Who married Victoria, Princess Royal?

Friedrich III of Germany married Victoria, Princess Royal on January 25, 1858.

Victoria, Princess Royal

Victoria, Princess Royal

Victoria, Princess Royal (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa; 21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901) was German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III. She was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and was created Princess Royal in 1841. She was the mother of Wilhelm II, German Emperor.

Educated by her father in a politically liberal environment, Victoria was betrothed at the age of sixteen to Prince Frederick of Prussia and supported him in his views that Prussia and the later German Empire should become a constitutional monarchy on the British model. Criticised for this attitude and for her English origins, Victoria suffered ostracism by the Hohenzollerns and the Berlin court. This isolation increased after the arrival of Otto von Bismarck (one of her most staunch political opponents) to power in 1862.

Victoria was empress for only a few months, during which she had opportunity to influence the policy of the German Empire. Frederick III died in 1888 – just 99 days after his accession – from laryngeal cancer and was succeeded by their son William II, who had much more conservative views than his parents. After her husband's death, she became widely known as Empress Frederick (German: Kaiserin Friedrich). The empress dowager then settled in Kronberg im Taunus, where she built Friedrichshof, a castle, named in honour of her late husband. Increasingly isolated after the weddings of her younger daughters, Victoria died of breast cancer on 5 August 1901, not long after her mother's death on 22 January 1901.

The correspondence between Victoria and her parents has been preserved almost completely: 3,777 letters from Queen Victoria to her eldest daughter, and about 4,000 letters from the empress to her mother are preserved and catalogued. These give a detailed insight into the life of the Prussian court between 1858 and 1900.

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Wedding Rings

Friedrich III of Germany

Friedrich III of Germany

Frederick III (German: Friedrich III.; 18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Known informally as "Fritz", he was the only son of Emperor Wilhelm I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service. Although celebrated as a young man for his leadership and successes during the Second Schleswig, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, he nevertheless professed a hatred of warfare and was praised by friends and enemies alike for his humane conduct. Following the unification of Germany in 1871 his father, then King of Prussia, became the German Emperor. Upon Wilhelm's death at the age of ninety on 9 March 1888, the thrones passed to Frederick, who had by then been German Crown Prince for seventeen years and Crown Prince of Prussia for twenty-seven years. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx when he died, aged fifty-six, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition.

Frederick married Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The couple were well-matched; their shared liberal ideology led them to seek greater representation for commoners in the government. Frederick, in spite of his conservative militaristic family background, had developed liberal tendencies as a result of his ties with Britain and his studies at the University of Bonn. As the Crown Prince, he often opposed the conservative Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, particularly in speaking out against Bismarck's policy of uniting Germany through force, and in urging that the power of the Chancellorship be curbed. Liberals in both Germany and Britain hoped that as emperor, Frederick III would move to liberalize the German Empire.

Frederick and Victoria were great admirers of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband. They planned to rule as consorts, like Albert and Queen Victoria, and to reform what they saw as flaws in the executive branch that Bismarck had created for himself. The office of Chancellor, responsible to the Emperor, would be replaced with a British-style cabinet, with ministers responsible to the Reichstag. Government policy would be based on the consensus of the cabinet. Frederick "described the Imperial Constitution as ingeniously contrived chaos." According to Michael Balfour:

The Crown Prince and Princess shared the outlook of the Progressive Party, and Bismarck was haunted by the fear that should the old Emperor die—and he was now in his seventies—they would call on one of the Progressive leaders to become Chancellor. He sought to guard against such a turn by keeping the Crown Prince from a position of any influence and by using foul means as well as fair to make him unpopular.

However, Frederick's illness prevented him from effectively establishing policies and measures to achieve this, and such moves as he was able to make were later abandoned by his son and successor, Wilhelm II. The timing of Frederick's death and the length of his reign are important topics among historians. His premature demise is considered a potential turning point in German history; and whether or not he would have made the Empire more liberal if he had lived longer is still discussed.

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Wedding Location

St James's Palace, City of Westminster, United Kingdom

Father of Victoria, Princess Royal and his spouses:

Mother of Victoria, Princess Royal and her spouses: