From John Ray's shorter notes
February 07, 2014
History is crazy
No wonder the Left keep revising history. The reality is so strange that only conservatives could cope with it.
Take for instance the death of Queen Victoria at the age of 81 in 1901. She died in the arms of a member of her family. Who was that family member? You would never guess. It was Kaiser Bill, Wilhelm II, German emperor! He was her grandson.
And yet Germany and Britain were at war only 13 years later.
Such a strange sequence of events requires explanation. Because she had so many daughters, Queen Victoria became the grandmother of Europe. An English princess was a great catch so the German emperor -- father of Kaiser Bill -- got one. Her descendants eventually occupied the thrones of no less than nine European countries
And Edward VII, Victoria's son, who was such a scapegrace in his youth as to be the complete despair of his strait-laced parents, actually turned out to be a very good King. He had the mildly reformist ideas of his father -- Prince Albert -- and was a generally good-natured soul who was known for treating everybody equally, regardless of their rank or importance. So if there was a problem for Britain anywhere in the world, the Foreign Office would send him out to visit. Even as a young man he was a great success abroad. When he visited America in his capacity as Prince of Wales in 1860, he was so popular that he spent months there, meeting just about everybody who was anybody. Prayers for the Royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776.
So on his Royal visits he would shake hands all round, make all the right noises and charm everybody. And that part of the world would then resume lying down peacefully under the British crown. Having met the King himself and finding him such a pleasant and reasonable chap, how could they do otherwise? So against his parents' initial expectations, Edward turned out to be a great asset to British diplomacy. And Edward's wife was the sister of the Tsarina of Russia! And that Tsarina had a son who in time became Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. So the new Tsar was Edward's nephew. Beat that!
And, as it happens, Edward got on well with his nephew the Tsar. But NEITHER got on well with Wilhelm II. Queen Vic. kept the peace between them all while she was alive but after that it all went downhill. So we see that personalities can influence politics. Wilhelm was even a frequent visitor to Balmoral in Vic's lifetime and there are as a result of that a number of photos of Wilhelm in Highland dress.
I have written previously on the multifarious causes of the dreadful WWI. This adds another, though more minor one.
Below is a picture of Wilhelm as a child accompanying his father (later Friedrich III). Both are in Highland dress, at Balmoral. So Queen Victoria's autumn retreat in Scotland was a familiar place for Wilhelm.
Go to John Ray's Main academic menu
Go to Menu of longer writings
Go to John Ray's basic home page
Go to John Ray's pictorial Home Page
Go to Selected pictures from John Ray's blogs