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 'Good Old Willie' by Todayinah Ed.
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed. says, What if Wilhelm Hohenzollern had been crowned King of England? Please note that this story will appear in sequential order. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.

August 5

In 1901, on this day Queen Victoria II (pictured) died in Balmoral Castle aged sixty years old.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #1The eldest child of Queen Victoria I and Prince Albert, she was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. Ten years later, she met her future husband, Prince Frederick William of Prussia and they married in 1855. Her parents hoped that the union would cement close ties between London and Berlin, and possibly lead to the emergence of a unified and liberal Germany. At the time of their wedding, Londoners chanted "God save the Prince and Bride! God keep their lands allied!".

However the Prussian attempt to form a unified German Empire ended in shambolic failure on the battlefields of Sedan and Metz. The House of Hohenzollern was forced to flee to England and live in exile with their English Cousins the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family. But because they did not officially abdicate the throne, a future restoration had a better than reasonable chance of success.

Nevertheless, the French military build-up demanded prompt action. Alarmed by the possibility of a continent ruled from Paris, the line of English succession was quickly amended1 to allow the oldest child of either gender to assume the throne. But as matters transpired, Queen Victoria II only ruled for eight months after her mother finally passed away on 22nd January 1901. She would be succeeded by Wilhelm Hohenzollern, enthusiastically proclaimed King of England by the awaiting crowd, "Good Old Willie!".

August 24

In 1819, on this day Alexandrina Victoria (pictured) the only child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent was born at Kensington Palace. Fifth in the succession to the throne at the time of birth, her ascension as the last monarch of the House of Hanover was a historic accident caused by the premature death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only legitimate grandchild of George III.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #2Her reign of sixty-three years and seven months was longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history. This "Victorian era" was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. And ultimately led to a period of intense international rivalry mirroring the earlier Elizabethean Era.

France began to re-emerge as a continental power during the middle of the nineteenth century. The hard-fought victories at Sedan and Metz crushed the formation of a German Empire in its infancy and created the prospect of France rising to undisputed master of continental Europe. If that insidious development was insufficiently menacing of itself, then the development of the Empire Français brought both countries colonial ambitions into direct conflict. The inevitable War was caused by an overseas flashpoint, the Fashoda Crisis which was a dispute over imperial territory in Eastern Africa.

Two years later, the Queen died aged eighty-one; but her successor - her sixty year old daughter - was terminally ill. The truncated six month reign of Queen Victoria II was due to a change of succession allowing the eldest child of either sex to ascend to the throne. Because by 1870 it was evident that an Anglo-German alliance was absolutely necessary in order to confront French hegemony.

In 1840 Victoria had married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Their nine children and twenty-six of their thirty-four grandchildren who survived childhood married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". One of those grandchildren was Wilhelm, who would eventually serve for forty years as the second monarch of the House of Hohenzollern. "Good Old Willie" was welcomed by friendly crowds when he came to her death bed. Their desire for an iconic leader was borne out of a common recognition that Great Britain was entering a new era of great uncertainy and danger.

January 27

In 1859, on this day Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht Hohenzollern the first grandchild of Queen Victoria I and Prince Albert was born in the Crown Princes Palace, Berlin. Despite the life threatening complications of a breech delivery, his English doctors ensured that he survived and was born without injury apart from a prominent scar on his right arm.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #3At the age of two he became the second in the line of succession to Prussia. But a decade later, the Hohenzollerns were forced to flee into exile. As the President of the North German Confederation, his grandfather Wilhem attempted unsuccessfully to create a unified Germany. The House of Hohenzollern dreamt of a state which would have been little more than a Prussian-dominated German Empire, but that ephemeral miltaristic vision was swept away on the battlefields of Sedan and Metz by the French Armies of Napoleon III.

By the time that Wilhem I passed away at the grand old age of ninety, France was fast assuming the mastery of continental europe. Tragically, his son (and the younger Wilhlem's father) Fredrick died only ninety-nine days later. However that historical accident presented the House of Hanover with an unexpected opportunity.

Because it allowed Queen Victoria I to modify the line of succession to permit the eldest child of either sex to ascend to the crown. By this time, the Hanovers were fairly confident that any popular resistance to Frederick was dissipated by the twenty-nine year old Wilhelm. He had after all lived in Britain since the age of twelve and was for all intents and purposes an Englishman. Moreover, he managed to season the hyper-masculine military culture of Prussia with a distinctly English flavour. For example, he cut a dashing figure at the Cowes Regatta where his masterful sailing performances had won the hearts and minds across the whole class system. Within a dozen years, he would be piloting the ship of state as she entered troubled waters.

He would reign as the King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death on 4 June 1941.

March 14

In 1820, on this day the Padre della Patria (Father of the Fatherland) Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso was born in the Palazzo Carignano, Turin. He was the eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Austria, styled as the Duke of Savoy prior to becoming King of Sardinia.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #4Although an Austrian Chancellor famously discounted the country as "ein geographiscer Begriff" (a geographic expression) it was Napoleon's peninsular campaign that gave Italians the contemporary experience of a national identity. Then the resulting peace settlement at the Congress of Vienna created a new Kingdom of Sardinia with title to the lands of Savoy, Piedmont, Nice, Liguria, Genoa, Cyprus and Jerusalem. And the House of Savoy played a pivotal leadership role in the long process of unification known as the Risorgimento and Vittorio Emanuele II was proclaimed the King of Italy. The statesman Massimo d'Azeglio famously declared "Now that we have made Italy, it is necessary for us to create Italians".

Of course there was no keener observer of the Risorgimento than Wilhelm I, King of Prussia. He hoped that the Hohenzollerns might emulate the success of the House of Savoy, assuming the role of President of the North German Confederation. But his dystopian vision of a Prussian dominated unified Germany was a different order of strategic threat, and the Austrians and French made sure that such a militaristic successor state never materialized. Much of the blame can be apportioned to Wilhlem I himself, who attempted to achieve unification the hard way, through bullying the Great Powers and also the other German states.

The decisive French victories at Metz and Sedan prompted Austria to enter the war and also the South Germans to switch sides. Then Paris and Vienna led a coalition of small German state to dismember Prussia and Russia broke policy to stand aside. The involvement of Russia, a Prussian ally during the later phase of the Napoleonic Wars, was a decisive historical accident caused initially by a scandalous liaison between a Prussian/North German ambassador and a female relation of the Czar. Ultimately, an accidental naval clash enabled the United Kingdom to provide a stand-off to Russian chauvinism. This was due to a failed Russian Navy attempt to intecept the Hohenzollerns fleeing by ship to exile in Great Britain.

August 26

In 1820, on this day the future Prince consort of the United Kingdom Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel (pictured) born at Schloss Rosenau in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #5At the age of twenty he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria, with whom he would ultimately have nine children. At first, Albert felt constrained by his position as consort, which did not confer any power or duties upon him. Over time he adopted many public causes, such as educational reform and a worldwide abolition of slavery, and took on the responsibilities of running the Queen's household, estates and office. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Albert aided in the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to show less partisanship in her dealings with Parliament-although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary.

But it was the Trent Affair that finally allowed the Prince Albert to emerge from his shadowy position as a foreign figurehead. When the forcible removal of Confederate envoys from a British ship by Union forces threatened war between the United States and Britain, Albert intervened to soften the British diplomatic response. More remarkably, he was at this time gravely ill, having been desperately unwell for two years. Although his physician William Jenner had diagnosed typhoid fever but it finally began to clear up by December of 1861. It would remain a cold, solemn Christmas, but, by spring, Albert would be well among the living.

A decade later, his diplomatic skills would be brought to the fore again during the break-up of the North German Confederation. Not only would he expedite the Hohenzollern flight to England during a naval clash in the North Sea with the Russian Navy, but he would also rise to the putative leadership of the independent German States. And as he increasingly assumed the role of elder statesman, he became a mentor to his eldest grandson, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht Hohenzollern. By 1897, he was long dead and Britain and France went to war over the Fashoda Crisis. Two years later, Wilhelm Hohenzollern would be crowned King of England. He would need every ounce of his grandfather's diplomatic skills to navigate the ship of state through uncertain waters. And perhaps even seek a restoration of the Prussian monarchy.

June 4

In 1941, on this day Wilhelm Hohenzollern died in Windsor Castle at the ripe old age of eighty-two. In a glorious forty-year reign he had unified Germany and added it to the British crown as a still more United Kingdom.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #6Of course this Germany was significantly smaller than the Prussian-dominated militaristic Imperium which his grandfather had dreamt of. This was because the Prussians were not the only race hoping to form a new state to give fuller expression to their national identity. Backed by the France, the January Uprising developed into a full scale Polish insurgency. The Poles defeated the Prussians in a miracle battle before they were overcome by the Tsarist Armies.

Prussia was saved, but the prestige of the dynasty was seriously damaged, The Hohenzollern were soon overthrown by the Junkers who opted to be a separate crown under the Russian Czar. A Prussian Diet with teeth was established, the military dismantled, and Otto Bismark made Chancellor of the new Russian Prussian state.

Although Wilhelm the Older was deposed as President of the now defunct North German Confederation, the Hohenzollerns were thrown a lifeline by Queen Victoria I. Alarmed by the prospect of a French-dominated Western Europe, she modified the line of succession so that the eldest child of either gender could ascend to the throne. And so six months after her own death, her daughter Queen Victoria II also perished, and Wilhelm became King of the United Kingdom and also Hanover. War with France over the Fashoda Crisis placed British troops in the Prussian Western territories up to the Ruhr. And following the death of Bismarck in 1898, many progressive German thinkers decided that they preferred Westminister to the Czar.

The final shape of the Fashoda War was a Catholic league in the south allied to Austria, a greater Russia up to (but excluding Berlin) and a greater Hanover whose representatives replace most of the Irish after Home Rule. The union of that greater Hanover and Great Britain (less Ireland) forced the United Kingdom eastwards and onto the continent of Europe. In a very real sense it was the realisation of centuries of Anglo-Saxon convergence.
This is the end of the Good Old Willie thread.

October 29

In 1914, on this day King William VI and his Liberal Cabinet Ministers secretly arrived in Austria-Hungary for a military conference with senior officers of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.). Thie article is a part of the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #7
Don't shoot the King, you will get the Prince of Wales in his place!
The primary outcome was a re-organization that created the First and Second Armies (a third, fourth and fifth being created later in the conflict) however the B.E.F. remained the official name of the British Army throughout the Great War. This development had been coming anyway, nevertheless the Generals needed to show some form of reluctant co-operation or even willingness to engage with the meddlesome monarch.

Erratic at the best of times, only two months earlier his beloved parents had been gunned down in cold blood by Slav nationalists on the streets of Vienna. It was a challenge that the German elite of Europe simply could not tolerate, and now British forces were fighting in Southern Europe alongside the Habsburgs and the Princes of German Confederation. The royal assassination was of course a nose-thumbing provocation that had needlessly triggered a preventative war to hold Austria-Hungary together. Perhaps "Good Old Willie" might have avoided the entanglement (one could never be too sure with the Hohenzollerns), but worse, William VI was the most hated man in Europe. His coronation as King of England had only whipped up a fresh wave of anti-Germanic feeling and disastrously had brought Tsarist Russia into the war as a belligerent power.

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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.