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Ties with France

Prince Albert had opportunities to travel in Europe as a teenager but the Queen’s first chance to venture abroad came thanks to an invitation from Louis-Philippe, King of the French, in September 1843. Victoria and Albert sailed across the English channel to Normandy to stay with their host and his family at the château d’Eu. The experience seemed like a ‘dream’ to Victoria, and an affectionate personal relationship developed between the two royal families, strengthened by several reciprocal visits.

1848, however, saw profound political upheaval in Europe, and Louis-Philippe’s abdication. With the advent of the Crimean War at the beginning of the next decade it was necessary for Victoria and Albert to forge an alliance with Emperor Napoleon III, Louis-Philippe’s successor. Despite initial reservations, the Queen and Prince came to admire the Emperor. He and his wife visited Windsor in April 1855, and Victoria and Albert made a return state visit to Paris that August.