Kaiser Wilhelm II’s unnatural love for his mother ‘led to a hatred of Britain’

Queen Victoria’s grandson had no time for nation from an early age

An unnatural love for his royal mother was at the heart of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s hatred of Britain in the years before the First World War, according to experts who have uncovered new evidence of an incestuous obsession.

The dysfunctional relationship came after a tormented childhood, the historian behind the research claims.

Wilhelm, the son of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter (also called Victoria but known as Vicky) and Prince Friedrich of Prussia, was born disabled. Queen Victoria sent one of her doctors to help deliver her grandson in 1859, but it went badly wrong, with Wilhelm suffering a permanently paralysed arm as a result of nerve damage during birth.

His childhood was spent enduring futile treatments ranging from having a freshly slaughtered hare wrapped around his arm, to electrotherapy treatment and metal restraints to keep his posture upright.

“It read like a gothic horror story, it really did, and it got worse, the further I got into it,” said British historian John Röhl, emeritus professor of history at Sussex University.

The German royal became fixated on his mother in an attempt to win her love, Professor Röhl argues. He has discovered letters, held in the private archive of Vicky’s great grandson Prince Rainer of Hesse, showing the Kaiser’s erotic longing for his mother. “Wilhelm gets a kind of crush on his mum. And he starts writing to her about this dream he keeps having,” he said.

In one letter, Wilhelm writes: “I have been dreaming about your dear soft, warm hands, I am awaiting with impatience the time when I can sit near you and kiss them but pray keep your promise you gave me always to give me alone the soft inside of your hand to kiss, but of course you keep this as a secret for  yourself.”

In another letter, he tells her: “I have again dreamt about you, this time I was alone with you in your library when you stretched forth your arms and pulled me down. Then you took off your gloves and laid your hand gently on my lips for me to kiss it...I wish you would do the same when I am in Berlin alone with you in the evening.”

The contents of the correspondence will be revealed in a new documentary Queen Victoria and the Crippled  Kaiser, on Channel 4 tomorrow evening at 8pm.

Dr Brett Kahr, a psychologist and trustee of the Freud Museum, said: “Wilhelm is devoting his sexual energies to his mother and in particular to part of his mother’s body, her very very beautiful hands. So I think he’s using his mother as a way of testing out these burgeoning erotic feelings in a way that almost borders on the incestuous.”

His mother did not respond in kind. Instead she chose to correct her son’s grammar, and Wilhelm became bitter towards her – and her country.  His hatred worsened in 1888 when a British doctor unsuccessfully attempted to treat his father, the Kaiser Friedrich, for throat cancer – prompting the outburst: “An English doctor crippled my arm and an English doctor is killing my father!” 

While Kaiser Wilhelm II attended Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901, barely a decade later Britain and Germany were at war. But by 1918, the Kaiser had fallen from grace, living in exile in the Netherlands, where he died in 1941.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone