About the Book and the Author

The author, Mark Grinsted MA (cantab) is equally at home in England and in Germany. After completing his studies in philosophy at Cambridge University he moved in the early ’70s to Germany and has lived in the Rhine-Main area ever since. Inspired by the proximity of Darmstadt and Schloss Wolfsgarten he involved himself increasingly over the years in the close connections between England and Germany in the 19th century: Queen Victoria as daughter of a German Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, married to a German Prince of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, mother of a German Empress, mother of a Grand-Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, grandmother of a Darmstadt princess, who to the present day is venerated in Russia as a saint, and of a further Darmstadt princess, who as the last Russian Tsarina was brutally murdered, together with her family, after the Russian Revolution. There are also stories about how a Darmstadt Prince of Battenberg became Head of the British Royal Navy, or how his brother became Prince of Bulgaria, and how this brother’s ill-fated love-affair with a Prussian princess was thwarted by Count Bismarck, despite the efforts of three generations of Victorias.

After the German-English tragedies of the 20th Century these close relationships between England and Germany often faded into oblivion. This book is an attempt to revive these memories. Human passions play an important part: love and hate, happiness and disappointment, tragic deaths and strange coincidences fill the pages.

The author attaches importance to original sources from those times; the reader can thus obtain first-hand information about what the protagonists of the time thought or remarked on. The author has translated all the English language texts, be they letters, memoirs, newspaper articles or contemporary biographies, into German and supplemented these with original German language sources of those times. The English language original texts are included in the footnotes for the reader’s reference.