: I am almost done reading An Uncommon Woman
: about the life of Victoria, later Empress of
: Prussia. I couldn't believe the hatred her
: son, the future Kaiser, had towards his
: mother. And the terrible Bismarck, plotting
: against the then crown prince and crown
: princess. Vicky needed her mom's backbone.
: I can't believe how she allowed her own son
: to treat her the way he did. He was being
The relationship between Vicky and Wilhelm was a complex one. In his early days, Wilhelm adored her but his mother acted in what appeared to him to be a rather cold and detached manner seemingly more concerned to subject him towards all sorts of difficult and painful treatments to correct his withered left arm which she felt was a humiliation to her as well as to him. She seemed more concerned with his education and intellectual development than nurturing an emotional bond between them which was what Wilhelm really wanted from her, understandably. He came to feel she didn't love him for himself and favoured her younger children over him. As he grew older, his feelings of love and admiration for her turned to bitter rejection as he felt, rightly or wrongly, that she had rejected him. He became more and more influenced by Bismarck and the Prussian military tradition as a conscious rejection of his mother and her Anglocentric, liberal ideas. He, with Bismarck's encouragement, accused her of encouraging his father to adopt her liberal, un-Prussian ideas and even went so far as to accuse her of spying for England. All this came to a nasty head when his father died after just a few months as German emperor and he himself came to the throne much sooner than anyone had anticipated. He immediately moved to isolate his mother from any lingering positions of influence and even encouraged her to move back to England which she defiantly refused to do lest it give credence to his and Bismarck's false accusations against her.
In the succeeding years of her widowhood, now deprived of any further opportunity to influence the political direction of Germany, relations between Vicky and Wilhelm calmed down somewhat and, if never actually affectionate, became more mutually respectful. Both of them vented their private feelings about each other in letters to the one person each of them loved and respected ie. Queen Victoria. She mostly took her daughter's side and chided Wilhelm for his behaviour towards his mother and his schizophrenic love-hate feelings towards her native country.
Incidentally, Vicky's titles after marriage were successively: Crown Princess of Prussia (1858-1888) then briefly Queen of Prussia and German empress (1888) and then, after her husband's death, she assumed his forename and became known as the dowager Empress Frederick until her own death in 1901, just a few months after her mother, Queen Victoria.
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