Queen Victoria visits Empres and Emperor aboad 'Bretagne', 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from the 'Illustrated London News'. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) met the Emperor Napoleon III (1808-1873), who had asumed the title of Emperor of France in 1852, and his wife the Spanish countes Eugenie de Montijo (1826-1920) aboard the 'Bretagne' at Cherbourg, France. Napoleon gave his country two decades of prosperity under a stable authoritarian government with the active support of his wife, who influenced Napoleon's foreign policy. His empire ended in defeat in the Franco-Prusian war of 1871.