Every day, the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and Empress coming to this country.
His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, known and unknown to him, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in clubs, but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal. See more
As you know, from the first the King has thought the presence of the Imperial Family (especially the Empress) in this country would raise all sorts of difficulties, and I feel sure that you appreciate how awkward it will be for our Royal Family who are closely connected both with the Emperor and the Empress.
You probably also are aware that the subject has become more or less public property, and that people are either assuming that it has been initiated by the King, or deprecating the very unfair position in which His Majesty will be placed if the arrangement is carried out.
The King desires me to ask you whether after consulting the Prime Minister, Sir George Buchanan should not be communicated with, with a view to approaching the Russian Government to make some other plan for the future residence of their Imperial Majesties?
He must beg you to represent to the Prime Minister that from all he hears and reads in the press, the residence in this country of the ex-Emperor and Empress would be strongly resented by the public, and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and Queen…
Buchanan ought to be instructed to tell Milykov that the opposition to the Emperor and Empress coming here is so strong that we much be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian government’s proposal.
I think the King is placed in an awkward position.
If the Czar is to come here we are bound publicly to state that we (the Government) have invited him – and to add (for our own protection) that we did so on the initiative of the Russian Government (who will not like it).
I still think that we may have to suggest Spain or the South of France as a more suitable residence than England for the Czar.
As entirely my own personal view I do trust the whole question of the Emperor and Empress of Russia’s coming to England and also that of the proposal now made that the Grand Dukes George and Michael should do the same will be reconsidered. It will be very hard on the King and arouse much public comment if not resentment.
His Majesty’s Ministers quite realize the difficulties to which you refer in your letter, but they do not think, unless the position changes, that it is now possible to withdraw the invitation which has been sent, and they therefore trust that the King will consent to adhere to the original invitation, which was sent on the advice of His Majesty’s Ministers’.
The King has been thinking much about the Government’s proposal that the Emperor Nicholas and his family should come to England. As you are doubtless aware, the King has a strong personal friendship for the Emperor and therefore would be glad to do anything to help him in this crisis. But His Majesty cannot help doubting not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on the general grounds of expediency, whether it is advisable that the Imperial Family should take up their residence in this country. The King would be glad if you would consult the Prime Minister, as His Majesty understands that no definite decision has yet been come to on the subject by the Russian Government.