Victoria Letters Reveal Royal Family's German Roots and Uneven Judgement

Sunday 20th September 1936

The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper published twenty letters from Queen Victoria to her relatives in the Hohenzollern family, then the ruling family of Prussia and later united Germany. Edward VIII had granted permission for them to appear in book form. The letters had been selected to display Victoria’s “human side” and her desire for good relations between Britain and Germany. They were written in German, in a reminder of how close the cultural ties were.

One of the more embarrassing features of the letters was Victoria’s high opinion of the disastrously incompetent Emperor Napoleon III and his hysterical, extreme reactionary wife Eugenie. Victoria thought him more German than French (high praise) and even after France’s humiliating defeat by Germany, for which Napoleon III was chiefly responsible, regretted that only ill-health had prevented him from worthily falling on the field of battle.