British Embassy, Paris
« I welcome the opportunity to contribute a preface to “Victoria en Savoie ” and pay tribute to the initiative of Claire Delorme-Pégaz and Josephine Fletcher and to the Grapevine Association for this project.
Queen Victoria knew France well and spoke French fluently. She exchanged visits with France’s leaders, starting with her family visits to King Louis Philippe at Eu in 1843 and 1845: the first visit by a reigning British monarch to France since Henry Vlll in 1520! With the Emperor Napoleon lll the official visits developed into a somewhat unexpected friendship between the two families: and Queen Victoria welcomed Napoleon and Eugenie to exile in England after 1870.
All this is well known to history. But Queen Victoria’s “coup de coeur ” for Aix-les-Bains towards the end of her life is much less well known. This book will put that right. With their researches, the authors have not only recovered many details of Queen Victoria’s three visits to Aix, but also captured the ambience of this resort in fin de siècle France.
As such, this book sheds valuable new light on one moment in the rich history of UK-French relations, and also shows us how one of the iconic figures of 19th Century found relaxation and contentment in a far corner of France. »
Sir Peter Ricketts
British Ambassador to France
21 June 2013