King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War

King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War

by Catrine Clay

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Overview

The extraordinary family story of George V, Wilhelm II, and Nicholas II: they were tied to one another by history, and history would ultimately tear them apart.

Drawing widely on previously unpublished royal letters and diaries, made public for the first time by Queen Elizabeth II, Catrine Clay chronicles the riveting half century of the royals' overlapping lives, and their slow, inexorable march into conflict. They met frequently from childhood, on holidays, and at weddings, birthdays, and each others' coronations. They saw themselves as royal colleagues, a trade union of kings, standing shoulder to shoulder against the rise of socialism, republicanism, and revolution. And yet tensions abounded between them.

Clay deftly reveals how intimate family details had deep historical significance: the antipathy Willy's mother (Victoria's daughter) felt toward him because of his withered left arm, and how it affected him throughout his life; the family tension caused by Otto von Bismarck's annexation of Schleswig and Holstein from Denmark (Georgie's and Nicky's mothers were Danish princesses); the surreality surrounding the impending conflict. "Have I gone mad?" Nicholas asked his wife, Alexandra, in July 1914, showing her another telegram from Wilhelm. "What on earth does Willy mean pretending that it still depends on me whether war is averted or not?" Germany had, in fact, declared war on Russia six hours earlier. At every point in her remarkable book, Catrine Clay sheds new light on a watershed period in world history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802718839
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 05/26/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 127,120
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Catrine Clay has worked for the BBC for more than twenty years, directing and producing award-winning television documentaries. King, Kaiser, Tsar is her third book, resulting from her documentary of the same title. She is married and lives in London with her three children.
Catrine Clay has worked for the BBC for more than twenty years, directing and producing award-winning television documentaries. King, Kaiser, Tsar is her third book, resulting from her documentary of the same title. She is married and lives in London with her three children.

Table of Contents


Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgements     xi
Note on Dates and Spellings     xiii
Family Tree     xiv
Introduction     1
Willy's Bad Start     5
Georgie, the Second Son     23
Nicky, the Third Cousin     41
The Education of Three Royal Cousins     59
Family Dramas     77
Family Strife     94
I Bide My Time     109
Willy, the Kaiser     128
A Wedding and a Betrothal     148
Nicky and Willy     167
Turn of the Century     185
Uncle Bertie and his Two Nephews     205
Willy and Nicky in Trouble     225
Dangerous Disagreements     244
Scandals and Rivalries     263
George Inherits the Throne at Last     283
Three Cousins Go to War     303
The End     324
Epilogue     352
Notes     361
Bibliography     388
Index     395

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King, Kaiser, Tsar 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
tigersteve More than 1 year ago
For anyone interested in a good basic overview of the major monarchies of Europe (except for Austria-Hungary) in the pre-WW1 period, this book is recommended. Although somewhat tedious at times, it does give the reader a good feel for how these three royal families dealt with each other, and the rarified air in which they lived, somewhat or completely out of touch with the real world. The author confirms the conventional wisdom about Tsar Nicholas being very congenial but ineffectual, eventually to a disastrous degree. King George V had little real impact on events, but did his best to live out his appointed role. And Kaiser Wilhelm II turns out to be the villain, but a sympathetic one to some extent, when one sees what he went through as a child and adult. That does not excuse his actions, but shows how complex a personality and family relationships can be, especially among royal cousins!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was well researched and does explain how three related cousins led the world to near destruction and the ovbvious pitfalls of having a monarchy. some are able to run it well and other not so well. anyone interested in europe prior to and through world war 1 would be able to gain something new.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always knew that George V of England, Wilhelm II of Prussia and Nicholas II of Russia were cousins, on an intellectual level, since they are all grandchildren of the great Queen Victoria. But I somehow never considered the idea that these royal cousins would have all known each other, and corresponded with each other, and even had fates that were destined to merge with World War I. As much the story of the Danish royal house into which two of the cousins married, this was a fascinating book, although the ending, with World War I, felt a little abrupt. Here's something I learned that will perhaps surprise few people - no one liked the Prussian.
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