Queen Victoria and the Crippled Kaiser

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QUEEN VICTORIA AND THE CRIPPLED KAISER is the tale of a terrified little boy with a secret disability, and a story that reveals how a poisoned family relationship helped shape the future of a continent. This carefully crafted documentary which features a long hidden cache of Royal letters was produced for Channel 4 in the U.K. for the Secret History series, which showcases the best in historical journalism. When Queen Victoria's eldest child, Vicky, married the German Crown Prince Frederick William in 1858, it was not just a marriage of love but an attempt to strengthen ties between two of Europe's greatest powers. But the plan went disastrously wrong. One year after her wedding, Vicky endured a difficult birth which almost ended her life and left her baby - the future Kaiser Wilhelm II - with a permanently paralyzed arm. His mother wrote she was haunted by the idea of him "remaining a cripple" and insisted that he hide his paralyzed arm throughout his life. QUEEN VICTORIA AND THE CRIPPLED KAISER, narrated by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey's Mr. Carson), is the story of Wilhelm II, revealing a secret story of child cruelty, shame and dark, incestuous desires, which begins behind palace doors and ends in the carnage of World War I. During Wilhelm's life, Vicky presided over a series of bizarre and often cruel attempts to cure him of his disability, one which was considered shameful at the time. Rather than being curative, these forced procedures created a highly dysfunctional relationship between mother and son. Wilhelm developed a growing hatred for his mother's country, while, at the same time, expressing his desire for "forbidden love" with her. According to experts who have uncovered new evidence of an incestuous obsession, this 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.

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