At the Court festivities, which took place during the session of the United Diet, I was avoided in a marked manner both by the King and the Princess of Prussia, though for different reasons: by the latter because I was neither Liberal nor popular; by the former for a reason which only became clear to me later. When, on the reception of the deputies, he avoided speaking to me—when, in the Court circle, after speaking to every one in turn, he broke off immediately he came to me, turned his back, or strolled away across the room—I considered myself justified in supposing that my attitude as a Royalist Hotspur had exceeded the limits which the King had fixed for himself. Only some months later, when I reached Venice on my honeymoon, did I discover that this explanation was incorrect. The King, who had recognized me in the theatre, commanded me on the following day to an audience and to dinner; and so unexpected was this to me that my light travelling luggage and the incapacity of the local tailor did not admit of my appearing in correct costume. My reception was so kindly, and the conversation, even on political subjects, of such a nature as to enable me to infer that my attitude in the Diet met with his encouraging approval. The King commanded me to call upon him in the course of the winter, and I did so. Both on this occasion at smaller dinners at the palace I became persuaded that I stood high in the favor of both the King and the Queen, and that the former, in avoiding speaking to me in public, at the time of the session of the Diet, did not mean to criticize my political conduct, but at the time did not want to let others see his approval of me.
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VISIT TO PARIS
In the summer of 1855 Count Hatzfeldt, our ambassador in Paris, invited me to visit the Industrial Exhibition; he still shared the belief then existent in diplomatic circles that I was very soon to be Manteuffel’s successor at the Foreign Office. Although the King had entertained such an idea on and off, it was already then known in the innermost Court circles that a change had taken place. Count William Redern, whom I met in Paris, told me that the ambassadors continued to believe I was destined to be made a minister and that he himself had also believed this; but that the King had changed his mind—of further details he was ignorant. Doubtless since Ruegen.
August 15, Napoleon’s day, was celebrated among other ways by a procession of Russian prisoners through the streets. On the 19th the Queen of England made her entry, and on August 25 a State ball was given in her honor at Versailles at which I was presented to her and to Prince Albert.