted his wife on questions of high politics.
The Crown Prince begs the King not to regard the coronation with repugnance on account of the omission of the oath of allegiance. He describes the act of assuming the crown as a despotic act, and as a solemn proof that the crown is not conferred by any earthly power, in spite of the prerogatives abandoned in 1848. He goes on to argue that the ceremony will compel the Great Powers to show deference to Prussia by sending ambassadors, and that therefore it ought to take place in Berlin. In this way it would exhibit the development of Prussia. Frederick I, by being crowned at Königsberg, marked the beginning of a new era for the State, but now a coronation at Berlin would mark the new future which opened out for Prussia as the defender of the united German territories. The Crown Prince advised that the King and Queen should go to Königsberg before the coronation in Berlin, either to receive the oath of allegiance or to hold a great reception, and then he goes on:
"I have ventured, dear father, to express my opinion quite frankly, though you may perhaps be surprised by my strong inclination for the coronation ceremony. The fact is simply that I have often calmly discussed this with Vicky as the only desirable conclusion, when I saw the increasing difficulties arising in your mind with reference to the oath of allegiance."
These opinions of the Crown Prince's, in which his wife evidently concurred, would hardly have been approved by Prince Albert. They show the future Emperor Frederick in a new light - no longer as the liberal constitutionalist, the firm admirer of England's free polity, but as the champion of the divine right of the Hohenzollerns, with a splendid vision of a united Germany under the military protection of Prussia. At the same time there is that qualifying sentence in which the Crown Prince refers to the plan of a coronation at Berlin almost as if he and his wife had been driven to recommend it as the only solution of the King's difficulties regarding the oath of allegiance.
The whole question becomes the more interesting in the light of a remarkable piece of dynastic history which was revealed for the first time at the jubilee celebrations of the Emperor William II in June, 1913, in an address by Professor Hintze at the Berlin University. It seems that his Imperial Majesty was informed, before his father's death in 1888, that upon that event a sealed document of high importance would be placed in his hands. When he read it, he found that it was the political testament of his great-uncle, King Frederick William IV of Prussia, brother of the Emperor who made united Germany.
As its name implies, the paper contained King Frederick William's advice to his successors on the Throne of Prussia. Part at least of these counsels was deemed to be possibly so seductive to Sovereigns of a certain temperament that the Emperor William II felt it his duty to commit the whole paper to the flames. The Royal testator, who inherited from his mother, Queen Louise, an exceedingly exalted idea of the rights of the Crown, recommended his successors to revoke the written Constitution which he himself had granted his people. But he had a high sense of the obligations of his kingly word and of his Royal oath, and accordingly he advised any of them who might take the step to take it before he had sworn to observe the Constitution at his coronation.
The Emperors William I and Frederick III seem to have been content with ignoring the testament. It was left for their successor, William II, fearful lest it might one day tempt some "young and inexperienced ruler" into dangerous paths, to destroy it. His apprehensions were curiously strong. He felt, he told Professor Hintze, as if he had a barrel of gunpowder in his house, and he knew no peace until he had got rid of the terrible document.
We need not discuss here whether these apprehensions were well founded. What is of the highest interest is the knowledge, thus come to light after so many years, of this extraordinary political testament. It had unquestionably been read at this time, July, 1861, by the new King William I, and it is equally certain that it had not then been read by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Probably the knowledge of the document would have modified the views expressed in the Crown Prince's letter from Osborne. In any case, it seems so far to have influenced the new King that he rejected his son's advice and adhered to his decision in favour of a coronation at Königsberg, which duly took place there with all suitable pomp on October 18.
Among the very few published letters of the Crown Princess is one which she wrote to her mother describing the ceremony. She modestly declares herself "a very bad hand at descriptions," but no one who reads the letter now could possibly agree with that. On the contrary, she shows the same remarkably vivid and picturesque power of narration of which we had an example in her account of the death-bed of King Frederick William IV.
The fact that the day chosen for the coronation was her husband's birthday gave the Crown Princess great pleasure, as also that an English artist, Mr. George Housman Thomas, was commissioned to paint a picture entitled "Homage of the Princess Royal at the Coronation of the King of Prussia."
Lord Clarendon, who was the British Special Ambassador on the occasion, writing to Queen Victoria on the day after the coronation, observed that "the great feature of the ceremony was the manner in which the Princess Royal did homage to the King. Lord Clarendon is at a loss for words to describe to your Majesty the exquisite grace and the intense emotion with which her Royal Highness gave effect to her feelings on the occasion. Many an older as well as younger man than Lord Clarendon, who had not his interest in the Princess Royal, were quite as unable as himself to repress their emotion at that which was so touching, because so unaffected and sincere." Lord Granville also wrote to Prince Albert, "One of the most graceful and touching sights ever seen was the Princess's salute of the King."
Lord Clarendon added, in his letter to the Queen, the striking words: "If his Majesty had the mind, the judgment, and the foresight of the Princess Royal, there would be nothing to fear, and the example and influence of Prussia would soon be marvellously developed. Lord Clarendon has had the honour to hold a very long conversation with her Royal Highness, and has been more than ever astonished at the statesmanlike and comprehensive views which she takes of the policy of Prussia, both internal and foreign, and of the duties of a Constitutional King."
Unfortunately, Prussia was far from desiring the wife of the Heir Apparent to entertain any views, statesmanlike or other, on either domestic or foreign policy.
Lord Clarendon also told the Queen that the Princess was appreciated and beloved by all classes. Every member of the Royal Family, he said, had spoken of her to him in terms of admiration, and through various channels he had had opportunities of learning how strong was the feeling of educated and enlightened people towards her.
There is significance in the English statesman's reference to "educated and enlightened " people. He must have been aware that the majority of Prussians of that day were neither educated nor enlightened in his sense of the words, and that the Princess was really only appreciated by the small intellectual group who were flattered by the recognition which she and the Crown Prince bestowed on them. But Lord Clarendon was perhaps disposed to see everything en beau. The Crown Princess mentions that the King and Queen showed a marked cordiality to him, contrasting with the stiff etiquette observed in their reception of the other Ambassadors.
To return to the Crown Princess's account of the coronation. She contrives to give in comparatively few words an unforgettable picture of the coup d'oeil in the chapel - the Knights of the Black Eagle in their red velvet cloaks, the various colours of the uniforms, and the diamonds and Court dresses of the ladies, all harmonised by the sun pouring in through the high windows. The Princess says that she herself was in gold with ermine and white satin, while one of her ladies wore blue and the other red velvet. "Dearest Fritz was in a great state of emotion and excitement, as we all were." The King looked so handsome and noble with the crown on, and the moment when he put the crown on the Queen's head was so touching that there was hardly a dry eye in the chapel.
The Princess's keen sense of humour was stirred by the large assemblage of princes and other notables. "Half Europe is here, and one sees the funniest combinations in the world. It is like a happy family shut up in a cage!" and she mentions as an example the Italian Ambassador sitting close to a Cardinal. There is also a young prince of Hesse who nearly dies of fright and shyness among so many people; he at once excites the sympathy of the warm-hearted Princess, though she herself had no experience of the agonies of shyness.
But the Princess was even more diverted by a compliment which the King paid her:
"The King gave me a charming little locket for his hair, and only think - what will sound most extraordinary, absurd, and incredible to your ears - made me second Chef of the 2nd Regiment of Hussars! I laughed so much, because really I thought it was a joke - it seemed so strange for ladies; but the Regiments like particularly having ladies for their Chefs! The Queen and the Queen Dowager have Regiments, but I believe I am the first Princess on whom such an honour is conferred."
Possibly the Princess thought at first that she was being appointed honorary cook to the regiment! In any case it is curious that she should not have known of the custom of conferring such distinctions on Royal ladies, which obtains in the British Army as well as on the Continent.
We have no means of knowing how the Crown Prince and Crown Princess regarded the new King's declaration at Königsberg - that declaration which amounted to an explicit assertion of the divine right of Kings. But in Queen Victoria's Letters there is a curious revelation of the anxiety with which her Majesty regarded the constant attacks of the Times on everything German, and particularly everything Prussian. She even wrote to Lord Palmerston about it, suggesting that he might see his way to remonstrate with the conductors of the journal. "Pam" did see his way, and he got an entertaining answer from the great Delane, then at the zenith of his power, which he forwarded to her Majesty. The editor says that he would not have intruded advice on the Prussians during the splendid ceremonies of the coronation "had not the King uttered those surprising anachronisms upon the Divine Right."
We learn from a letter written by Lord Clarendon to Queen Victoria that the Crown Princess was much alarmed at the state of affairs in Berlin at this time. The King saw democracy and revolution in every symptom of opposition to his will. His Ministers were mere clerks, content to register his decrees, and there was no one from whom he sought advice, or indeed who was capable or would have the moral courage to give it. The King would never accept the consequences of representative government or allow it to be a reality, though at the same time he would always religiously keep his word and never overturn the institutions he had sworn to maintain. Such was this experienced statesman's diagnosis of the situation, arrived at after an audience of the Crown Princess.
The Princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday on November 21, 1861. In the letter which she received from her father, almost the last which he was ever to write to her, one detects a pathetic note, as if the Prince, wearied and out of health, actually foresaw his approaching death and wished to give her his parting counsel and blessing:
"May your life, which has begun beautifully, expand still further to the good of others and the contentment of your own mind! True inward happiness is to be sought only in the internal consciousness of effort systematically directed to good and useful ends. Success indeed depends upon the blessing which the Most High sees meet to vouchsafe to our endeavours. May this success not fail you, and may your outward life leave you unhurt by the storms, to which the sad heart so often looks forward with a shrinking dread! Without the basis of health it is impossible to rear anything stable. Therefore see that you spare yourself now, so that at some future time you may be able to do more."
The death of Prince Albert on December 14, 1861, at the age of forty-two, profoundly affected the lives of both his widow, on her now lonely throne, and his idolized daughter in Berlin. It is evident from Queen Victoria's correspondence that she was quite unprepared. Her letters to King Leopold almost up to the last are full of the most pathetic hopefulness, and she certainly wrote in the same vein of cheery optimism to Berlin. The blow fell therefore with all the more stunning effect on both mother and daughter - indeed, it is hard to say which of the two felt more utterly crushed and broken-hearted.
The Crown Princess, as we have seen, was much more her father's child than is usual in family life in any station. The tie between them was something deeper and stronger even than the natural affection of parent and daughter; he had sedulously formed her mind and tastes, and he had become the one counsellor to whom she felt she could ever turn in any perplexity or trouble, sure of his helpful understanding and sympathy. Very soon after her marriage, in a letter to the Prince of Wales, she dwelt on their father as the master and leader ever to be respected: - You don't know," she wrote, "how one longs for a word from him when one is distant."
Nor did the Princess, like many daughters, allow her marriage to weaken this tie; indeed, the thought of the physical distance between them seemed to bring them, if possible, spiritually nearer: For her mother, the Princess felt the tenderest and most filial affection, writing to her every day, sometimes twice a day, about the little details of her personal life. But though she and her father only wrote to one another once a week, it was to him that she poured out her full self, the total of her varied interests in politics, literature, science, art, and philosophy. The citations already made in the preceding pages from the Prince's letters to her show, not only the many fields over which their correspondence ranged, but also the singular charm of their mutual confidence. It would be difficult to find in history a more touching and beautiful example of spiritual and intellectual communion between father and daughter.
And now this great solace and stay of the Princess's life is suddenly withdrawn from her, practically without any warning. If only she had known, even suspected, that there was danger, how she would have hurried to him! No one with any imagination and human sympathy can think of it without profound pity.
During the first weeks which followed the receipt of the telegram announcing his death, the Crown Princess fell into a silent, listless state, only rousing herself to bursts of grief which were terrible to witness. The simple religious faith to which her mother turned could not bring her the same consolation. In her extremity it was on her husband that she leaned. He was untiringly patient and tender, though it must have been most painful for him to be told that she felt as if her life was over and she could never be happy again.
It is surely true to say that in these difficult days the Crown Prince revealed the essential nobility of his character quite as much as he did in the great spectacular moments of his life - on the stricken field and in the glory of conquest. Many a husband would have shown a certain resentment at his wife's absorption in her father, but it is clear that the Crown Prince, far from feeling any such petty jealousy, brought his wife the truest consolation by understanding and himself sharing in her sorrow. He knew what a really remarkable man Prince Albert was, he had felt the charm of his personality and of his intellectual gifts; and so we find him looking back on this bereavement, in a letter written some months later to his old tutor, M. Godet:
"Our whole life is, if such a thing be possible, increasing in happiness daily. All the tribulation, all the bitterness, of my outside life, and of what I may call my practical life, I am able to leave behind me when I reach the door which leads to my 'home.' We had the great grief of losing my dear father-in-law, the most intimate and tender friend of my wife, and to me a true second father. It came like a clap of thunder on our peaceful, happy life. We are now deprived of him whom we thought would help to guide us during many many years, and now the British Sovereign is bereft of her only help, while Europe is deprived of one of her most brilliant and most distinguished minds."
It may reasonably be doubted whether to the Crown Princess the prolongation of her father's life would have been of great service. We cannot feel at all sure that in her critical relations with Bismarck, for instance, his counsel would always have been of the safest kind. He had not brought her up to be the wife of an autocratic sovereign, still less that of the wife of an Heir Apparent; she was brought up as might have been a Prince of Wales in a constitutional country.
By an unfortunate irony of fate, all those who warmly and sincerely sympathised with the point of view of the Prince Consort, and of herself and the Crown Prince, were not Prussians; they were - in the phrase then generally used - Coburgers. This was pre-eminently the case with Stockmar, and in a less degree with Bunsen and other Liberal Germans. The mere fact that they were not Prussians discounted any value their opinions might otherwise have had, both with the then King of Prussia and with those who surrounded him.
Fortunately for the Crown Princess, the course of public events soon came to rouse her froth her apathy and grief.
Early in that same December which saw the death of the Prince Consort, the Prussian elections had resulted in large democratic gains, thus considerably weakening the Ministry. In a memorandum addressed to the Crown Prince just before he left for England to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, Duncker prophesied the fall of the Ministry, and for the first time suggested the plan of calling Bismarck to office. In his reports during the Ministerial crisis which followed, Duncker warned both the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess of the danger of trying to govern at one time with the Liberals and at another with the Conservatives. He advocated a Ministry composed of business rather than party men, who would know how to govern as Liberals on a Conservative basis; and he again urged that Bismarck should be utilised to strengthen the Ministry.
The Crown Princess after her bereavement seemed to cling the more closely to the ties which bound her to the land of her birth and of her father's adoption, and this, as we shall see later, provoked a good deal of criticism in Berlin. She went to England as often as she could, or perhaps it would be truer to say as often as her father-in-law could be induced to give his permission.
Her first visit after the Prince Consort's death was in March, 1862. Princess Mary of Cambridge went to Windsor especially to see her cousin. She says: "We found her well, and better in spirits than we expected." But it must have been a very sad and mournful time, for the Queen was "rigid as stone, the picture of desolate misery"; and everything reminded the Crown Princess of the father she had lost.
In the following May, the Crown Prince, at the special request of Queen Victoria, represented his father at the Great Exhibition of 1862, but the Crown Princess, much to her regret, could not accompany him. He had served as chairman of the committee appointed to secure an adequate representation of German arts and industries, and had thus greatly promoted the success of the enterprise.
The Crown Princess, however, went to England at the end of June to be present at the quiet wedding of her favourite sister, Princess Alice, to Prince Louis, afterwards Grand Duke of Hesse. It was solemnised at Osborne on July 1.
On August 14, 1862, a second son, Prince Henry, destined to be Germany's Sailor Prince, was born. The choice of his name seems to have troubled his grandmother, Queen Augusta. She wrote to her son from Baden: "My dear Fritz, your first letter moved me deeply, because of your affectionate heart, and because of all the particulars it contained about our beloved Vicky. I certainly anticipated that your son would be called Albert, for that name, no matter whether it is more or less German, really ought to be handed down as a legacy from the never-to-be-forgotten grandfather - and I believe that Queen Victoria expected it too."
As a matter of fact the baby was christened Albert William Henry, but probably what Queen Augusta meant was that he ought to have been generally known as Prince Albert instead of Prince Henry.
It might have been expected that the birth of three healthy children, two of whom were boys, would have, at least in a measure, disarmed the hostility with which the Crown Princess was regarded by a powerful section in Prussia. But these people were dissatisfied because the arrival of the children naturally strengthened the position of the Princess, and they also feared that the Princes in the direct line of succession to the throne would be brought up under English rather than Prussian influence.
There was, it must be admitted, a certain justification for the belief that the Crown Princess had never really ceased to be an Englishwoman. In 1855 there had been presented to Prince Albert a remarkable young Englishman who was destined to play a considerable part in the life of the Crown Princess. This was Robert Morier, already well and affectionately known to Baron Stockmar, who even styled him his "adopted son." It was natural that Prince Albert should take a warm interest in the young man who came to him with such credentials - indeed, Morier was quickly made to understand that the Prince wished him to prepare himself in every way for diplomatic work in Germany. And in January, 1858, at the time of the Royal marriage, Prince Albert did everything in his power to have Morier appointed an attaché to the British Embassy in Berlin.
Morier had another good friend in the Princess of Prussia, the Princess Royal's mother-in-law. She had known, not only Morier but his distinguished father, for many years, and it was her personal wish, which she expressed to Lord Clarendon, that the young man should be sent to Berlin in order that he might be of use to her son and her daughter-in-law. It need hardly be said that Morier was also on intimate terms with Ernest von Stockmar, who at the same time was appointed private secretary to the Princess.
Morier obtained the appointment, and it was the beginning of a lifelong intimacy with Prince Frederick William and the Princess Royal. He became and remained one of their most trusted friends and advisers, a fact which undoubtedly injured his diplomatic career. When, many years later, it was proposed that Sir Robert Morier, as he had then become, should be appointed Ambassador in Berlin, his name was the only one which was absolutely vetoed by the then allpowerful Bismarck.
Probably because Morier had a remarkably strong and original personality, he at once aroused jealousy, dislike, and suspicion; he was even said to influence the then dying King, as afterwards he was supposed to influence King William through Queen Augusta, and the Crown Prince through the Crown Princess.
When one now reads the very frank letters written by Morier to English relations and friends, one cannot help feeling an uncomfortable suspicion that the contents of some of them may have gone back to Germany, perhaps in exaggerated and distorted versions, in spite of the great precautions taken to keep their contents secret. One observation in one of his letters certainly leaked out - namely, that his long experience of German little statesmen had taught him that "like certain plain middle-aged women, they delight in nothing so much as to talk with pretended indignation of attacks supposed to have been made upon their virtue!" Such judgments, when barbed with a sufficient measure of truth, are apt to rankle.
It must not be thought for a moment that Morier was incorrect in his official relations in Berlin, but his remarkable ability and strength of character gave importance to his known Liberal and Constitutional sympathies. Had he been a diplomatist of merely ordinary qualifications, there would have been hardly need to mention him at all, but as a matter of fact he was an important factor in the complex situation of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess at this period.
A passage in Theodor von Bernhardi's diary, written in November, 1862, exhibits the feeling in Berlin aroused by the Crown Princess's visits to England:
"Conversation with Frau Duncker. I showed myself very impatient and discontented over the repeated long visits the Crown Princess made to England. 'She has nothing to do there and nothing to seek,' I exclaimed. Frau Duncker replied: 'The Crown Princess has her own views and her own will; her views and resolutions are very quickly formed - but when formed, there is nothing to be done against them.' Further conversation showed me that the Crown Princess cannot distinguish between our Three-thaler Diets and the English Parliament; that she thinks everything here must be just as in England; the Government must ever be by majority, the Ministry always chosen by the majority - that she tries to force these views on her husband, and that Max Duncker fights against it as much as he can. Max Duncker let me see that he is ever trying to set this young couple by the ears; their ideas cannot be acted upon here."
The formation in the spring of a new Prussian Cabinet composed entirely of Conservatives placed the Crown Prince in a considerable difficulty, because he had openly given his support to the late Liberal Ministry. Duncker's advice to him was that he should absent himself for a time, and that he should thereafter be present at the Ministerial councils without himself taking part in the discussions. This advice was accepted, and when the Ministry endeavoured to remove Duncker to an appointment at Bonn University, the Crown Prince prevented it by emphatically declaring that he did not wish to lose his counsellor.
The events which followed - the crisis on the subject of military reforms, and the accession of Bismarck to office - were regarded by the Crown Prince with something like dismay, but he was disarmed by the King's threats of abdication. The Crown Princess's secretary, the younger Stockmar, in particular, strongly urged that the Crown Prince should not intervene, as it was essential that he should preserve his position removed from party strife.
The Crown Prince saw the wisdom of this advice, and on October 15, 1862, he started with his wife on a long visit to Italy. As the guests of the Prince of Wales, they joined the English Royal Yacht Osborne at Marseilles, and went to Sicily and the coast of Africa, including Tunis, where they visited the Bey at his castle, and the ruins of Carthage. At Naples the Crown Princess enjoyed herself particularly, sketching and taking long walks and excursions in all the delights of incognito. November 21, the Princess's twentysecond birthday, was spent by her in Rome, where the party made a long stay. After visiting other Italian cities, they returned to Berlin by way of Trieste and Vienna, having been away altogether rather more than three months.
It was this tour which laid the foundation of the great love for Italy and for Italian art which henceforth was a marked characteristic of the Crown Princess.
In the December of 1862 the Crown Prince and Princess made a short stay in Vienna. The American historian, Motley, was visiting Austria at the time, and it was characteristic of the Princess that the only person, outside the Imperial family, whom she desired to see was this brilliant writer. He gives a charming account of the interview in a letter to his mother:
"She is rather petite, has a fresh young face with pretty features, fine teeth, and a frank and agreeable smile and an interested, earnest and intelligent manner. Nothing could be simpler or more natural than her style, which I should say was the perfection of good breeding."
The Crown Princess told Mr. Motley that she had been reading Froude with great admiration, and she was surprised to find that, though Motley admired Froude and had a high opinion of him as an historian, he had been by no means converted to Froude's view of Henry VIII. "The Princess was evidently disposed to admire that polygamous party, and was also a great admirer of Queen Elizabeth." The Princess also spoke of Carlyle's Frederick the Great, which she had just read, but we are not told whether she agreed with Motley's view that Carlyle was a most immoral writer, owing to his exaggerated reverence for brute force, so often confounded by him with wisdom and genius.