Noble Endeavours: The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories by Miranda Seymour - review by Jane Ridley

Jane Ridley

From Prussia with Love

Noble Endeavours: The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories

By

Simon & Schuster 502pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

Most accounts of the relationship between Britain and Germany reiterate a depressingly familiar narrative of how things went wrong, dwelling on the rise of Anglo-German antagonism and the causes of the two world wars. In this original and ambitious book, Miranda Seymour turns it all around and looks at the people who wanted to keep Britain and Germany together.

The story begins with Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, the daughter of James I, who married the Elector Palatine and was the grandmother of George I. This was the start of the Anglo-German royal connection, and up until 1914 the royal families of Britain and Germany were central to relations between the two countries. Prince Albert was a key figure, endeavouring both to make Britain more like Germany (in culture and education) and to make Germany more like Britain (by introducing liberal politics). Albert’s weapon in bringing liberalism to Germany was his daughter Vicky, who was married off to Fritz, the crown prince of Prussia, at 17. But it all

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