Avatar of admin

by

How Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking Helped Cause World War I

May 16, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Queen Victoria with the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George and Queen Mary) while on their honeymoon at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, 1893. (Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

If you were a royal in the late part of the 19th century, there’s a good chance you were related to Queen Victoria—and if Victoria was your grandmother, you were pretty much guaranteed a glamorous royal wedding to a prince or princess of her choosing.

“Victoria’s descendants effectively gained automatic entry into what amounted to the world’s most exclusive dating agency,” says Deborah Cadbury, author of Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe. The outcomes of her grandchildren’s love lives were orchestrated by the queen herself, Cadbury says.

But those outcomes weren’t always happy—and by marrying off her grandchildren, Victoria inadvertently helped stoke a world war. Here’s how the queen’s matchmaking helped create—and destroy—modern Europe.

It wasn’t unusual for a monarch to be involved in her family’s marriages. The Royal Marriage Act of 1772 gave Britain’s monarch the chance to veto any match. But Victoria didn’t stop at just saying no. She thought that she could influence Europe by controlling who her family members married. “Each marriage was a form of soft power,” says Cadbury. Victoria wanted to spread stable constitutional monarchies like Britain’s throughout Europe.

Luckily, she had plenty of family members with which to do it. Victoria had nine children and 42 grandchildren. Eventually, seven of them sat on European thrones in Russia, Greece, Romania, Britain, Germany, Spain and Norway—and all would take sides during World War I with disastrous consequences.

Some of Victoria’s grandchildren followed their grandma’s orders without complaint. Her grandson Albert Victor was second in line for the throne and, at Victoria’s behest, asked Princess Mary of Teck to marry him. Victoria liked the German princess, who was also a cousin, because of her level headedness, and pressured Albert to marry her even though he was rumored to be gay. He dutifully proposed. Then, tragedy struck and he died suddenly of influenza in 1892.

Queen Victoria with the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George and Queen Mary) while on their honeymoon at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, 1893. (Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Victoria then pressured Albert’s brother, George, who was now second in line to the throne, to propose to Princess Mary. …read more

Source: HISTORY

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.