Public Talk: "Monarchs, Diplomats and Human-Interest Journalists - A Berlin Wedding 1913"

The Zukunftskolleg invited everyone to the public talk led by Frank Mort.

We invited you to the public talk by Frank Mort (Department of History, University of Manchester, UK) entitled "Monarchs, Diplomats and Human-Interest Journalists - A Berlin Wedding 1913" on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 .

This was a joint event by the Zukunftskolleg and the Department of History.

Professor Frank Mort, Department of History, University of Manchester, UK (invited by Jacob Bloomfield)


Diplomatic and political historians have defined the European build up to the Great War as a watershed, dividing the old political world from the new - as a slide towards ‘the abyss’ for the monarchies of Europe and the start of a future dominated by democracy, not by kings and emperors. International royalty and local citizens were together for the marriage of the Kaiser’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria Louise, in Berlin in May 1913. Early experimental colour film captured part of the elaborate ceremony, where the Tsar, George V and Queen Mary were guests of the Kaiser, parading up and down Unter den Linden with their honour guards and decorations. Historians have cast the wedding as the last rendezvous of the ‘royal mob,’ before the war toppled Hohenzollerns, Romanovs and Hapsburgs alike. On the diplomatic front the meeting has been seen as a final family effort at what Johannes Paulmann has termed royal cosmopolitanism, in a Europe dominated by the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. But for the international press assembled at the show it was the crowds just as much as royalty who were pictured centre stage. Local Berlin women fought to see a display of the wedding dress, evoking Freudian readings of female hysteria in the newspapers. Journalists used the techniques of human-interest journalism to probe the personalities of the young married couple and their royal guests and to arouse the interest of an international reading public. Using the wedding as a historical snapshot, my paper compares the political and cultural performance of European royalties and their audiences the eve of war. It asks the question why and how the British monarchy successfully adapted to the challenges of democracy and mass society.