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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE 
LIBRARY 




THE EARLY 
COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 




THE EARLY COURT 

OF / 

QUEEN VICTORIES. 1 



BY 

CLARE JERROLD 

AUTHOR OF 
The Fair Ladies of Hampton Court? Etc 



NEW YORK 

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
1912 



PREFACE 

No apology need be made for this book, though 
perhaps a reason for publishing it may be given. In 
these pages I have endeavoured to show Queen 
Victoria in her natural setting during her youth, hoping 
thereby to present her as a really human person. For 
twenty-five years at least the tendency among those 
who write has been so to overwhelm the late Queen 
with adulation that the ordinary reader turns from the 
subject in disgust. We are not fit for perfection; we 
believe that perfection is only an ideal one which 
would probably become insufferable were it to de- 
generate into actuality and when biographers, whose 
line, it is true, has been more or less laid down for 
them, depict Queen Victoria without fault and possess- 
ing almost preternatural wisdom and virtue, then there 
must be danger of unpopularity for the great Queen. 

As a child my loyalty was upset by the " I will be 
good" story, and in my childish heart I despised the 
childish utterer of that sentence. The fault of this lay 
not in the fact that the little Princess made an impul- 
sive resolution, but in the further fact that that story 
has been used as an example for other children by all 
adults who know it. When, at the second Jubilee, I 



vi PREFACE 

wrote an anecdotal life of the Queen, I was amused 
at the literature through which I had to wade for my 
facts. Taken in the mass, it became a paean of praise 
with every trace of real human lovableness erased. Of 
course, the person really to blame for this in the last 
resort was the Queen herself. For her one great fault 
was an exaggerated, indeed a morbid, belief in the 
infallibility, not of herself as a person, but of the 
Crown. Nothing angered her more than dissent 
from, or criticism of, the Crown. It was a 
curious position, for she practically was the 
Crown, and therefore the criticism of any public 
acts of hers, was doubly displeasing to her, as 
she considered that it was the highest dignity of the 
State, and not a mere person, which was belittled. 
Under such pressure even though it was unspoken 
its influence was felt writers wrote naturally that 
which would please, certainly that which would give 
no offence ; and they were not so much untrue to fact 
as vigilant that all adverse matter and circumstance 
should remain unchronicled. 

But those who talk of the late Queen do so in an 
increasing spirit of criticism, and this prompted me to 
endeavour to show the young Monarch as she really 
was, surrounded by the somewhat cruel limitations of 
her time a girl frank, loving, truthful, and admirable 
in many ways, yet one in whom the seeds of an undue 
pride had been planted and most earnestly fostered 
by those responsible in spite of which fact, however, 
a person much more lovable than any counsel of per- 
fection could possibly have produced. 



PREFACE vii 

My materials have been gathered largely from con- 
temporary journals and newspapers, and among the 
books to which I am indebted I must mention Lady 
Bloomfield's "Reminiscences" for some delightful 
pictures of Queen Victoria's life at the beginning of 
her reign. Mr. Sidney Lee's admirable " Life " has 
also been of use; while the correspondence of Her 
Majesty was more helpful in amplifying or supporting 
information already gained than in really supplying 
fresh facts. The trenchant remarks of Charles 
Greville and the terse, lively, and often amusing 
criticisms of Thomas Creevy also could not be ignored 
by any writer about public people in the 'thirties who 
wished to get a personal impression. 

HAMPTON-ON-THAMES, 
November, 1911. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES i 

CHAPTER II 
PRINCESS VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE . .30 

CHAPTER III 
PRINCESS VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 59 

CHAPTER IV 
PRINCESS VICTORIA'S SUITORS 82 

CHAPTER V 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 107 

CHAPTER VI 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 132 

CHAPTER VII 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 159 

CHAPTER VIII 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S PRIME MINISTER 183 

\ 

CHAPTER IX 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S LADIES AND LOVERS 208 

CHAPTER X 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 238 

ix 



x CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XI 

PACK 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 255 

CHAPTER XII 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 287 

CHAPTER XIII 
QUEEN VICTORIA'S EARLY MARRIED LIFE 312 

CHAPTER XIV 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S TORY MINISTRY .... . * . . 341 

CHAPTER XV 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME . ". . ,-, ... . . . 364 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Queen Victoria. (From a painting by W. C. Ross, A.R.A.) 

Frontispiece 
Queen Adelaide. (From a painting by Sir William 

Beechey in National Portrait Gallery) .' To face page 36 

William IV. ... . . 60 

*H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent . . 94 

* Lord Melbourne 118 

King Leopold of the Belgians. (From the drawing by 

Sir Thomas Lawrence, P. R. A.) ..... 138 

Hon. Mrs. Norton 150 

* Lord Brougham 165 

* Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland 176 

* Sir Robert Peel ... 210 

* Lady Tavistock 218 

* Lady Flora Hastings 258 

* Lady Portman . 274 

14. H.R.H. Prince Albert. (From a painting by Winter- 
halter in the National Portrait Gallery) . . 314 

Queen Victoria. (From the drawing by Drummond, 

1842) . . . v . . . . . . 338 

* The Duke of Wellington 352 

* Baron Stockmar . . . . . -.. . . . . 364 

N.B. The illustrations marked with an asterisk (*} are from the collection 

of Mr. A. M. Broadley. 

xi 



THE EARLY COURT 
OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

CHAPTER I 

PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 

* ' We are going presently to write our names for the Duchess 
oi Kent, who has produced a daughter." The Hon. Mrs. 
Calvert. 1819. 

THE DUCHESS OF KENT was not a very popular 
woman with the Guelph family. George IV. hated 
her, and made her less welcome than he had made her 
husband, his brother, to whom he intimated early in 
1819 that he would no longer be received at Court; 
William IV. did not like her when he was the Duke 
of Clarence, but his wife was so sorry for her sister-in- 
law's misfortunes that she showed her much kindness 
and affection until, holding the position of Queen her- 
self, she was obliged to resent the hauteur with which 
she was treated. The Fitzclarences, who surrounded 
William IV., had little reason to admire her, and the 
Tory Ministers found themselves treated by her with 
only spasmodic politeness. The people in general 
cared nothing one way or another until the Duchess 
displayed marked Whig tendencies, and then the Tory 
Press made a custom of criticising all that she did, 



2 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and displaying a wonderfully intimate knowledge of 
her affairs, private and public. . 

For nearly a quarter of a century the life of the 
Duchess in England was one of stress; indeed, one 
might repeat of her the oft-repeated words, she " was 
ever a fighter/' for she seemed always at variance with 
the reigning monarch. She owed the very rare ap- 
pearance of herself and her daughter in the Court of 
George IV. to the kind heart of Lady Conyngham, 
the King's mistress, who thereby earned Victoria's 
affectionate regard, in spite of her position. Of this 
lady, by the way, who was coarse, fair, dull, and by 
no means fascinating, and who succeeded Lady Hert- 
ford in the King's household, some wit said that in 
taking her George had exchanged St. James for St. 
Giles. 

By the time of William IV. the Duchess had become 
not simply a passive resister but an active agitator, 
and many scenes of anger took place between her and 
the King. Both George and William often renewed 
the threat of taking her child from her that the young 
Princess might be placed in the hands of someone more 
complacent to the Royal will. George would really 
have done this, but that the Duke of Wellington, who 
was his adviser, always temporised and put off the 
execution of the threat. When the Duchess became 
mother to the Queen of England, though things 
changed they were no better; but the details of the 
relationship between these two prominent people needs 
more than a paragraph in explanation. 

Yet we have much for which to thank the Duchess 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 8 

of Kent, in that she brought up her daughter in busi- 
ness habits, in purity of thought, and in all those 
virtues which make a good woman. Domestically she 
was a kind tyrant, necessarily an injudicious one, for 
tyranny is always injudicious. In following the life 
of the young Princess one wonders how much the 
mother, imposing a very restrictive rule upon the child, 
knew of that child's character. Obedient, dutiful, sub- 
missive, troubled openly only by occasional fits of 
rebellion and self-will, did Victoria in her early days 
ever foreshadow the revulsion against the maternal 
authority which seized upon her later? One would 
imagine not, or the Duchess would have become wiser 
in her treatment. As the girl grew towards womanhood, 
did she ever betray the growth of resistance, did she 
show that beneath all the quiet of the exterior lay an 
autocratic character which was only biding its oppor- 
tunity? and did her mother have any suspicion of 
what might happen between the years 1837 and 1841, 
which were to be the most anguished of her life, when 
she would be forced to realise that her too scrupulous 
care had brought her, not power and honour, but a 
determined and sustained indifference? 

When this girl of eighteen was proclaimed Queen 
of England no one knew whether to be glad or sorry. 
She was said to be shy, young for her age, and entirely 
subservient to her mother; indeed, as a person she 
was practically non-existent. It was the Duchess who 
counted, and absurd reports had been circulated in 
the papers as to the Camerilla at Kensington Palace, 
which aimed at securing Ministerial power on the death 

fi 2 



4 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of King William. As Victoria went to her Proclama- 
tion at St. James's Palace there was much curiosity 
shown, and but little cheering done on the way. In 
the courtyard of the Palace stood a great, observant 
crowd, silent until given the signal to cheer, and then 
its voice was led by the roar of Daniel O'Connell, the 
Liberator, for he considered that the chances, with a 
Radical faction at Kensington, were now in his favour. 

As for the Ministers, they knew no more of the 
fair Alexandrina Victoria than anyone else, and a con- 
temporary tells us that none of her acquaintances- 
friends she had scarcely any none of her attendants 
at Kensington, had any idea of what lay beneath the 
quiet, placid exterior, or could prophesy as to what she 
was capable of doing. Even the Duchess of Northum- 
berland, who had directed her studies for some years, 
was no better informed; for never during those years 
had she seen the child alone ; there had always been a 
third person present, either the Duchess or the 
Baroness Lehzen. Thus while some people regretted 
the death of a King who, in spite of his peculiarities, 
was a good man and a great improvement on those who 
had gone before him, the universal emotion concerning 
his successor was neither joy nor sorrow, but that of a 
vivid curiosity. 

Victoria was like an enchanted princess, around 
whom had been drawn a magic circle which rendered 
her invisible to all eyes. But she could see beyond 
its range, could watch the forces which made up the 
world she was about to enter, and learn more of her 
subjects than they had learned of her. From time to 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 5 

time, while imprisoned in her circle, disturbances from 
outside had affected her; she had felt some things 
keenly and despairingly, but with an imperturbable 
face she had let them pass by; she had been in hot 
rebellion often, but no one but herself, and perhaps 
her half-sister, Feodore of Leiningen, knew of it; she 
had longed for friends and companionship, and had 
engrossed herself in her studies, those futile studies 
thought the right thing for the girls of that day. Of 
these hidden things she did not speak, and she did not 
cry over them, for in her mother's house there had been 
no spot in which she could shed tears unseen. 

From -the day of her birth to her accession she had 
scarcely ever been alone for ten minutes at a time ! 
And doting biographers purr over this and say, 
" What an excellent mother ! " Here is a quotation 
in slipshod style from one such : " The exemplary 
mother had not allowed her daughter to be scarcely ten 
minutes together either by night or day out of her sight, 
except in her infant years during her daily airing and 
on the very rare occasions of her Royal Highness 
dining away from home." 

The biographers and gossipers about Victoria agree 
in speaking of the unremitting surveillance which was 
exercised over the young Princess. She was im- 
prisoned in a close atmosphere of love and tuition, and 
was never free to write a letter, to see a friend, or to 
think her own thoughts without the presence of her 
mother or the Baroness. It is very probable that for 
a long time she was unconscious that there was any- 
thing unusual in this, but it must have grown terribly 



6 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

burdensome to her, so much so that her first request as 
a Queen to her mother concerned this very point. She 
received the oaths of allegiance the day after King 
William died, and when this trying and tumultuous 
ceremony was over she sought her mother, allowing 
her overwrought nerves to find relief in tears, or, in the 
language of the day, "she flung herself upon her 
mother's bosom to weep." Being soothed into calm- 
ness, she said : 

" I can scarcely believe that I am Queen of Eng- 
land, but I suppose it is really true." 

On being reassured, she continued : 

" In time I shall become accustomed to my change 
of station ; meanwhile, since it is really so, and you see 
in your little daughter the Sovereign of this great 
country, will you grant her the first request she has 
had occasion in her regal capacity to put to you ? I 
wish, my dear mamma, to be left alone for two hours" 

The early writer who gives this incident sees no 
youthful tragedy in it, but goes off into paeans of praise 
for the careful and diligent mother. But it is scarcely 
to be marvelled at that the Queen in later days wrote 
of "her sad and unhappy childhood." Nor can we 
wonder that from the day of her first regal request to 
her mother she availed herself of the luxury of one or 
two quiet hours in each twenty-four to herself in her 
own room, with a locked door between herself and all 
the world. For years she clung to this privilege, 
which every ordinary girl would regard as a right. 

A letter written by Princess Feodore in 1843 to 
Queen Victoria shows how unremitting was the sur- 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 7 

veillance upon and how deep was the loneliness of the 
girl up to the time of her accession. Victoria had 
written from Claremont, and her half-sister answered : 
" Claremont is a dear quiet place ; to me also the 
recollection of the few pleasant days spent during my 
youth. I always left Claremont with tears for Ken- 
sington Palace. When I look back upon those years, 
which ought to have been the happiest in my life, from 
fourteen to twenty, I cannot help pitying myself. Not 
to have enjoyed the pleasures of youth is nothing, but 
to have been deprived of all intercourse, and not one 
cheerful thought in that dismal existence of ours, was 
very hard. My only happy time was going out driving 
with you and Lehzen; then I could speak and look 
as I liked. I escaped some years of imprisonment, 
which you, my poor darling sister, had to endure, after 
I was married. But God Almighty has changed both 
our destinies most mercifully, and has made us so 
happy in our homes which is the only real happiness 
in this life ; and those years of trial were, I am sure, 
very useful to us both, though certainly not pleasant. 
Thank God, they are over ! " 

What would any mother of to-day feel if one of 
her children, when grown up, could write to another 
in this way of their childhood ? It was a tragedy both 
for mother and children, only the mother perhaps 
never realised it, and she did not feel the results of it 
until the children had escaped her thraldom. " Poor 
little Victory ! " as Carlyle called her, looking back 
upon this, it is possible to forgive her for her subse- 
quent hardness to her mother, for she could not help 



8 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

it ; the hardness had been forced upon her by example 
and practice in her childish days. 

But to understand the life of our late Queen in its 
youth it is necessary to know its surroundings and 
background, and for this purpose an account of the 
Royal family which then existed seems desirable. 



King William IV. had, when comparatively young, 
married a pretty and delightful actress, who was 
known as Mrs. Jordan. He was a man of clean 
domestic life, and he persisted in regarding this lady 
as his lawful wife, and the children she bore to him 
nine in all as his lawful children. When Princess 
Charlotte died, however, he sacrificed himself and 
his wife upon the altar of expediency, and married 
Amelia Adelaide Louise Therese Caroline Wilhelmina 
of Saxe-Meiningen. She was twenty-six, plain, thin, 
sedate, reserved, and had been brought up in all the 
useless branches of "polite and useful learning," 
thought the correct thing for a lady of her position. 
She had no leaning towards gaiety, frivolity, or dress, 
and hated immorality and irreligion. She was, in fact, 
an " excellent selection," but she was also one of those 
people who are invariably described in negatives. 
Another woman might have had just the same appear- 
ance and thoroughly good character, and by adding to 
it a pleasant manner have been a favourite with every- 
one. But Adelaide's manner was bad, and she was 
generally disliked. William, however, found a good 
wife in her though there are some sly allusions to his 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 9 

being hen-pecked and little Victoria could always 
depend on kindly affection from Queen Adelaide. 

The Duchess of Clarence gave birth to two 
daughters, both of whom died in infancy, and she 
seems to have shown no jealousy of the little girl who 
would take the place which should have belonged to 
her own child had it lived. She was also always kind 
to her husband's exacting and loud-mannered children, 
the Fitzclarences, receiving them all as constant visitors 
at Windsor or St. James's, and making pets of their 
children. Thus at one time she had Lady Augusta 
Kennedy and four children staying at Windsor, while 
Lady Sophia Sydney and three children lived there; 
there was also a boy of Lady Falkland's with her. 
These eight grandchildren of the King's would play 
with the King and Queen in the corridor after lunch, 
and as a visitor to Adelaide once remarked, "It is so 
pretty to hear them lisp ' dear Queeny,' ' dear King.' ' 

Yet the conduct of the Fitzclarences to Adelaide was 
abominable, and Lord Errol the husband of the third 
daughter, Lady Elizabeth who had been appointed 
Lord Marischal of Scotland, was heard one day speak- 
ing in such an unpardonable way of the Queen in a 
public coffee-house that he was interrupted by cries 
of " Shame ! " from a gentleman present. Colonel 
Fox, who married Lady Mary, received the appoint- 
ment of Surveyor General of the Ordnance, and was 
made Aide-de-Camp to the King. Of the four sons, 
Lord Munster held several military appointments, 
received an annual allowance from the Privy Purse, 
and was given a property by his father-in-law, Lord 



10 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Egremont. Lord Frederick was a Colonel, and 
Equerry and Aide-de-Camp to his father. Lord 
Adolphus was a Captain in the Navy, Groom of the 
Robes, and Deputy-Ranger of Bushey Park; while 
Lord Augustus was Chaplain to the King, and held 
a valuable living at Mapledurham. This family was 
by no means popular, and was being constantly 
criticised by the newspapers. Said Figaro in London, 
in 1832 : "The brutal conduct of the Fitzclarences 
towards their poor weak old father has gained for them 
the name unnatural, instead of natural, children." 

It seems to have been agreed generally that the Fitz- 
clarences felt that the time of their harvest must be 
short, and that therefore it behoved them to make as 
much hay as possible. They badgered William for 
honours and promotions, and the King did what he 
could ; he was once heard complaining to one of his ad- 
mirals of this persecution, adding, " I had at last to 
make him a Guelphic Knight " (a Hanoverian honour). 
"And serve him right, your Majesty," replied the sea- 
man, imagining that some disgrace was implied. 

Once when George Fitzclarence demanded to be 
made a peer and to have a pension, and the King said 
he could not do it, all the sons struck work, or their 
pretence of work, thus in high life foreshadowing the 
doings of the workers of- a later time. George actually 
resigned his office of Deputy-Adjutant-General, and 
wrote the King a furious letter. This was awkward, 
because so long as these gentlemen drew their money 
through sinecures the public was willing to accept them 
fairly good-temperedly, but as avowed pensioners the 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 11 

outcry against them would have been overwhelming. 
The matter seems to have been smoothed over by the 
young man being made Earl of Munster. 

The Duke of Sussex had also an unrecognised 
family of two, Augustus and Ellen D'Este, who gave 
the King much trouble, and in revenge for their dis- 
appointment about places and honours published the 
Duke's letters to their mother, which caused consider- 
able scandal. 

Of Princess Victoria's uncles those who survived at 
her accession were the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke 
of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex. The Duke 
of Cambridge was Viceroy of Hanover during 
William's reign, and had one son, something of a 
weakling in his youth. 

It is necessary to refer at some length to the Duke 
of Cumberland, as he remained a thorn in the side of 
the Sovereign of England as long as he lived. He 
was a man of a violent temper and of a coarse, over- 
bearing disposition, his great desire being to work his 
way to the Throne of England. He had hung about 
George IV., guarding his own interests, keeping away 
from his Royal brother any person whom he thought 
might weaken his own influence, and strengthening, as 
far as he could, the idea, which arose from what were 
considered the eccentricities of Clarence, that the latter 
was afflicted by periods of insanity. 

Yet from contemporary sources there is evidence that 
King George had no love for Cumberland. Lord 
Ellenborough, in his " Political Diary," notes in 1829, 
' The King, our master, is the weakest man in England. 



12 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

He hates the Duke of Cumberland. He wishes his 
death. He is relieved when he is away ; but he is afraid 
of him, and crouches to him." Again, when the Catholic 
Emancipation Bill was being fought, Cumberland in- 
sisted upon coming back to England for it. Attempts 
were made to stop him, but he either missed or passed 
the messengers. Of this Ellenborough writes, " The 
King is afraid of him, and God knows what mischief 
he may do. However, there is no possibility of form- 
ing an anti-Catholic Government, and that the King 
must feel." Poor George ! Thenceforth he had his 
Government at one ear and Cumberland at the other, 
drawing from the diarist the remark : " In fact, the 
excitement he is in may lead to insanity, and nothing 
but the removal of the Duke of Cumberland will 
restore him to peace." In his last illness George IV. 
refused to see his brother. 

When William ascended the Throne there was little 
for Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, to do but to 
make the best of it. But beyond that, however, he 
made various attempts to be disagreeable. Thus Lord 
Ellenborough mentions that the Duke of Wellington 
intended to go down to Windsor on the morrow, as the 
Duke of Cumberland meditated making a raid on the 
late King's papers. Cumberland was probably re- 
membering the example of his eldest brother, who, 
many years earlier, when George III. was ill, took it 
upon himself to examine his father's private papers, 
and thus brought about a right royal row. 

During George IV.'s reign, Cumberland had kept 
his horses in the Queen's disused stables, which, when 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 13 

Adelaide was translated to the kingly palace, were 
needed for her use. So King William requested his 
brother to remove his horses to make room for the 
Queen's ; to which the Duke answered politely that " he 
would be damned if they should go." However, on 
being told that unless he moved them the King's 
grooms had orders to turn them out the next day, he 
sulkily succumbed. He had, in fact, hoped to retain 
in the new reign all the privileges he had secured 
during the former, and could not take his disappoint- 
ment manfully; thus he had arrogated to himself the 
sole dignity of Gold Stick, an honour that had always 
been divided among the three Colonels of the 
Guards; and when William restored things to their 
former position it entailed opposition on the part of 
Cumberland, who countermanded the King's orders 
about the Guards at his Coronation, which, of course, 
was followed by further humiliation for the Duke. 

But Cumberland's chief exploit was his leadership of 
the Orange Lodges, which aimed at protecting Pro- 
testantism from all Popery. As the Duke's ambition 
grew, he began to see in this organisation the help it 
might be to him, and he taught various lessons to the 
emissaries who were sent over the country to form new 
Lodges. One of the cries towards the end of George's 
reign was that the members should " rally round the 
Throne," and then it was asserted that the Duke of 
Clarence was insane, and that the Duke of Wellington 
was aiming at the Crown. This was spoken of at first 
vaguely as " a wild design in embryo," and " a wild 
ambition" by Lieutenant-Colonel Fairburn, Cumber- 



14 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

land's accredited agent. This gentleman was afraid 
of naming names, and classed the Iron Duke among 
the "grovelling worms who dare to vie with the 
omnipotence of Heaven/' In another letter he said : 

" One moreover of whom it might ill become me to 
speak but in terms of reverence, has nevertheless been 
weak enough to ape the coarseness of a Cromwell, thus 
recalling the recollection to what would have been far 
better left in oblivion, his seizure of the diadem with 
his placing it upon his brow, was a precocious sort of 
self inauguration/' This alluded to the widespread 
opposition to the raising of Wellington to the Peerage. 

Several newspapers became infected by the Orange- 
men, members of whose organisation were to be found 
in the Army, the Church, and among the rank and file 
of the Members of Parliament. A daily journal in 
1830 declared first that George the Fourth was not 
as ill as he was said to be, and was amusing himself 
by writing the bulletins about his health, secondly that 
the next in succession (the Duke of Clarence) would 
be incapable of reigning " for reasons which occasioned 
his removal from the office of Lord High Admiral," 
and that a military chief of most unbounded ambition 
would disapprove of a maritime Government, thirdly 
that the second heir-presumptive was "not alone a 
female but a minor," and that therefore a bold effort 
should be made to frustrate any attempt " at a vicarious 
form of government." 

However, in spite of Cumberland's ambition, and of 
the public recognition of that ambition, William the 
Fourth came to the throne, but his brother did not for 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 15 

at least twelve or thirteen years more give up all hope 
of reigning in England. He still fostered the Orange 
Lodges, and when it was seen that William would be 
obliged to assent to the Reform Bill, the Orange 
speakers sounded their audiences as to whether, if 
William were deposed, they would support Cumber- 
land in an attempt to become his successor. 

This scheme not coming off, the Duke went on 
building up his power until Joseph Hume brought 
the whole thing before Parliament in 1836, when the 
startling disclosures then made caused the suppression 
of the Orange Lodges. It was asserted that the Duke 
of Cumberland, as Grand Master of the whole associa- 
tion, was a dangerous man. The Lodges all regarded 
him as their political leader; he was called the Supreme 
Head of the Grand Orange Lodge of Great Britain 
and Ireland; it was laid down that his pleasure was 
law, and that the Orangemen were bound to obey his 
summons and do his will for whatever purpose he 
desired. There were 15,000 Lodges in Ireland, with 
a membership of 200,000 arm-bearing men; and 1,500 
Lodges in England, besides some in the Colonies. 
Thus the Duke had the unquestioning obedience of 
300,000 men 40,000 in London alone. Meetings 
were called in Ireland of ten, twenty, and even thirty 
thousand men. From all this Joseph Hume not un- 
wisely inferred that it was time to consider whether the 
Duke of Cumberland was King or subject. 

The whole matter made a tremendous public impres- 
sion, and there were rumours that the Princess Victoria 
was in danger of her life from these secret enemies. 



16 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

At a public dinner in Nottingham the chairman, a Mr. 
Wakefield, said that the hope of the English people 
"was founded on the way in which the illustrious 
Princess was educated, which gave them every reason 
to believe that her attachment to this country was such 
that her reign provided she lived would be a bless- 
ing at large. The toast he would propose was The 
Princess Victoria, and may the machinations against 
her surfer the same fate as the Orange conspiracy." 

One of the newspapers of the day endeavoured to 
comfort her for any fears she might have had by the 
following lines : 

" Oh, fear not, fair lily, our country's just pride, 

The hypocrite's schemes or the traitor's foul band; 
The firm knights of Britain will range by thy side 
And proclaim thee hereafter the Queen of our land. 

By virtues illustrious, the gem of our isle 
Around thee will range in the time of alarm, 

Those friends whose attachment no fiend shall beguile, 
For the isle that has reared thee shall shield thee from 
harm." 

Other papers were much more emphatic, not so much 
in expressing a desire to save the Princess from harm 
as in an attempt to accuse Cumberland of evil inten- 
tions. The Satirist, for instance, published a cartoon 
showing Cumberland smothering someone in bed, with 
Queen Adelaide looking on from the doorway. On 
the bed hangings is embroidered a crown above a large 
" V," and beneath the picture are the following lines : 

l< Can such man live to crush the nation's choice, 
Which after years of blood would now rejoice? 
Will a fond people yield their mighty throne 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 17 

To that base heartless prince, whom all disown? 
Blest day, when their loud voices shall decree 
This land from such a monster shall be free." 

Elsewhere the Duke is represented in the company 
of the Bishop of Salisbury, Sir Charles Wetherell, and 
Billy Holmes,* among whom the following scrap of 
conversation passes : 

" Cum. A brother's brat between me and the Crown ! 
Bish. Yet there are means ! 
Holmes. Poison, for instance. 
Weth. Or a razor. 

Cum. (with a fiendish laugh}. Ay, a razor, if nothing 
better serve." 

With such open condemnation as this from any 
paper, even though it were one which from its very 
name existed to draw attention to irregularities and 
unpopular people, there was nothing for the Duke to 
do but to dissociate himself from all suspicious connec- 
tions. Whether he was a most horribly libelled man or 
whether he had been intriguing as affirmed, it is a 
matter of history that in March, 1836, he iff the name 
of the Orange Lodges signified his submission to the 
Royal will that those Lodges should be dissolved. 

Like all the Guelphs, the Duke was curiously out- 
spoken. For instance, he would take into his con- 
fidence someone near his person and tell how he longed 
to be King, adding that he was much more fit to be 
King than his brother, who might be a good sailor, 
but who was kingly neither in looks nor manners. 

The writer of a delightful book of gossip, published 
some years ago, entitled " Tales of my Father," gives 

* William Holmes, D.C.L., "the adroit and dexterous Whip 
of the Tory Party." 

C 



18 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

a very definite form to this absorbing ambition. The 
Duke and William IV. were dining alone together at 
Windsor, the Queen being ill, and the suite dining in 
an adjoining room. The sound of loud voices reached 
those without, for both brothers had drunk too much; 
then the Duke ordered the doors to be opened and 
proposed " The King's Health. God save the King ! " 
at which the suite dutifully entered and drank. Then 
the Duke asked permission to propose another toast. 

" Name it, your Grace," answered the King. 

" The King's heir, and God bless him! " proudly 
responded the Duke. 

These audacious words were followed by a dead 
silence, the two brothers staring at each other, after 
which William rose, held his glass high, and cried, 
' The King's heir ! God bless her! " Then throwing 
the glass over his shoulder, he turned to his brother 
and exclaimed, " My crown came with a lass, and my 
crown will go to a lass." 

The Duke did not drink the toast, but left the room 
abruptly, scarcely bowing to his brother as he passed. 

The verses and allusions quoted speak plainly to 
the extraordinary dislike which was felt for the Duke ; 
he was suspected of horrible crimes, and though pub- 
licly pronounced innocent, was still suspected. The 
allusion in the verses to blood and a razor referred to 
an alleged attempt made upon the Duke's life in 1810 
by one of his valets. In the summer of that year 
Cumberland was found in his apartments in St. James' 
Palace wounded in six different places, and the valet 
was found in his bed with his throat cut. The decision 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 19 

upon this was that for some unknown reason the ser- 
vant had attacked his master and had then gone back 
to his room and cut his throat in bed. The evidence 
was just shaky enough to leave doubt, for there were 
peculiar features, blood being found all about the 
man's room, even in the wash basin, but the judge's 
decision was, of course, a foregone conclusion. Popular 
opinion decided, however, that the Duke had met with 
his injuries while his man fought for his life, but 
naturally any hardy editor who allowed such an idea 
to be published received punishment. 

In 1829 Cumberland's reputation suffered a worse 
shock in the revelations made by a certain Captain 
Garth, who found a box of letters hidden in the house 
of his putative father, General Garth. These letters 
threw an amazing light on his own birth, showing that 
he was the son of the Duke of Cumberland and of 
Princess Sophia. Captain Garth appointed a Mr. 
Westmacott, while the Duke or George IV. appointed 
Sir Herbert Taylor, the King's private secretary, to 
arrange matters, and in spite of the fact that the Duke 
and the Royal Family denied everything, an agreement 
was come to by which Garth was to receive 2,400 
a year as annuity, and a sum of 8,000 down to pay 
his debts, on condition that he should forget the box 
and its contents. The matter was almost forgotten 
when Garth filed a bill in Chancery to prevent West- 
macott from disposing of the box, because he had only 
received 3,000 on account and had been refused the 
rest. So the sordid affair was once again dragged 
through the columns of every paper. Sir Herbert 

C 2 



20 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Taylor explained that the failure to keep the arrange- 
ment was caused by the fact that Garth had told the 
secrets in the box to other people, and had kept copies 
of the letters. All the dailies and weeklies had their 
varying articles upon this, and then publicly the 
matter died out. Garth was probably squared. 
Whether his tale was true or false it had this justifica- 
tion, that General Garth was believed according to 
the " Annual Register " to have had a son by a lady 
of very illustrious birth, and it was further said that 
George III. had induced the General to accept the 
paternity of the boy. Earl Grey notes, however, in a 
letter to Princess Lieven, that " the renewed attack 
on the subject of Garth looks like a renewed appre- 
hension of the effects of Cumberland's influence on 
the King. 55 

Quite apart from this charge, Cumberland was un- 
scrupulous in his amours, and one is constantly coming 
across references to this vice; thus Lord Ellenborough 

notes, in 1830: "The suicide of on account of 

his wife's seduction by the Duke of Cumberland, will 
drive the Duke of Cumberland out of the field." 

Cumberland had one legitimate son, Prince George, 
who is described as a beautiful boy, tall, slim, upright, 
with fair hair and fresh complexion, his eyes always 
partly shut, for, poor lad, he was blind. He knew little 
of his cousin Victoria, though he often wished to know 
her better, but the Duchess was from the first afraid of 
any matrimonial entanglement with her husband's 
family, and would not let the young people meet of tener 
than she could help. 

The Duke of Sussex was very different from his 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 21 

brother, being a kindly, amiable man, and the most 
popular of the Princes. He was a lover of books and 
of philosophy ; but Creevy said of him that " he never 
says anything that makes you think him foolish, yet 
there is a nothingness in him which is to the last degree 
fatiguing." He married Lady Augusta Murray, 
daughter of the fourth Earl of Dunmore, in 1793, the 
marriage being dissolved in the following year as con- 
trary to the Royal Marriage Act a fact which did not 
trouble the Duke much until his inclination led him 
to break with Lady Augusta. Their son Augustus was 
born in 1794, and their daughter in 1801. Long before 
Augusta's death in 1830 the Duke of Sussex had taken 
as a second partner in life Lady Cecilia, daughter of 
the Earl of Arran, and widow of an attorney knight of 
the unromantic name of Buggin. It seems a pity that 
Lady Augusta, who was of Royal blood, should have 
had to give place to one owning such a name ! How- 
ever, Lady Cecilia took her mother's name of Under- 
wood, and was known by it until, in 1840, the Duke 
went through the long-delayed form of marriage 
with her, and Queen Victoria created her Duchess of 
Inverness. 

The Princess Victoria had a real affection for her 
uncles, King William and the Duke of Sussex, but 
Cumberland she always abhorred, probably not for his 
immorality they were all immoral but on account of 
the hatred he felt for her and her mother, and for the 
jbrutality of his nature, which made him subject to 
paroxysms of passion, during which everyone, even his 
wife, feared him. 

It is curious to realise that Queen Victoria, who laid 



22 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

such stress upon the purity of her Court, and who did 
much to revolutionise society in this regard, was sur- 
rounded by people who openly defied the laws, written 
and unwritten. In later life she would not allow near 
her Throne a woman against whom there had been a 
breath of scandal, but in the early days of her reign 
she was surrounded by men who were smirched and 
dishonoured by loose living. To her, indeed, there 
was one law for men and another for women, and 
in spite of the terrible lesson she received in 1839 
to be dealt with in a later chapter she held to that 
attitude throughout her life. 

One other person who, besides her mother, 
dominated the Princess's daily existence was her 
uncle, Prince Leopold, her mother's brother. As the 
husband of Princess Charlotte he drew an income of 
50,000 from this country, and had been given Clare- 
mont as a dwelling. These he retained after the death 
of his wife in 1816, living partly in London and partly 
at Claremont. He led a quieter, more sedate life than 
did the Guelphs, was precise in his ways, prided him- 
self highly on his fine manners, and was cordially 
detested by the English Princes and Peers. The fact 
that he did not drink angered both George IV. and 
William IV., while his affectation of superiority 
annoyed his associates, and his reputation for meanness 
brought him sneers from everyone. 
. George IV. showed him almost from the first what 
a gulf in manners there was between them, and did 
not trouble about the fact that he himself was the one 
that lacked them. At a Levee which he held in 1821 
he deliberately turned his back upon his son-in-law. 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 23 

The Prince did his best to carry off the matter in a 
dignified way; he is said not to have altered a muscle 
of his face, but to have approached the Duke of York, 
saying to him in a loud tone, " The King has thought 
proper to take his line, and I shall take mine" He 
then left the assembly. 

Some hints of Leopold's character may be given 
in his own words words which betray at once his 
pedantry and his absolute lack of humour. In a letter 
to the young Queen, in which he tried to explain the 
character of Princess Charlotte, he said : " The most 
difficult task I had was to change her manners; she 
had something too brusque and too rash in her move- 
ments, which made the Regent quite unhappy, and 
which sometimes was occasioned by a struggle between 
shyness and the necessity of exerting herself. I had, 
I may say so without seeming to boast, the manners of 
the best society of Europe, having early moved in it, 
and been what is called in French de la fleur des pois. 
A good judge I therefore was, but Charlotte found 
it rather hard to be so scrutinised, and grumbled 
occasionally how I could so often find fault 
with her." 

Leopold could not understand a joke; chaffing or 
quizzing always raised his displeasure ; and indeed he 
seems somewhat to have merited, by his manner alone, 
some of the severe criticisms lavished upon him. How 
much of the feeling against him was prompted by 
insular prejudice, how much was jealousy, and how 
much personal dislike, it is difficult to say, but there 
was probably something of all three to account for it. 

As far as the Royal Dukes' feelings went, there was 



24 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

some justification for jealousy. Leopold, a foreign 
Prince, was being allowed from the Civil List an 
annual 50,000, having been for only about a year 
the husband of the Heir-Apparent. The Royal Dukes 
of England were receiving only 18,000 and 24,000 
each, and they were the sons and brothers of Kings 
of England. However, the sharp-tongued Creevy, 
who could not have been personally affected, spoke of 
him always as Humbug Leopold, and one of the 
Fitzclarences said in 1824 that the Duchess of Clarence 
was the best and most charming woman in the world, 
that Prince Leopold was a damned humbug, and that 
he (Fitzclarence) disliked the Duchess of Kent. 

But whatever the popular opinion concerning him, 
Leopold, when his sister became a widow, was a shield 
between her and the world. The Duke of Kent was 
taken ill in Sidmouth, and two days before he died 
Prince Leopold went thither to do what he could 
for his sister. One cannot help wondering how it was 
that the Duke struggled on so long with the burden 
of worries that he had to bear. After his marriage 
he lived in Germany until the prospect of an heir 
brought him and his wife to England. His income 
was then little or nothing, for he had been obliged to 
make an assignment of his property to his creditors, 
to work off debts contracted partly when, as a young 
man, he had been allowed by his tutor, Baron Wangen- 
heim, the princely income of thirty shillings a week 
as pocket-money, the remainder of 6,000 a year being 
used by the Baron, who was astute enough to intercept 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 25 

the Prince's letters home. The Duchess of Kent had 
a jointure of ,6,000 a year, and upon this they lived. 
From his youth to his death the Duke was worried by 
the lack of money and by creditors, through no extrava- 
gance of his own, as well as by the enmity of his 
brother, the Regent. 

When the Duke of Kent died, Leopold was the 
only friend the Duchess had in England, and he went 
through the affairs of his late brother-in-law, finding 
to his consternation that there was not enough money 
left even to carry the family back to London, or to 
pay for the necessary winding up of affairs at Sid- 
mouth. George IV. would give no help of any sort; 
he hated the Duchess, as he did most of his brothers' 
wives, and his one idea was to cause her to take her 
child back to Germany and relieve him and the country 
entirely of any obligation towards them. However, 
the Duchess and her brother came to the conclusion 
that they should resist this desire with all their strength, 
and to make things easier Leopold added to his 
sister's six thousand a year an annual amount of 
3,000. For decency's sake the King had to 
give them a roof over their heads, and he assigned 
to the Duchess some rooms in Kensington Palace. I 
have come across fatuous biographies of Queen 
Victoria in which Leopold has been extolled for his 
liberality to his sister, as a noble brother, &c., but when 
the position is regarded in a detached way the absurdity 
and injustice of the whole arrangement is patent. The 
alien Leopold was drawing, as has already been said, 



26 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

50,000 a year from the English Exchequer, having 
no obligations upon him of any sort, no Royal position 
to keep up, while his sister, the wife of the King's 
brother, and mother of the probable Queen of England, 
had less than an eighth of that amount, was allowed 
nothing more from the Government, and was expected 
to be very grateful to Leopold in that he handed over 
to her a little of the money that he received. Six 
years later a sum of six thousand was annually allowed 
the Duchess by the Government for the education of 
her daughter, and in 1831, when the Princess Victoria 
was needing yet more in the way of instruction, training, 
and social necessities, another 10,000 brought her 
income up to 22,000 a year, more than her poor 
husband had ever owned. 

Until 1831 Leopold lived at Claremont, cultivated 
its gardens to the utmost, and provoked much criticism 
for the business-like way in which he sent the produce 
up to London. Claremont became also a country- 
house residence for the Duchess of Kent and her little 
daughter, Victoria looking back upon the comparative 
freedom she enjoyed there as helping to make those 
visits the happiest events of her early life. Then came 
the demand for a King for Greece, and Leopold had 
the chance of securing the position, George, however, 
remarking that if he did go to Greece he should leave 
his income behind him. There is no doubt that an 
affluent, objectless life in England had its charms, and 
that a man might pay too dearly for wearing the crown 
of a small unsettled kingdom surrounded by enemies. 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 27 

So Leopold vacillated, always leaning with each swing 
a little nearer the crown, yet wishing to retain the 
money. The newspapers of the day were full of the 
money part of the transaction. First, would the coun- 
try buy of him the land he had purchased here, valued 
at fifty thousand or thereabouts? would England 
guarantee him a loan of 1,500,000? would England 
give him for seven years an annual 70,000 instead 
of 50,000? From month to month negotiations 
dragged on, until at last it was announced that Leopold 
had got the promise of all he desired, and by that time 
George IV. was very ill. So the Prince, with new 
ideas in his mind, waited for nearly two months more 
before even then making his decision, raising many a 
laugh and many a scoffing hint in society as to his real 
reason. " Ingoldsby " Barham crystallised some of the 
sayings in his verses upon "The Mad Dog," as 
follows : 

"The Dog hath bitten Oh, woe is me 
A Market Gardener of high degree; 
Imperial Peas 
No longer please, 

An Imperial Crown he burneth to seize ! 
Early Cucumbers, Windsor Beans, 
Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Broccoli, Greens, 
Girkins to pickle, Apples to munch, 
Radishes fine, five farthings a bunch, 
Carrots red and Turnips white, 
Parsnips yellow no more delight, 
He spurneth Lettuces, Onions, Leeks, 
He would be Sovereign King of the Greeks. 
No more in a row 
A goodly show. 



28 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

His Highness 's carts to market go! 
Yet still I heard Sam Rogers hint, 
He hath no distaste for celery or mint. 

A different whim 

Now seizeth him, 
And Greece for his part may sink or swim. 

For they cry that he 

Would Regent be, 
And Rule fair England from sea to sea. 

Oh, never was mortal man so mad, 

Alack! alack, for the Gardener lad." 

When it was certain that George IV. could not 
recover, Leopold declined the honour of being King 
of Greece, upon which Barham wrote the following 
verse : 

" A King for Greece ! a King for Greece ! 
Wanted a Sovereign Prince for Greece ! 

For the recreant Knight 

Hath broken his plight, 
Some say from policy, some from fright, 
Some say in hope to rule for his niece, 
He hath refused to be King over Greece." 

Thomas Creevy wrote concerning this decision in 
one of his letters, " I suppose Mrs. Kent thinks her 
daughter's reign is coming on apace, and that her 
brother may be of use to her as versus Cumberland." 

In 1831 Leopold became King of the Belgians, and 
then, attention having been so thoroughly drawn to his 
pension, a determined demand was made that it should 
cease when he left England. Matters were not settled 
quite so simply. Leopold retained Claremont, stipu- 
lated that his debts of 83,000 should be paid for him, 
and that he should return four-fifths of the annuity. 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S RELATIVES 99 

When the Duke of Kent had died crushed with debt, 
not so much more than this sober gentleman owed, that 
debt was left to hang round the necks of his widow 
and child. The Duke of Kent was popular, Leopold 
was not; yet the former was neglected and the latter 
was honoured. Really there seems little advantage in 
being popular ! 

When Leopold announced with some solemnity that 
he was called to reign over four million noble Belgians, 
Coleridge, referring to that country's discontented 
state, remarked that it would have been more appro- 
priate if he had said that he was called to rein in four 
million restive asses. 






CHAPTER II 

PRINCESS VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 

" A country gentleman going to the theatre when William IV. 
was there would not believe the King was King because he 
was not wearing his crown ; being almost persuaded, he looked 
more closely and then was quite sure that William was not the 
King, for the Lion and the Unicorn did not hang down on 
each side of him, and he had always been taught and implicitly 
believed that the King of England had never had any other 
arms than these." Contemporary Gossip. 

FROM what has been said of the treatment given to 
the Duchess of Kent it can hardly be wondered at that 
she turned from the whole Royal family, though she 
could not always resist the kindness of the Duchess 
of Clarence, who came to weep with her and to admire 
the fat, good baby. The Duke of Sussex, too, did 
his best to show by his visits and advice that she might 
rely upon his friendship, but on the whole the resent- 
ment felt by the widowed mother was so keen that she 
would do nothing to conciliate the people among whom 
she thought it wise to live. Thus until the death of 
William IV. in 1837 there were constant royal dis- 
putes, which increased in bitterness as Victoria neared 
her majority. 

The Duke of Wellington sometimes took an active 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 81 

part in trying to make things run smoothly for the 
Duchess, even against her will. For instance, he knew 
not only the Duke of Cumberland's sentiments about 
her, but he knew also that Cumberland was an ugly 
hater. He had married in 1815 and his wife was not re- 
ceived by his mother, Queen Charlotte, so the Duchess 
of Kent, following her lead, took no notice of the 
Duchess of Cumberland when she came to take up her 
residence in England. Upon this, the Duke of 
Wellington told Leopold to advise his sister to write 
regretting that she was unable to welcome her on her 
arrival, and so was prevented from calling. When 
the lady of Kent got the message she wanted to know 
why she should do this thing, and Wellington replied 
that he should not tell her why, that he knew what 
was going on better than she did, and advised her for 
her own sake to do as he suggested. The Duchess 
returned that she would give him credit for counselling 
her well, and did as he suggested. For this act of 
politeness she reaped her reward in remaining un- 
troubled for a long time by any active show of enmity 
from the Duke of Cumberland. 

As a matter of fact, the Duchess of Kent had her 
share of the Teutonic quality of self-complacence; 
she was a strong woman who knew her own mind and 
who had very definite aims in life, and she did not 
think it worth while to placate anyone. Either anger 
against the Royal Family made her continually show 
haughtiness to them, or she was obsessed by a sense of 
the very important position she held as mother of a 
possible Sovereign of England. A weaker person, 



32 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

possessing a greater charm and tact, and imbued with 
less determination to secure her own rights, would have 
sailed serenely and almost unconsciously through 
troubles which the Duchess always met more than half- 
way, if she did not actually cause them. Perhaps had 
she insisted less definitely upon recognition for herself, 
that recognition would have been more freely accorded. 

It was even more difficult for her to meet William IV. 
cordially than George IV. for the reason that they 
not only met more often, but that, while William readily 
recognised the child as his probable successor, George 
had for years refused to see her. It was not until 
Victoria was seven that she and her mother received 
an invitation to go to Windsor, and there is recorded 
an incident of that visit which, though amusing, is 
somewhat provocative of cynicism. George told this 
infant to choose a tune for the band to play, and she 
gave the diplomatic answer that she wanted them to 
play "God save the King." One wonders whether 
she had run to an astute mother for advice, whether it 
was her favourite tune in actual fact, or whether the 
unwonted delights of her visit, and the kindness of 
George, the hitherto unknown uncle, made her spon- 
taneously think of the air which would best please 
him. Whatever the motive had been, it was a clever 
reply. 

When William IV. became King in 1830 he desired 
that the Princess Victoria should attend the Court 
functions, and we are given a ludicrous picture of this 
child of eleven, dressed in a long Court train and a 
veil reaching to the ground, following Queen Adelaide 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 33 

at a chapter of the Order of the Garter held at St. 
James' Palace. She was also present at the proroga- 
tion of Parliament, and attended her first Drawing 
Room in February, 1831, in honour of the Queen's 
birthday. Royalties of the time were inconsistent with 
regard to their birthdays. Thus on this occasion 
Adelaide's natal day was honoured in February, while 
in 1836 it was kept in August. In that latter year, too, 
according to the papers, the King's birthday was cele- 
brated both in May and August ! But the Duchess 
did not willingly allow her child to go to Court. She 
may have feared the influence of the coarse manners 
and uncontrolled tempers shown by the Princes, but 
this could not have been an excuse for slighting Queen 
Adelaide. However, there is no record from her own 
pen of the reason which induced her to keep Princess 
Victoria at home. 

As soon as King George was dead, the Duchess 
made the first false move in her relations with William. 
She was too anxious for recognition, too eager to secure 
what she thought was due to her, and she did not give 
the new King the chance of showing his appreciation 
of her change of circumstances. She wrote to the 
Duke of Wellington, then Prime Minister, asking that 
a suitable income should be bestowed upon her and 
her daughter, over which allowance she should have 
full control, and that the Princess should be put on 
the footing of Heir-Apparent. It is hard to imagine 
a more injudicious course for her to have taken. There 
had just been elevated to the Throne a man who had 
been comparatively poor all his life, and who was 

D 



34 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

looking forward to the luxury of exercising a great 
power; one who had a quick temper, to which he gave 
uncontrolled expression. His wife had borne two 
children, both of whom had died, and there was still 
the possibility that she might give birth to more. Yet 
here, before he had had time to realise his position, 
was a woman whom he disliked dictating to him what 
her place should be near the Throne, and demanding 
that her daughter at once should be recognised as next 
in succession. 

To the demands of the Duchess the Duke of Wel- 
lington replied that nothing could even be proposed for 
her until the Civil List was settled, but that nothing 
should be considered without her knowledge. This 
reply is said to have much offended the Duchess, and 
for a long time she ignored the gallant old man when 
she met him. 

This incident probably left its stamp upon the future 
intercourse of the King and the Duchess ; it certainly 
affected William's attitude at the Coronation in 1831 ; 
for he insisted upon being immediately followed in the 
procession, not by the little Victoria, but by his 
brothers. Everyone expected to see the child taking 
part in the festivities of that day, but when the morning 
arrived, and the most wonderful and gorgeous carriages 
rolled up to the Abbey, none of them held the Princess. 
All the world wondered where were mother and child, 
and then The Times published an article upon the 
matter, accusing the Duchess of staying away through 
pique, and commenting strongly upon the " systematic 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 35 

opposition " which Her Royal Highness showed " to 
all the wishes and all the feelings of the present King." 
Some newspapers had got into the facetious habit of 
alluding to The Times as Grandmamma, but on this 
occasion the Morning Post insulted its great relative 
by accusing it of " grossness and scurrility," and affirm- 
ing that a place had been allotted to the Princess which 
was derogatory to her rank ; which after all was scarcely 
a refutation of the charge against the Duchess. When 
questions on this matter of absence were asked in Par- 
liament, it was vaguely asserted that sufficient reasons 
had existed with which the King was perfectly satisfied. 
The Globe among others announced that the Prin- 
cess had been kept away through illness, and this was 
the impression which it seemed most politic to accept. 
It appeared that Lord de Ros, whose sister was Maid- 
of-Honour to the Queen, had written the offending 
article in The Times, and it is quite likely, not 
only that he believed what he wrote, but that 
it was true, in spite of the reports that the 
Duchess "was in the greatest distress and vexation 
over the matter." For though the indisposition 
of the Princess was said to have "rendered 
her removal from the Isle of Wight to town to 
take part in so exciting a pageant much too hazardous 
to be attempted," the little lady was the centre of a 
crowd two or three days later when she laid the founda- 
tion stone of a new church at East Cowes. It is also 
quite certain that the Princess anticipated going, for in 
later life she often, when speaking of that time to her 

D 2 



36 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

children, mentioned how bitterly she cried at her 
mother's decision, and her disappointment when she was 
kept at home. " Nothing could console me, not even 
my dolls/' she said. 

Both King and country showed confidence in the 
Duchess when the Regency Bill was under discussion 
an important Bill, for if the King died, a minor would 
become the Sovereign. It was decided that if Queen 
Adelaide bore another child she should hold the post 
of Regent, but otherwise, during the minority of the 
Princess Victoria, the Duchess of Kent should be 
Regent. When this Bill was framed, the Duke of 
Wellington, mindful of his promise, asked the King's 
leave to wait upon the Duchess with it. The King 
agreed, and the Duke wrote to Her Royal Highness 
saying that he had a communication to make to her on 
the part of His Majesty, and therefore proposed to 
wait upon her at Kensington Palace. The Duchess 
was, however, at Claremont, and from there she sent 
the following reply : 

" MY LORD DUKE, 

I have just received your letter of this date. 
As it is not convenient for me to receive Your Grace 
at Kensington, I prefer having in writing, addressed 
to me here, the communication you state the King has 
commanded you to make to me. 

" VICTORIA." 

It would seem as though the Duchess not only dis- 
trusted the King's word, but had not yet forgiven the 
Duke for not being able to accede to her earlier request. 




Photo-] 



'(Emery Walker 



QUEEN ADELAIDE. 

From the Painting by Sir William Beechey, in the National 
Portrait Gallery. 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 37 

Had she sent her general adviser, Sir John Conroy, to 
negotiate with the Duke, or had she invited the latter 
to Claremont, she would have kept within the limits 
of politeness; as it was, the only thing left for the Duke 
to do was to send the Bill to her to study, as he could 
not in writing give all the explanations he had intended. 
In the meanwhile Lord Lyndhurst had brought up the 
measure in the House of Lords, and the Duchess of 
Kent had sent Conroy up to hear him. 

Sir John Conroy was very much in the confidence of 
the Duchess. He had been equerry to the Duke of 
Kent for ten years, and had been greatly trusted by 
His Royal Highness, so much so that he was appointed 
co-executor of the Duke's will, with General Wetherall 
as colleague. After his master's death Conroy became 
major-domo to the Duchess, and was consulted by her 
in all things. There are some indications that he 
fostered the desire for greater importance, and it is 
possible that some of the troubles that made so in- 
delible an impression upon the mind of the Princess 
were due to his influence. It was a great pity, for the 
Duchess could quite safely have left her dignity in the 
hands of the King's Ministers. Such men as Welling- 
ton or Lyndhurst, or even those of the Opposition, 
Melbourne and Brougham, would have seen that so 
important a person as the mother of the heiress to the 
Throne received her due. She could not be sure of 
the King, for, when he disliked a person, were it man 
or woman, his manners were atrocious. But as one 
cynical subject once asked in reference to him, " What 
can you expect of a man with a head like a pine- 



38 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

apple ? " Greville made the further complimentary 
remark concerning something that the King had said, 
" If he were not such an ass that nobody does anything 
but laugh at what he says, this would be very 
important." 

However, William was by no means always an ass. 
He alternately aroused laughter and admiration, and 
sometimes, among individuals, fierce anger. When in 
good health he was lively and appreciated a joke, and, 
unlike his predecessor, he was conscientious in seeing 
to business matters and keeping his engagements. 
Even Greville, who, in spite of his sweeping judgments, 
was an honest critic, not often allowing mere prejudice 
to warp his opinion, said of William on another 
occasion, " The fact is he turns out to be an incom- 
parable King, and deserves all the encomiums lavished 
upon him." William horrified people at first by prying 
into every concern ; he actually, to the stupefaction of 
some, reviewed the Guards, both horse and foot, and 
spent some energy in " blowing up " the people at the 
Court, actions which were regarded as symptoms of a 
disordered mind. Later, when suffering from illness, 
he did not hesitate to " blow up " his Prime Minister, 
or the Commander-in-Chief , or the guest at his table 
and all in public ! During the first year of his reign 
people thought and spoke of nothing but the King, 
how he slept in a cot, how he dismissed his brother's 
cooks, how he insisted upon sitting backwards when in 
a carriage, refusing to allow anyone to occupy the seat 
facing him. One day he went to inspect the Tower of 
London, and a contemporary writer gives this picture 
of the Royal party : 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 39 

' The King is a little, old, red-nosed, weather-beaten, 
jolly-looking person, with an ungraceful air and car- 
riage ; and as to the Duke of Sussex, what with his stiff 
collar and cocked hat bobbing over his face, nothing 
could be seen of him but his nose. He seemed quite 
overcome with heat, and went along puffing and panting 
with the great, fat Duchess of Cumberland leaning 
on his arm. The Queen is even worse than I thought 
a little insignificant person as ever I saw. She was 
dressed, as perhaps you will see by the papers, 
'exceeding plain/ in bombazine with a little shabby 
muslin collar, dyed Leghorn hat, and leather 
shoes." 

Creevy went to the opera on a Royal night, and his 
impressions, related in his own peculiarly flippant way, 
were as follows : " Billy 4th at the Opera was every- 
thing one could wish : a more Wapping air I defy a 
King to have his hair five times as full of poudre 
as mine, and his seaman's gold lace cock-and-pinch 
hat was charming. He slept most of the Opera never 
spoke to anyone, or took the slightest interest in the 
concern. ... I was sorry not to see more of Victoria : 
she was in a box with the Duchess of Kent, opposite, 
and, of course, rather under us. When she looked 
over the box I saw her, and she looked a very nice little 
girl indeed/ 5 

He adds a little later that when the question of 
proroguing Parliament by commission arose, and Lord 
Grey said to William that it was, of course, quite out 
of the question to ask him to prorogue in person, the 
King replied : " My Lord, I'll go, if I go in a hackney 
coach," which showed at least the true kingly spirit, 



40 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

even if it was perturbing to his Minister. William 
meant it, too, and Lord Durham had to borrow the 
Chancellor's carriage and dash off to the Master of 
the Horse, whom he found at breakfast. On the 
demand being made that he should at once have the 
King's equipage sent round, the latter asked : 

" What, is there a revolution ? " 

" No," was the answer, " but there will be if you stop 
to finish that meal first." 

In 1834 Oliver Wendell Holmes was in England, 
and he also went to the Opera one night when the King 
was present. His impressions are to the full as uncom- 
plimentary and as outspoken as those of the jovial 
Creevy. 

" I went last night to the Royal Opera, where they 
were to be in state. I had to give more than two 
dollars for a pit ticket, 5 * and had hardly room to stand 
up, almost crowded to death. The Duchess of Kent 
and the Princess Victoria a girl of fifteen came in 
first on the side opposite the King's box. The audi- 
ence applauded somewhat, not ferociously. . . . The 
Princess is a nice, fresh-looking girl, blonde, and rather 
pretty. The King looks like a retired butcher. The 
Queen is much such a person as the wife of the late 
William Frost, of Cambridge, an exemplary milkman, 
now probably immortal on a slab of slatestone as a 
father, a husband, and a brother. The King blew his 
nose twice, and wiped the royal perspiration repeatedly 
from a face which is probably the largest uncivilised 
spot in England." The critic adds, in excuse for his 

* The pit in those days was still a fashionable part of the 
house, being where the stalls are now. 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 41 

plain speaking, " I have a disposition to tartness and 
levity which tells to the disadvantage of the Royal 
living and advantage of the plebeian defunct, but it 
is accidental and must be forgiven." 

But to return to the reasons for the animosity 
between the King and the Duchess of Kent. There 
was another person besides Conroy about the 
Duchess's household who was generally regarded as 
injudicious, and whose name was speedily written in 
the King's bad books. This was John George 
Lambton, created Earl of Durham in 1833, a man 
of whom Lord Brougham said that he had many good 
and some great qualities, but all were much obscured, 
and even perverted, by his temper, which was greatly 
affected by the painful liver disease from which he 
suffered. Creevy speaks of him, soon after the death 
of his first wife, as an excellent host, as full of good 
qualities, and possessing remarkable talents, adding 
that "his three little babies are his great resource." 
Durham once said that he thought 40,000 a year a 
moderate income one which a man might just jog 
on with ; and the phrase was never forgotten, he being 
called "Old Jog" or "King Jog" by some of his 
friends ever after. 

Before his elevation to the peerage Durham had 
been very friendly with the Duke of Kent, for they 
thought alike in politics, both being Whigs. Thus 
from the start Durham was associated with the Kent 
household; and as he was arrogant and tactless, with 
tremendous ideas about money, he must have been one 
of the worst advisers that the Duchess could have 
secured. He seems to have been particularly active 



42 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in small matters before the commencement of 
William's reign, becoming Leopold's right-hand man 
when he thought of accepting the position of King of 
Greece, drawing up all his papers for him, and being 
"his bottle-holder ever since." Greville styles him 
the Duchess of Kent's "magnus Apollo." When 
Leopold left England, Durham became more useful 
still to the Duchess, and is heard of constantly in 
connection with the affairs at Kensington. In 1831 
the Duchess hired Norris Castle, in the Isle of Wight, 
for the autumn, and Lord Durham is mentioned as 
being there as a guest; one malicious commentary 
upon the matter being that " Lord Durham was acting 
the part of Prime Minister to the Duchess of Kent 
and Queen Victoria, who were all together making 
their arrangements for a new reign"; and it was a 
general opinion that when the Princess ascended the 
throne Durham would be first favourite with her and 
her mother. On his return from an Extraordinary 
Embassy to St. Petersburg the King gave him an 
audience, which, says Greville, " must have been very 
agreeable to him (the King), as he hates him and the 
Duchess of Kent." 

There are many little stories told of this man's 
pettishness ; his second wife was the daughter of Lord 
Grey, and it is said that he harassed the life out of 
his father-in-law during the Reform agitation. Once 
when Lord Grey was speaking he rudely interrupted 
him. Grey paused, and said, " My dear Lambton, 
only hear what I am going to say," whereupon the 
other jumped up, replying, " Oh, if I am not to be 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 43 

allowed to speak, I may as well go away " ; so, order- 
ing his carriage, he departed. 

In a bad mood he once said evil things about Lady 
Jersey, accusing her of defaming his wife to the Queen, 
and declaring that Lady Durham should demand an 
audience of Her Majesty to contradict these scandals. 
For once he had met his peer in bad temper, for Lady 
Jersey, at the Drawing Room which was the cause of 
little Victoria's first appearance at William's Court, 
saw him standing at the opposite side of the room. 
She went close to him, and said loudly : 

"Lord Durham, I hear that you have said things 
about me which are not true, and I desire that you will 
call upon me to-morrow with a witness to hear my 
denial." 

She was in a fury, and put Lord Durham into the 
same state. He, turning white, muttered that he 
would never go into her house again, but she had 
flounced back to her seat, and did not hear him. 

Durham naturally made an enemy of a man like 
Brougham, who was too extreme himself to like the 
same quality in another, and when Durham resigned 
office a popular couplet ran : 

" Bore Durham fell (ye Whigs his loss deplore) 
Pierced by the tusks of Brougham greater Bore." 

There seems to be no record of the Duchess of 
Kent asking advice, consulting the King, or even 
telling him her plans; she marked out her own path 
and took it composedly, leaving the consequences to 
follow. She probably reasoned that the Princess 
was her child, and she was the recognised guardian, 



41 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

therefore she could act independently. That she 
brought her up well is evident, though in these days so 
often called degenerate, and yet so full of happiness 
for children, most mothers would be sorry for a babe 
of six years old who had to carry home on Sunday 
morning the text of the sermon with the heads of the 
discourse. I have read somewhere that the child 
would fix her eyes upon the clergyman's face as soon 
as he began his sermon, and never move them while 
he continued to speak, seeming to give a preternatural 
attention to all that he said ; the reason being explained 
by the fact that her mother desired to test her appre- 
ciation of his address by putting that strain upon her 
memory and understanding. Well, many mothers did 
the same thing in those days, but, fortunately for the 
children, we have a better sense of what is fitting 
to-day. 

When the extra allowance of 10,000 was 
made to the Duchess in 1831, the Duchess of 
Northumberland was appointed governess to Victoria, 
and went to Kensington each day to superintend the 
studies. The Court Journal, in commenting upon 
this, spoke of the Princess as the Duchess's " great 
charge," upon which Figaro in London made the 
remark that it was scarcely according to fact to call 
the child a great charge to her governess, though it 
might with propriety be admitted that " her little Royal 
Highness was a great charge to the country," a weak 
pun based upon insufficient cause, as the family income 
was, all things considered, by no means large. 

Those who had so far helped in the Princess's 
education deserve a word. The person who earliest 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 45 

exercised her authority was Louise Lehzen, the 
daughter of a Lutheran clergyman in Hanover, who 
had been governess to Princess Feodore, the Duchess's 
elder daughter by the Prince of Leiningen. In 1824, 
by the command of George IV., this lady transferred 
her attentions to Princess Victoria, and from that time 
until 1842 was her constant companion. The fact 
that she came from a small German State was suffi- 
cient to make her unpopular in England, but she won 
the child's confidence, and helped in teaching her the 
usual accomplishments of the day. That she was a 
governess in reality may be doubted ; she talked much 
but knew little, and had no respect for progressive 
ideas in education, though she was shrewd in judg- 
ment. The Princess both loved and feared her, saying 
after her death in 1870: "She knew me from six 
months old, and from my fifth to my eighteenth years 
devoted all her care and energies to me with most 
wonderful abnegation of self, never even taking one 
day's holiday. I adored, though I was greatly in awe 
of her. She really seemed to have no thought but 
for me." 

Among the close friends of Baroness Lehzen she 
was created, by the suggestion of Princess Sophia, a 
Hanoverian Baroness in 1826, when Dr. Davys was 
appointed as tutor to the Princess was the Baroness 
Spath, who had for a long time been Lady-in- 
Waiting to the Duchess, and might have continued to 
hold the post had not Sir John Couroy quarrelled with 
her and secured her dismissal. For this maybe he, in 
later years, failed to reach the honours to which he 
aspired, for Lehzen never forgave him, and remained 



46 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

his enemy to the end. Who can say that her dislike 
of the Duchess's counsellor did not influence the 
Princess's feelings towards him? Baroness Spath 
perhaps annoyed the Duchess as well as Conroy by 
her exuberant love for the Princess. It is mentioned 
in a letter from Princess Feodore to the Queen : 
" There certainly never was such devotedness as hers 
to all our family, although it sometimes showed itself 
rather foolishly with you it was always a sort of 
idolatry, when she used to go upon her knees before 
you when you were a child. She and poor old Louis 
did all they could to spoil you/' 

Louis had been an attendant and dresser to Princess 
Charlotte, and she remained until her death, in 1838, 
in the service of Victoria, who felt much affection for 
her. 

Baroness Lehzen was only responsible for the child's 
training for three years, for when the Princess was 
about eight years old, as has been said, a grant of six 
thousand a year in addition to the six thousand then 
forming the Duchess's income was allowed " for the 
purpose of making an adequate provision for the 
honourable support and education of Her Highness 
Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent." It was 
really felt that the child needed to be under English 
tuition, and a country clergyman, the Rev. George 
Davys, became her tutor. No sooner had the Duchess 
chosen him than King William asserted that it was a 
bad choice, and that no one under the rank of a pre- 
late should have been offered the work, whereupon the 
Duchess intimated that it would be quite easy to give 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 47 

Mr. Davys a bishopric ; and this was eventually done, 
though at first the Crown living of St. Hallows-on-the- 
Wall in the City was the preferment bestowed. Mr. 
Davys gathered various masters to teach the Princess 
different subjects, but from many sources it is seen 
that Baroness Lehzen still did much of the elementary 
teaching, though her labours in this respect stopped 
when the Duchess of Northumberland took charge. 
Mr. Davys's daughter, a girl a little older than the 
Princess, shared the tuition, and, as far as can be told, 
represented most of what the Princess knew of child 
companionship. When Victoria became Queen this 
early friend was made permanent Woman of the Bed- 
chamber. 

The strained relations between the King and his 
sister-in-law took active form over what were known 
as the Duchess's progresses. On looking at the matter 
from this long distance of time, it is impossible not 
to agree with the Duchess that it was well that the 
child should see England, should know the different 
districts of the country, should visit the manufacturing 
towns, the seats of learning, and the beautiful hills in 
the north and west. The grievance lay, first and fore- 
most, in the fact that the King would have liked to 
introduce his successor to his people through Court 
functions and constant companionship, but was de- 
barred almost entirely from seeing her ; and, secondly, 
that the Duchess planned all her journeys quite in- 
dependently of the King, and demanded Royal 
honours wherever she went. Thus for some years 
from 1832 an annual series of visits was projected, 



48 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

taking place generally in the autumn. The first of 
which we have any definite account was made in 1832, 
and shows an extraordinary activity. The Duchess 
and her suite went to Chatsworth, Hardwicke Hall, 
Chesterfield, Matlock; to the Earl of Shrewsbury's at 
Alton Towers, and to the Earl of Liverpool's at 
Shrewsbury, where they knew they would have a warm 
welcome, as Lady Catherine Jenkinson, Lord Liver- 
pool's daughter, was one of the Ladies in Waiting 
upon the Duchess. This was followed by visits to 
Oakley Park, Howell Grange, and Oxford, where the 
degree of Doctor was conferred upon Conroy. Powis 
Castle, the early home of the Duchess of Northumber- 
land, was also visited, and a house rented at Beau- 
maris, on the Isle of Anglesey, for a month, whence 
they had to flee, because of an epidemic of cholera, to 
Plas Newydd, the home of the Marquis of Anglesey, 
on the Menai Straits, which the Marquis gladly put at 
their disposal. 

In Wales, Victoria, a child of thirteen, presented 
prizes at the Eisteddfod, laid the foundation of a boys' 
school, and, on her way back through Chester, opened 
a new bridge over the Dee. 

Year after year tours of this sort were carried out, 
the arrangements being in the hands of Sir John 
Conroy " a ridiculous fellow," says Greville who 
seemed to have given every opening that he could for 
loyal speeches, which, in the peculiar circumstances, 
could not avoid touching upon dangerous topics. 

On the whole, the laudatory biographies of Queen 
Victoria have shown great injustice to William IV. 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 49 

The writers of those biographies, painfully anxious to 
please living people, have not allowed themselves to 
exercise either sound criticism or sound judgment. 
They have made the King a vulgar, brutal monster, 
always ready to insult "defenceless women," and 
have extolled the Duchess of Kent as a miracle of 
propriety and wisdom. As a matter of fact, both of 
them, in different ways, were wanting in self-control; 
both were people of passionate temperament, the King 
hotly so, the Duchess in a more reserved but equally 
intractable way. At that time William still had a faint 
hope that his wife might bear children a fact that 
is shown in the negotiations concerning the Regency, 
and in various little significant events. For that 
reason he insisted upon Princess Victoria being 
regarded as Heir Presumptive, which was keenly 
resented by the Duchess, who thought that the right 
title should be Heir Apparent. Thus when all the 
papers detailed the events of the Duchess's tours 
through the country, and gave in full many loyal 
speeches and their acknowledgments, or if they did 
not give them in full were particular to pick out the 
most striking passages, it is scarcely to be wondered 
at that the soul of the King was shaken with rage, for 
these speeches were sometimes a little too anticipatory 
to be pleasant to him. ' The Princess who will rule 
over us," was a common phrase, to which the Duchess 
responded freely with " your future Queen," softening 
the expression, however, with the pious wish, " I trust 
at a very distant date." 

These progresses, lasting sometimes for a couple of 





50 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

months or even longer, gave the young Princess much 
information, and showed her something of England; 
she probably liked the novelty at first, and all through 
enjoyed some incidents and the kindness offered her. 
She is said to have displayed wonderfully precocious 
powers of shrewdness (a cheap bit of praise !), and to 
have written long letters to her governess, describing, 
" with an accuracy, minuteness, and spirit quite extra- 
ordinary," her impressions of the manners, customs, 
and peculiarities of the people in the various towns 
she visited. But there were times when she was bored 
to death. The absurd triumphal meanderings through 
this town and that, bowing here, bowing there, sur- 
rounded by crowds sometimes so dense that the car- 
riage could not move, cheered, gazed at, addressed by 
mayors and popular speakers all this became dull 
and tedious to her. A young thing who should have 
been playing at ball and learning French verbs had 
to sit for hours playing, instead, at being grown up, 
and when she entered a house as a guest had to retain 
a dignified manner, had to lead off the dance with a 
middle-aged host instead of romping with his young 
people, and for dreary weeks had to assume a mock 
royalty. There must have been also moments of 
acute pain ; for a girl of that age, at least in the present 
day, will turn scarlet with anger if she and her qualities 
are discussed before her face, without perhaps quite 
comprehending why she feels that such a course is a 
dire and undignified offence, by inference depriving 
her of her sensibility and relegating her to the posi- 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 51 

tion of the unthinking creatures who cannot under- 
stand what is said. 

Yet little Victoria had to listen daily to the speeches 
made by her mother, in which her education, her ten- 
dencies, and the desires concerning her were fully 
described to the " great unwashed." Such instances as 
the following were of common occurrence. When, in 
1833, mother and child attended the ceremony of 
opening the pier at Southampton, the Mayor offered a 
loyal address, to which the Duchess replied, among 
other things, that it was a great advantage to the 
Princess to be thus early taught the importance of 
being attached to works of utility, adding that it was 
her anxious desire to impress upon her daughter the 
value of everything recommended by its practical 
utility to all classes of the community. 

On another occasion she said to the public crowd, fl I 
cannot better allude to your good feeling towards the 
Princess than by joining fervently in the wish that she 
may set an example in her conduct of that piety towards 
God and charity towards men which is the only sure 
foundation either of individual happiness or national 
prosperity." 

Again she would say that "it was the object of her 
life to render her daughter deserving of the affectionate 
solicitude she so universally inspired, and to make her 
worthy of the attachment and respect of a free and 
loyal people." These sentiments were quite natural 
and laudable, the only thing wrong about them being 

E 2 



52 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

that they were expressed publicly and with consider- 
able ceremony before the child of whom they were 
spoken. For these responses were generally written, 
and when the moment came for their delivery, John 
Conroy, standing by the Duchess's side, would hand 
up her answer, "just as the Prime Minister hands the 
King the copy of his speech when opening Parlia- 
ment." This habit was specially noticed when, in 1835, 
the royal pair went through the north-east of England, 
to York, Wentworth House, Doncaster (where they 
witnessed the races), Belvoir Castle, Burghley, Lynn, 
Holkham, and Euston Hall. At Burghley the loyal 
address spoke of the Princess as one " destined to 
mount the throne of these realms," and most splendid 
preparations were made by Burghley' s master, the 
Marquis of Exeter, for the lodgment of his guests. 
The dinner was a great function and all went well until 
a clumsy or nervous servant slipped and turned the 
contents of an ice-pail into the Duchess's lap, " which 
made a great bustle." The Princess opened the ball 
with Lord Exeter, and then, like a good child, went 
off to bed. 

At Holkham a crowd of people were waiting in the 
brilliantly illuminated Egyptian Hall while the Prin- 
cess was dragged for miles in her carriage by navvies, 
making her two hours late. At last a carriage arrived 
at the Hall containing three ladies, and Mr. Coke, with 
a lighted candle in each hand, made a profound bow. 
When he resumed the perpendicular the visitors had 
vanished, and the host was told that he had been 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 53 

making his obeisance to the dressers ! Soon after this, 
their Royal Highnesses appeared, and the Princess 
won all by her pleasant courtesy. 

It is more than probable that among those who were 
personally affected by these journeys they were 
popular, but on the whole they were harshly criticised, 
not only by those who surrounded the King, but by 
the diarists of that time, and among those who guided 
the tone of the newspapers ; and these we must suppose 
gave voice to the general sentiment. It was an age 
which preferred the retirement of women, and many 
people were shocked at the publicity of it all. The 
Duchess went, they affirmed, " to fish up loyalty in the 
provinces, and to prepare her daughter for the business 
of sovereignty, which, however, in this free and high- 
spirited country is merely to be hooted at, cheered, 
gazed at, dragged in triumph and addressed by the 
populace." On one occasion they dined at Plymouth, 
the blinds up to show the illuminated room to the dense 
crowd which filled the area of the hotel, " a vulgar 
process which appears to have excited fresh en- 
thusiasm among the herd of minions who ac- 
companied with adulatory yelps the course of the 
visitors." 

Apart from the spiteful tone of all this, the charge 
was true ; but the Duchess was right. She was follow- 
ing a certain system of education; she was bringing 
up a Queen, teaching her the social duties of her 
station and training her in those habits of self-control 
and savoir faire which made Victoria astonish England 



54 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

at her accession by her coolness and dignity. Without 
her mother's training the Princess would have been 
far more like the Georges in outward manners than 
she was; with it she became perhaps too conscious of 
what was due from others to herself, too ready to be 
offended if all did not bow to the wishes of "the 
Crown " ; but the gain was the country's, and the coun- 
try has largely to thank the Duchess of Kent for a 
revolution in the character and moral position of the 
English Sovereign. 

It was during the second visit to Norris Castle, in 
the Isle of Wight, in 1833, tnat another quarrel took 
place between the King and his sister-in-law. At 
Osborne Lodge the site of the later Osborne Cottage 
built by Victoria Sir John Conroy had his residence, 
where he entertained the two Princesses. They also 
went to East Cowes, to Whippingham, and crossed 
over at different times to Portsmouth, to Weymouth, 
and to Plymouth. They inspected the dockyards, 
made a cruise to Eddystone Lighthouse, went to Tor- 
quay, Exeter and Swanage; the Princess presented 
new colours to the Royal Irish Fusiliers stationed at 
Devonport, during which ceremony the Duchess told 
the troops that " her daughter's study of English his- 
tory had inspired her with martial ardour." Day after 
day they were crossing and recrossing the Sound, and 
every time they appeared salutes were fired. It is true 
that William could not hear the guns at Windsor or 
at St. James's, but the knowledge of the daily, and more 
than daily, recurrence annoyed him. To be saluted on 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 55 

arrival and on departure was one thing, but to have a 
" continual popping " going on was quite another. So 
William called a Council, and dignified statesmen had 
to go to Court to discuss the matter. Greville's account 
runs as follows : 

:t The King has been (not unnaturally) disgusted at 
the Duchess of Kent's progresses with her daughter 
through the kingdom, and amongst the rest with her 
sailings at the Isle of Wight, and the continual popping 
in the shape of salutes to Her Royal Highness. He 
did not choose that the latter practice should go on, 
and he signified his pleasure to Sir James Graham 
and Lord Hill, for salutes are matters of general order, 
both to Army and Navy." 

It was thought better to make no order on the sub- 
ject, but that the two gentlemen, with Lord Grey, 
should open a negotiation with the Duchess, and ask 
her of her own accord to waive the salutes, and should 
send word when returning to the Isle of Wight that, as 
she was sailing about for her amusement, she preferred 
that she should not be saluted whenever she appeared. 
However, the Duchess was too childishly fond of the 
importance of the noise to be a party to its discontinu- 
ance, and took council of Conroy, who is reported to 
have replied, "that, as Her Royal Highness's con- 
fidential adviser > he could not recommend her to give 
way on this point." The King would not give way 
either, so by an Order in Council the regulations were 
altered under the King's directions, and the Royal 



56 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Standard was for the future only to be saluted when 
the King or Queen was on board. 

It was a stupid wrangle on a silly subject, but even 
in so small a matter as this, in the modern desire to 
justify everything that the mother of Victoria did, 
writers of royal " Lives " always affirm that the King 
was bad-tempered enough to object to the salute being 
offered to the Duchess on her arrival at the commence- 
ment of her holiday. 

That the Duchess should resent such happenings 
as this was natural, but it was rather sad that she in- 
cluded her old friend Queen Adelaide in her resentful 
feelings. 

In contemporary writings I find many comments 
upon the change of manner which she gradually 
showed towards Adelaide after the former had become 
Queen. Before that the two ladies had been good 
friends, but there seems to have arisen such a jealousy 
on the part of the Duchess that she began to treat the 
Queen with studied rudeness, and to make absurd 
demands as to her own treatment. Thus, if she were 
under the obligation of calling upon the Queen, she 
would name her own hour, and, if that did not suit 
Adelaide, would make that an excuse for considering 
the call paid. In earlier and more friendly times, if 
one of these ladies went to see the other, she would 
feel at liberty to go from room to room until she 
found her. By 1833, however, though the Duchess 
still followed this custom at the Palace, she would 
not allow it to the Queen at Kensington, but gave 



VICTORIA'S MOTHER AND UNCLE 57 

orders that she must await her in this or that 
room. 

In that same year the Duchess had two nephews 
on a visit at the time when Donna Maria da Gloria of 
Portugal was staying with the King. The Queen gave 
a ball for the young people, and between the dances 
was quite glad to see that little Victoria seemed to 
care for her as much as ever and constantly came to sit 
by her side. During the evening Adelaide, wishing 
to know something of the two young German prince- 
lets, asked the Duchess to have them brought to her 
that she might have a talk with them. But for some 
hidden reason the Duchess refused, and added to the 
snub by taking her whole party away long before the 
ball was over, saying that the Princes had been to a 
review and were tired. Lady Bedingfield, who tells 
this story, adds : " Note that they are six feet high and 
stout for their age ! " It is difficult to think that any- 
thing but ill-humour was responsible for this, that or 
the idea that she must show her importance by leaving 
early, for the Duchess would sometimes keep her 
daughter at the Opera until a very late hour. 

However, gentle-minded Adelaide passed this by 
and invited the young men down to Windsor, upon 
which the Duchess wrote one of her characteristic notes, 
saying that she could not come with them and could 
not spare them, and as they had paid their respects to 
the King at the Drawing Room, she did not think the 
visit to Windsor necessary. There was some discussion 
between the royal pair as to how this letter should be 



58 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

answered, and the King preferred that a bare acknow- 
ledgment should be made. Adelaide had the curiosity 
to look in the paper to see what these boys were so 
busy about on the day she had hoped to have them 
with her, and found that they had spent it at the 
Zoological Gardens ! 



CHAPTER III 

PRINCESS VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 

"Confound their politics." National Anthem. 

QUEEN ADELAIDE, being in a high place, had many 
detractors, though she was certainly a kind and gentle 
woman. Her two faults in the eyes of the English 
people were that she was drawn from a poor German 
family, and that she exercised, or was said, perhaps 
erroneously, to exercise a strong political influence in 
great matters over the King. It was the time of the 
fight over the Reform Bill, when the whole country 
was in a ferment, and everyone, down to the children, 
took sides, whether they understood the question or 
not. When it became known that the Queen was 
opposed to the passage of the Bill, the papers pub- 
lished skits and cartoons against her, accusing her of 
plotting against the people and even against the Crown, 
so that the populace did not hesitate to show its animus. 
Thus on one occasion when an election was exciting 
the passions of all, the King arranged to pay a State 
visit to the City, and the Lord Mayor, somewhat 
foolishly, illuminated the streets the day before. The 
glare and light seem to have been the one thing too 



60 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

much for the inflamed minds of the mob, which showed 
its joy by breaking windows and creating a general 
uproar. The Queen had, unfortunately, gone that 
evening to a concert without guards, and as she was 
returning she was recognised, her carriage being sur- 
rounded by a roaring crowd, some of whom tried to 
thrust their heads into the windows. The footmen used 
their canes freely to beat them off, and the coach- 
man managed to reach the Palace safely; but the poor 
lady was much alarmed and thought herself in danger 
of her life. The King, worried at her late return, paced 
from room to room waiting her, and when at last she 
arrived he caught hold of Lord Howe, her Chamber- 
lain, who preceded her, asking in agitated voice : 

"How is the Queen?" 

Howe, being an eager anti-reformer, replied that she 
was much frightened and proceeded to make the very 
worst of the occurrence, with the result that the King, 
in a fury, determined to cancel his proposed visit to 
the City, much to the chagrin of his Ministers. 

As for William himself, he blew hot and cold over 
the Bill, as everyone knows, and it became a duel 
between Lord Grey and Queen Adelaide, so it was 
said, as to which should gain the greatest power over 
the King, and William began to get the reputation of 
being a henpecked husband. At one point Grey 
desired to go to the country that he might prove that 
the Lords were the impediment in the way of the Bill, 
and the King consented to a dissolution, actually 
taking leave of his Minister. The next day, however, 
actuated by some hidden motive, he absolutely and 




WILLIAM IV. 



:;4\ 






VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 61 

flatly refused to countenance the change, thus forcing 
Lord Grey to persevere in what seemed a hopeless 
attempt to get the Bill passed through the House of 
Lords. The Whig press was furious, and published 
such outspoken opinions as the following : 

" Hail, thou conundrum of our age, 

Britannia's great first fiddle, 
By turns a fool, by turns a sage, 
A puzzling royal riddle. 

By turns you make us weep or smile, 
Your country's curse or glory, 

The Billy Black of Britain's Isle, 
By turns a Whig or Tory." 

While the Bill was pressing its turbulent passage 
through the Commons, and during the subsequent 
troubles, the idea took stronger hold upon the people 
that the Queen was the motive of the King's con- 
tinued vacillations. They went further still, and said 
that she was influenced by Lord Howe, who was be- 
lieved to entertain a romantic attachment for her. 
Indeed, letters of hers are in existence more or less 
proving that there was truth in the idea of the influence. 
Her desire was to dismiss the Whigs and form a Tory 
Government, hnd in one letter to Lord Howe she 
notes that " the King's eyes are open, and he sees the 
great difficulties in which he is placed, that he really 
sees everything in the right light," adding that he 
thought the Tories not strong enough to form an 
administration. 

Lord Howe voted against the measure, and Lord 
Grey, seeing how the Government was being defeated 



62 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

by members of the Royal household, forced the King 
to dismiss him. This the Queen regarded as an out- 
rage. She refused to allow another chamberlain to 
be appointed, and Howe attended the Queen as 
assiduously as ever, the two working unceasingly 
against the Government. This led to something like 
popular hatred of Adelaide, and to the universal 
spread of the horrid reports which were being cir- 
culated about her and her late Chamberlain, proofs of 
which animosity were forthcoming every time she 
appeared in public. The Court Journal deplored the 
fact that when she drove out the Queen experienced 
almost daily insult from the populace, being hissed as 
she passed. Raikes tells us that he saw the King and 
Queen at the Duke of Wellington's fete at Apsley 
House, that His Majesty looked tired, and Queen 
Adelaide was out of spirits. " She had attended a 
review in Hyde Park in the morning, when the 
sovereign mob thought proper to greet her with much 
incivility and rudeness." The King himself by no 
means escaped the hostility of the people, for he no 
sooner showed himself on the stand at Ascot than a 
stone hit him full in the forehead. Fortunately it did 
him no serious injury, and the ruffian who threw it was 
found to be half-witted. 

Socially the affair with Lord Howe assumed serious 
proportions. The Queen was so angry at his dismissal 
that, to placate her, it was suggested that he should 
be reinstated, a condition being made that, though he 
should not be asked to vote against his conscience, he 
should undertake not to vote against the Bill. This 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 63 

condition he indignantly refused, and the Queen was 
not conciliated. 

Greville, who much disliked Queen Adelaide, notes 
of the Court held at Brighton at Christmas, 1832 : 
" The Court is very active, vulgar, and hospitable. King, 
Queen, Princes, Princesses, bastards, and attendants 
constantly trotting about in every direction. . . . Lord 
Howe is devoted to the Queen, and is never away 
from her. She receives his attentions, but demon- 
strates nothing in return ; he is like a boy in love with 
this frightful spotted Majesty, while his delightful 
wife is laid up with a sprained ankle and dislocated 
joint on the sofa." Indeed, everyone looked upon 
him as an ardent lover, and noted that he was dining 
every day at the Pavilion, riding with the Queen, and 
never quitting her side, keeping his eyes always fixed 
on her face. Adelaide herself was very careful; she 
was surrounded by the Fitzclarences, who would have 
been delighted to prove her in the wrong, and even 
they could not find fault with her attitude to her quasi- 
Chamberlain. 

Lady Howe, when again able to go to Court, was 
vexed to death about it, and induced Greville to warn 
her husband of the scandalous stories afloat. Greville 
did this, but it only annoyed Lord Howe, who, how- 
ever, by his manner convinced that worldly man that 
there was nothing in the matter but folly and the vanity 
of being confidential adviser to the Queen. As a 
result of this conversation, Howe suggested to Her 
Majesty that she should appoint a new Chamberlain, 
and that he should wait upon the King to inform him 



64 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of the fact. This, however, the Queen absolutely 
forbade, and Howe stayed on, with the result that a 
year or two later Queen Adelaide's name was in every 
mouth in a very discreditable way. 

Greville was horribly prejudiced against the Queen, 
and very much taken with Lady Howe, but the latter 
seems to have been a curiously irresponsible person. 
Once, when she and her husband were driving with the 
Queen, she, being tired, coolly put her feet up on to 
her husband's knee, and then rested them on the 
window-ledge, saying innocently to his distressed 
lordship, " What do you mean by shaking your head ? " 

On another occasion the Howes were assisting 
Adelaide to ticket things for a bazaar, and Lady Howe 
fell in love with some shoes ; so, fitting one on, she put 
her foot on the table to show how well it set. Can 
anyone imagine a woman behaving like that before 
Queen Victoria? The autocratic manners of the 
Duchess of Kent are but a tale to us now, but her 
training of her daughter in modesty and decorous ways 
was a reality of which we still feel the benefit. 

Queen Adelaide was the most confiding and rash 
of women ; her theory of life was so simple that when 
one of her ladies tried to suggest caution to her in 
relation to Lord Howe, saying that the newspapers 
had been very ill-natured about her friendship for him, 
she replied that she knew that, but truth would always 
find its way. It did in her case, but she had personally 
to run the gauntlet of scandal. Lady Bedingfield 
remarked of her, " The Queen is so good and virtuous 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 65 

that she has no idea people could fancy that she likes 
him (Howe) too much." 

In 1834 the Queen went on an extended tour to her 
home in Saxe-Meiningen, taking with her presents of 
no less than eleven carriages and many other things, 
much to the anger of the people, who were then in a 
starving condition. On her return in September she 
was ill, being quite knocked up with the festivities in 
Germany, and a report was started being first whis- 
pered at the Lord Mayor's banquet that the Queen 
was with child. This was confirmed by her ladies, 
and in February the medical men, though still uncer- 
tain, leaned to the decision that such was the case. 
The Court Journal went so far as to announce that 
her Majesty was said to have derived peculiar benefit 
from drinking at a spring in Germany known as 
Child's Well; so the papers all debated the facts, 
and the Royal hangers-on were in a state of great 
commotion. 

Lord Howe's name was on everyone's lips, and the 
less dignified papers did not hesitate openly to hint 
what society people were whispering. Alvanley, the 
wit of the time, suggested that the psalm, " Lord, how 
wonderful are Thy works," should be generally sung, 
and cartoons and ribald verses appeared everywhere. 
One of the latter ran : 

" How(e) wondrous are thy works, my lord, 

How(e) glorious are thy ways ! 
How(e) shall we sing thy song, my lord? 
How(e) celebrate thy praise? 

F 



06 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Another such rhyme tells us how 

" Poor little Vicky, in a fright 

Disjointed feels her royal nose." 

and goes on to explain that 

" Her Grace, the Duchess-Mother pouts, 
And General Conroy's in the dumps, 
He dreams no more of Ins-and-Outs, 
His suit is now no longer trumps. 

The little Princes in a flutter, 

Throw all their whips and tops away, 

And quarrel with their bread and butter, 
And mope and sulk the live-long day. 

The whiskered Ernest rubs his eyes, 

Poor Georgie Cumberland loudly groans, 

While little Cambridge yells and cries, 
That such new cousins he disowns. 

However many people may have believed it to be 
true that Adelaide expected another child, there were 
not many about the Court who could have credited 
the scandalous part of the story. As Greville said, 
"Of course, there will be plenty of scandal. It so 
happens, however, that Howe had not been with the 
Court for a considerable time." In May, newspapers 
that had given many inches to spreading the belief, an- 
nounced in two lines that the report that an heir was 
expected to the Throne was untrue, and so vanished 
the last of William's hopes that he might be succeeded 
in the direct line. 

I think it was Lady Cardigan who said that Lord 
Howe had named his three daughters after three of his 
former loves, Lady Georgina Fane, Queen Adelaide, 
and Emily Bagot. 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 67 

When William IV. first came to the throne he was 
imbued with a determination to rule justly and irre- 
spective of party, but he was in the midst of Tory 
influence while the Government was Whig. His 
Ministers became exhausted by the long effort they 
had to make to keep him consistent on the question of 
Reform, and the passing of the Bill may be said to 
have begun his outwardly expressed leaning towards 
Toryism. This increased as time went on, and in 
1834 one of the most remarkable political events took 
place. 

The leadership of the House of Commons was 
vacant owing to the death of Earl Spencer, by which 
his son, Lord Althorp, took his seat in the higher 
chamber. The Whigs were in a majority of a third 
of the House, but were obliged to fight the Lords for 
the passage of their Bills. Lord Melbourne went to 
consult the King as to the new leader, and William, 
with vague grumblings and irritable manner, seemed 
to agree with Melbourne's plans; however, in the 
morning before he left Windsor a letter was handed to 
the Minister from the King dismissing the Govern- 
ment. This letter was anything but dignified, as it in- 
dulged in personal reflections upon Lord John Russell 
and Mr. Spring-Rice. 

" But conceive our poor friend's desperation 
When, in answer to this application, 
Turning coolly about, 
Said the Sovereign, * You're out ! 
And I'll form a new Administration.' ' 

Melbourne spent the day in inducing his Monarch 

F 2 



68 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to alter his letter so that it should cause no more heart- 
burnings than could be avoided, and he talked the 
matter over with Palmerston that night. Lord 
Brougham came t in late, and, under a promise not to 
divulge until the next day what had happened, he also 
heard the story. Brougham kept his promise in a way, 
for he waited until after midnight and then communi- 
cated the whole matter to the Times. So the next 
morning the keepers of this grave secret found a 
flourishing announcement in the leading Tory paper. 
"The King has taken the opportunity of Lord 
Spencer's death to turn out the Ministry, and there is 
every reason to believe that the Duke of Wellington 
has been sent for. The Queen has done it all." 

This caused a series of convulsions in every stratum 
of society. The King accused Melbourne of having 
published a matter which should have been kept secret 
until correctly announced at the correct moment; the 
Government blamed Melbourne all round. Everyone 
believed that the whole thing had been preconcerted, 
but of them all the consequences fell heaviest upon 
Queen Adelaide. The sentence, " The Queen has 
done it all," was placarded all over London, and the 
people believed that now there was no doubt but that 
they had a real grievance against the Queen, and they 
hated her bitterly. Yet it is fairly certain that the 
Queen was as astonished as everyone else ; no one but 
the King knew what the King had planned, and it is 
probable that he did not know until he suddenly made 
up his mind after seeing Melbourne that evening. He 
appointed the Duke bf Wellington First Lord of the 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 69 

Treasury and Secretary of State, and he had to send 
someone off in a hurry to Italy to find Sir Robert Peel ; 
but the new Government only lived until April of the 
following year-, when it was defeated, and Melbourne 
came back to office. 

William took this as well as he could, but he grew 
to hate the Whigs. There were times when he would 
neither see nor speak to one of them, when he treated 
his Ministers with open insult. Over and over again 
in the last two years of his reign one reads of the way 
in which he refused to acknowledge them. At the 
Queen's birthday dinner-party in 1836 not one of the 
Ministry nor a Whig of any sort was invited ; and at 
his own birthday party no one at all connected with 
the Government, except the members in his household, 
was asked to be present. He was evidently resolved 
that, if he had to see them in London, the gates of 
Windsor should be closed to them. On the other 
hand, he chose his guests deliberately from the Tories, 
the men he liked best being Lord Winchilsea and 
Lord Wharncliffe, both holding violent views, and the 
Duke of Dorset, who was an extreme Tory. It was 
said that for the Tories stood the King, the House of 
Lords, the Church, the Bar and all the law, a large 
minority in the House of Commons, the agricultural 
interest, and the monied interest generally; while for 
the Whigs stood a small majority in the Commons, the 
manufacturing towns, and a portion of the rabble. Of 
course, those who triumphantly asserted this blinked 
the fact that the majority of the whole country stood 
for the Whigs, as the Tories could not, with all their 



70 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

interest, form a Government which would be accept- 
able. 

Greville notes in 1836 : " To-day we had a Council, 
when His Most Gracious Majesty behaved most un- 
graciously to his confidential servants, whom he cer- 
tainly does not delight to honour." 

Sometimes the King made a very special effort to 
hurt his Ministers. Lord Aylmer had been recalled 
from Canada by the Whig Government for some irre- 
gularities, and he was introduced at the reception of 
the Bath in 1837. As he approached the throne 
William called up Palmerston, Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs, and Lord Minto, First Lord of the Admiralty, 
making them stand one on either side of Aylmer, that 
they might hear every word that was said. He then an- 
nounced that he wished to take that, the most public 
opportunity, of telling him that he approved most 
entirely of his conduct in Canada, that he had acted 
like a true and loyal subject towards a set of traitors 
and conspirators, and behaved as it became a British 
officer to do in such circumstances. In fact, he morti- 
fied his Ministers as much as he could, and gratified 
Aylmer to the same extent. 

It is not to be supposed that the Ministers liked to 
be treated with such rudeness, nor to be ignored, but 
they took it quietly, made no public grumble, went on 
with their work, and left such insults to be forgotten ; 
only the King's attitude made this difference, they 
began to look upon themselves as Ministers to the 
House of Commons rather than to the Crown, which 
tended to lessen the kingly power, A little later, 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 71 

when Victoria sat on the throne, and, being a WRig, 
paid honour to her Ministers, but showed dislike to 
the Opposition and indifference to the nobles of Tory 
tendencies, the outcry was loud and deep. Her in- 
experience, her sex, her age, were blamed as the 
reasons; open disloyalty was shown her, and some- 
times marked rudeness. Yet she was but following 
the ways of her predecessor in somewhat milder 
fashion. She was one of a family which never hid 
its preferences, and she had learned the lesson bad 
as it was at the Royal board of a man whom she 
loved. 

Victoria had been bred a Whig. Her father and 
mother were Whigs, and all her mother's counsellors 
and friends held the same views; Lord Durham went 
further even, being regarded as the leader of the 
Radicals. Lord Ashley once gave it as his opinion 
that from her earliest years the Princess had been 
taught to regard the Tories as her personal enemies. 
" I am told that the language at Kensington was cal- 
culated to inspire her with fear and hatred of them." 

Through the years of King William's reign, when 
he, poor man, was in a constant state of ebullition with 
his Ministers, his people, or members of his family, 
the Princess Victoria changed from a child to a woman. 
She listened quietly, as children did listen in those 
days, to the politics talked in her mother's circle, and 
became imbued with very strong views; she visited, 
and played at Royalty like a well-made automaton; 
she studied music, French, English, singing, and 
dancing under various tutors, and thought a great deal 



72 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

about the time when she would be England's 
Sovereign. 

Leopold, who, it is said, was soon deadly sick of his 
Belgian crown and wishful to abdicate, thinking it 
better to be an English Prince with fifty thousand a 
year and uncle to the Queen, than to be monarch of a 
troublesome little kingdom which all its neighbours 
regarded with an evil or a covetous eye, still kept 
Claremont in good order, having given the mastership 
of the house over to Sir John Conroy. And there 
Victoria was taken when she seemed to flag. She 
loved the place, for were not the happiest moments of 
her girlish life spent there ? It was there that she met 
her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha, who, on seeing her, made the first sug- 
gestion that she might do worse than marry into the 
Saxe-Coburg family, and she had definitely in her 
mind her grandson Albert. The gardens at Clare- 
mont were well cultivated, and all that the Duchess of 
Kent did not use was sent to Leopold, a thing which 
caused many a joke at his expense. 

The Duchess of Kent and her daughter stayed 
quietly sometimes at Margate, sometimes at Tunbridge 
Wells, but their real home was at Kensington. There 
the Princess's life was a quiet one ; she saw little, too 
little, of the Court, and still went to bed at nine o'clock. 
Occasionally the Duchess gave dinner-parties at 
which Victoria appeared before and after the meal. 
Thus, in 1833, Her Royal Highness did her best to 
mollify the King's resentment against her by giving a 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 73 

large party in his honour ; and Croker writes of dining 
with the Duchess "with a large Conservative party 
four Dukes and three Duchesses, and the rest of thirty 
people in proportion. I was the only untitled and 
almost the only undecorated guest. The little 
Princess ceases to be little. She grows tall, is very 
good-looking, but not, I think, strong ; yet she may live 
to be plain Mrs. Guelph." A suggestion which, as we 
have seen, appeared nearing fulfilment some time 
later. 

Two of Victoria's first cousins came over that year, 
Princes Alexander and Ernest of Wurtemburg, and 
even at that date the matchmakers wondered whether 
there was not some ulterior motive for their coming. 
As on an earlier occasion, King William gave a 
juvenile ball at St. James's Palace. But in spite of 
the gossip the young men came and went, leaving no 
tit-bit of news for the talkers to discuss. This mar- 
riage of the Princess had occupied some minds almost 
from the day of her birth ; and when she was but nine 
years old it was said that she must marry either the 
son of the Duke of Cumberland or the son of the 
Duke of Cambridge, a proceeding which would have 
been entirely gratifying to the father of whichever boy 
was chosen. 

One of the Princess's favourite amusements was 
studying music, and she must have found it much more 
entertaining than the pretensions of boy lovers ; indeed, 
she liked it so much that in 1834 Mrs. Brookfield said 
that her teachers had been obliged to keep her music 



74 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

under the smotherings of less delightful studies, or it 
would have run away with her; adding that "the 
Duchess of Northumberland has no sinecure of her 
governorship, but really fags with her pupil." l 

Princess Victoria loved the Italian opera, went often 
to the theatre, and for her soul's health she was given 
every possible opportunity of listening to sacred ora- 
torios, with the result that Handel was anathema to 
her in later life. Indeed, music occupied so much time 
and interest that the papers announced the appoint- 
ment of Mr. George Herbert Rodwell Director of 
Music at Covent Garden as composer to the Duchess 
of Kent and Princess Victoria. This led to many 
satirical comments, in which it was suggested that they 
went through their daily life to an accompaniment of 
suitable music. A humorous journal gave the follow- 
ing scene as taking place in Victoria's boudoir : 

" A tooth-brush, O.P., upper entrance, looking-glass 
in flat, toilet-table, P.S., tooth-powder in centre, rouge 
in the background, pincushions in the distance, combs, 
hair-brushes, &c., in confusion. A chord enter the 
Princess through door in flat. Slow music, during 
which the Princess opens the top of a chest of drawers, 
and takes out a frill, which she puts on, and exit 
through door opposite. Slow music, and enter the 
Duchess she advances towards the toilet-table with 
a start. Hurried music by Rodwell, composer to Her 
Royal Highness; she sits down. A chord opens 
window. Air and chorus of housemaids without. She 
sits down. Crash advances towards the rouge-pot. 
i"Mrs, Brookfield and her Circle." 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 75 

Slow music she takes it away. Crash by Rodwell, 
and exit to hurried music." 

The writer adds to this that the curious in these 
matters will be enabled to see through the moral of 
the delightful sketch, which shows the anxiety of the 
Duchess to prevent the amiable little Princess from 
applying rouge to her infantile cheeks, " a practice we 
cannot sufficiently reprobate. The music is admirably 
adapted to the situations by Rodwell, whose appoint- 
ment as composer to the royal duo we shall in future 
be able to appreciate." 

The two Princesses were, in fact, constantly going 
to concerts, and William Henry Brookfield poked fun 
at them in a letter written to his friend Venables he 
who had broken Thackeray's nose in a fight in their 
schoolboy days. A three days 5 musical festival was 
arranged at Westminster, and he thus describes one 
afternoon : " We went to town for the fiddling, which 
it was the pill 1 of the day to cry down. I was much 
gratified by the show and altogether. I sate by the 
Duke of Wellington, who was good enough to go out 
and fetch me a pot of porter. When ' See the Con- 
quering Hero Comes ' was sung in c Judas Maccabeus/ 
all eyes were turned upon me. I rose and bowed 
but did not think the place was suited for any more 
marked acknowledgment. The King sang the Corona- 
tion Anthem exceedingly well, and Princess Victoria 
whistled ' The Dead March in Saul ' with rather more 
than her usual effect. But the chef tfceuvre was con- 

1 A slang term, probably meaning to talk pompously or 
trivially. 



76 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

fessed by all to be Macaulay in c The praise of God 
and of the second Day/ I rose a wiser and, I think, 
a sadder man." 

It was probably at this festival that young Lord 
Elphinstone first frightened the Royal mother by 
writing the following acrostic upon the Princess's 
name : 

" Propitious Heaven ! who, midst this beauteous blaze, 
Rapt in the grandeur of the Minstrel scene, 
Is that young Innocent, on whom all gaze? 
Nor conscious they the while of choral strain; 
Could I command a Guido's magic power, 
Enthusiast grown, I'd catch thy vivid glow 
Serene, unsullied child of sun and shower ! 
3till on the parent stem allowed to blow. 

Vain, worse than vain, the Bard who'd boldly try, 
In his most brilliant page or loftiest lay, 
Choice how he may be, to depict the eye, 
The lovely eye, of that sweet smiling fay ! 
Oh, 'tis the Maid, who wakes to plaudits loud, 
Rich in the treasure of an angel face, 
In every gift that makes a nation proud 
A mother's joy an honoured Monarch's grace." 

Elphinstone did not dream that with these lines he 
was putting the first nail in the coffin of his hopes of a 
career at Court or in England. 

In 1835 tne Princess came more to the front, and 
probably this was caused by the fact that she suffered 
early in the year from a serious attack of typhoid, 
striking many people with consternation, and making 
King William, who was feeling his age, yet more 
keenly desirous of securing her company. So in June 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 77 

she went to Ascot in the same carriage with the King 
and Queen. It is amusing to note that, in spite of the 
simplicity of dress for which she is supposed to have 
been so conspicuous, and for which everyone has so 
much praised the Duchess of Kent, the Princess wore 
on this occasion a large pink bonnet, a rose-coloured 
satin dress broche, and a pelerine cape trimmed with 
black. The description, at least, is a little painful. 
But N. P. Willis, the American literary man, speaks of 
her that day as being quite unnecessarily pretty and 
interesting, and deplores the probability that the heir 
to the English Crown would be sold in marriage for 
political purposes without regard to her personal 
character and wishes. 

One writer described the Duchess of Kent on the 
same occasion in the sentimental and fulsome way so 
much beloved by women writers about Royalty. " Her 
brow seemed as if it would well become an imperial 
diadem; such lofty and commanding intellect was 
there, united with feminine softness and matronly 
grace. She looked fit to be the mother of the Queen. 
The expression of maternal pride and delight with 
which on this occasion she surveyed her child at every 
fresh burst of the people's affection is not to be for- 
gotten by those who witnessed it." 

In August, Victoria was confirmed by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London at the 
Chapel Royal, St. James's. There is much that is 
solemn at a confirmation, there should be much that 
is joyous and brave as well; the girl should feel her 



78 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

responsibility, she also ought to be glad at becoming 
really a member of God's Church, and in outward 
show, at least, a Child of God. But at this confirma- 
tion the Archbishop made so solemn, so pathetic, so 
"parental" an exhortation that the whole company 
wept. The Duchess of Kent sobbed audibly, the 
Queen and her ladies also wept aloud, tears ran down 
the King's rubicund face, and the poor little Princess 
was not only drowned in tears, but frightened to death. 
The whole tone of the affair seems to have suited the 
spirit of the age, for one lady who was present described 
it afterwards as a " beautifully touching scene." 

Through this part of the year there seems to have 
been something like peace between William and his 
sister-in-law, though at his birthday party there was 
thrown across the dinner-table a shadow of the storm 
which later was to descend upon " the duo " from Ken- 
sington. William never neglected the opportunity of 
making a speech; if he had anything to say he said 
it, whether the moment was propitious or otherwise; 
if he had nothing to say, he still got on to his feet and 
talked, probably without any relevance to what was 
going on, and his matter was often personal. After 
one dinner he talked disconnectedly about the Turf 
and his wife, saying that the Queen was an excellent 
woman as everyone knew. At this birthday party, in 
l &35> William said, among other things: 

" I cannot expect to live very long, but I hope that 
my successor may be of full age when she mounts the 
throne. I have a great respect for the person upon 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 79 

whom, in the event of my death, the Regency would 
devolve, but I have great distrust of the persons by 
whom she is surrounded. I know that everything 
which falls from my lips is reported again, and I say 
this thus candidly and publicly because it is my desire 
and intention that these my sentiments should be made 
known." 

It could hardly be pleasant for the Duchess to be 
thus criticised before a great party of her friends, but 
a year later criticism was not the right word by which 
to describe the King's tirade against the Duchess. All 
those around His Majesty knew that he could not live 
very long ; not that his health was really bad, but his 
temper was vacillating, he was at times so uncontrolled, 
so childish, and so changeable that men of the world 
listened to his harangues unmoved. He would 
deliberately insult one of his " confidential advisers," 
and the injured one would command his face as well 
as he could, bow, and let it pass. It was not possible 
to make a serious matter of such an incident, for to do 
that would have meant introducing new Ministers every 
week at least. Those about him felt that the business 
of the country could only be carried on by ignoring 
his humours, and that they were more or less marking 
time until William's successor sat on the throne. In 
fact, the future alone was considered by all. The 
King prayed to live until Victoria's majority; the 
Duchess dreamed of a Regency, a throne, and a hus- 
band for her daughter; and the Princess who knows 
what she thought? She contented herself with in- 



80 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

specting the young men who came to be inspected while 
she waited. 

One of the few children who made an impression 
upon the life of the young Princess was Donna Maria, 
the young Queen of Portugal, who was just a month 
older than herself. She came to England in 1829, 
and was entertained by George IV., who, among other 
festivities, gave a children's ball, being urged thereto 
by one of the Court ladies, who pushed the idea by 
saying to him with a naive stupidity, " Oh, do ; it would 
be so nice to see the two little Queens dancing 
together." 

In 1833 Donna Maria went to France, where she was 
received with great want of hospitality by Louis 
Philippe. William did not want her in England, but 
the French King's action spurred him to extend a 
warm hospitality to her here, and thus she renewed a 
childish friendship with Princess Victoria, in so far as 
the Duchess of Kent would allow it. 

In 1835 tms gi f l f sixteen married the Duke of 
Leuchtenberg, who, poor fellow, only went to Lisbon 
to be poisoned by its foulness and to die of throat 
disease in a month. By the autumn of the same year, 
seeing that there was no chance of a successor to the 
throne appearing, the callous counsellors determined 
that their young Queen must marry again, and were 
in such a hurry that the two weddings took place 
within twelve months. The second bridegroom chosen 
was Prince Ferdinand, the elder son of Prince 
Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg. En route for his difficult 



VICTORIA'S TUITION IN POLITICS 81 

position in Portugal, this young man, who was exceed- 
ingly handsome, came on a visit to England with his 
father and his younger brother Augustus; and the 
mention of his name leads to the subject of the Princess 
Victoria's suitors. 



CHAPTER IV 



PRINCESS VICTORIA'S SUITORS 



" What warmth is there in your affection towards any of 
these princely suitors that are already come? " Merchant of 
Venice. 

ALL the world knows that Princess Victoria made a 
love match, and that Nathaniel P. Willis's prognostica- 
tion that she would be married solely for reasons of 
State was never fulfilled, but it is probable that few 
people know that she, like other girls, made little 
flights into the region of romance, and that a small 
crowd of young men presented themselves at the 
English Court, as it were, on approbation. The 
influx began in the spring of 1836, and, of course, pro- 
duced fresh unpleasantness between the King and the 
Duchess. The latter had already decided upon the 
person whom she would wish for a son-in-law, and it is 
almost needless to say that in that case King William 
was likely to prefer any other young man in Christen- 
dom. 

The only fount of information on such a subject as 
this is the contemporary Press, with here and there 
some allusion in letters of the time. When comparing 
the Press of to-day with the Press of seventy or eighty 
years ago, it is wonderful to note the difference of 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 83 

interest which was shown in such matters. To-day we 
not only pretend to believe that Royalty is perfect, 
but we publicly express that belief whenever oppor- 
tunity offers. We are always very polite. In the 
time of King William and in the early years of Queen 
Victoria's reign it seems to have been the custom to 
regard Royalty as very imperfect indeed ; to find evil 
motives for even the most obviously good actions; to 
lay bare every secret, and to leave the poor monarch 
of the realm not a shred of moral clothing with which 
to cover his thoughts or designs. A little while ago 
a report was published without comment that the matri- 
monial fate of our present Prince of Wales was already 
settled. No one troubled about it or took the matter 
up, there was not the slightest idea of making political 
capital out of it; and when he really does marry we 
shall all be decorously delighted. It is quite unlikely 
that the newspapers will give columns of criticism to 
his bride, will rake up or make up evil stories about 
her, point out what a disastrous effect she will have 
upon England, or indeed do anything but wish the 
young people well, and pass on to the next subject. 
Of course, the Princess Victoria presented a special 
case; she was believed to be shy and adaptable in 
character, and there was some ground for imagining 
that it would be the Duchess of Kent who would really 
rule when the time came she and the chosen husband ; 
therefore there was an especial wave of agitation when- 
ever the idea of an alliance was started. 

The same thing applied to the Royal Family as a 
whole. One set of papers would make banal announce- 

G 2 



84 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ments as to the doings of the King, Queen, or Dukes ; 
whereupon another set would fasten upon these seem- 
ingly simple incidents, show that they held hidden 
significance which was contrary to the nation's 
welfare, and would then well belabour the un- 
lucky Royal subject. Now the banal announce- 
ment may appear, and a few subservient papers 
amplify them and fall down and worship, but 
most will let them pass without comment. There 
is one story which has been appearing weekly 
somewhere or other for the past year to the effect that 
Queen Mary spends her evenings among her ladies 
knitting coarse garments for the poor. This pleases 
the sentimental ideas of the lovers of tit-bit publica- 
tions, so it is a constant recurrer; but most sensible 
people shrug their shoulders at it; they know that a 
Queen has more important things to do, and that it 
would be a greater act of charity on her part to pay 
some poor folks to make the clothes. But no one tries 
to prove any connection between this and a possible 
German war, or make it a peg upon which to hang tales 
of poverty, as they would have done a century ago. 

In reality, the people of England know nothing 
about the Court; in the old days they knew too much. 
The causes of this change are probably three : the 
greater security of social and foreign affairs to-day, 
the lessening power of the Crown, and the reticent 
attitude which the Prince Consort insisted upon con- 
cerning Royal doings and surroundings, a habit which 
loosened a little under King Edward, but which seems 
to be strengthening under his successor. However, 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 85 

"the good have no story" may be said, generally 
speaking, to be true of families, and it is probable that 
if sensational events came to pass in the Palace, all 
the papers would once again regard them as legitimate 
matter for praise or stricture. In the old days they 
did not wait for sensational events ; they took a com- 
monplace happening and dressed it in lurid language, 
which sold the papers in spite of the tax upon them, 
and pleased their readers. 

In reproducing some of these highly coloured com- 
ments it must not be believed that my loyalty is 
peccable. I merely recognise that words that inflamed 
people eighty years ago are amusing now, and for 
those who can take from them the little spark of truth 
they are also to some extent serviceable as illuminators 
of the past. 

Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg had already 
settled the career of his eldest son, and he saw no 
reason why like a good matchmaking parent he 
should not try to find a kingdom for his second son 
Augustus, who was much the less attractive of the two. 
As soon as they arrived everyone was on the watch, 
the pity was that none of the gossip-mongers could 
be present when intentions were talked over. Because 
they were not there, no one can now tell whether inten- 
tions were mentioned at all, or whether things were 
left to develop in an ordinary way. In any case, 
Prince Ferdinand must have been disappointed, for 
Augustus was a silent lad, and did little to make him- 
self agreeable, while the handsome Ferdinand the 
younger is said to have been captivated by his 



86 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

fresh young cousin they were all cousins at first 
sight. 

The visitors went first to Kensington, and then to 
Windsor, where they were royally entertained, and 
returned to pass two weeks at Kensington Palace. 
The Prince and Augustus went home, hoping nothing, 
and still Ferdinand remained, in spite of his bride 
awaiting him in Lisbon. A lady diarist of the day 
says that he lingered from day to day, " nay, week after 
week," allured by " the fascinations of Kensington's 
Royal bowers." However, this was something of an 
exaggeration, as Ferdinand had to be in Lisbon by a 
certain date for his marriage in April. At last he had 
to go, and he travelled with the Duchess and Princess 
to Claremont. There he took an " affectionate leave," 
and went his solitary but for a few attendants way 
to the sea. 

He met his young and dark bride kindly, and within 
a week or two took the same disease of the throat 
which had killed his predecessor less than a year 
earlier. Being a young man of great determination, 
he absolutely refused the kind ministrations of the 
Portuguese doctors, and was cured by his own German 
attendant. Whether he was happier alive than he 
would have been dead it is not easy to say, for his new 
subjects prepared a nice little quarrel for him before 
he arrived, and he was soon in the midst of mutinies 
and revolutions. 

The first young man who probably caused a real 
flutter in the Kensington home was not of Royal blood 
at all. This was young Lord Elphinstone, to whom 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 87 

it was said the Princess had lost her heart, and 
who was therefore thought sufficiently formidable to 
make the Duchess take a very extreme step. He was 
Lord of the Bedchamber to King William, was hand- 
some, well-mannered, unassuming, always ready to 
help in small matters, and eminently fitted to catch a 
girl's fancy. He was also, as one paper put it 
satirically, a most convenient person to engage to do 
the amiable at balls and parties, and beyond all doubt 
was a most useful and agreeable master of the cere- 
monies of fashion. It was said that he had not only 
lost his heart to the pretty Princess, but had taken hers 
in return. He would sit and watch her surreptitiously 
in church, and on one occasion so far forgot his 
religious duties as to make a sketch of her while there, 
which sketch he was later imprudent enough to present 
to her. Maternal care took alarm; Sir John Conroy 
was consulted, and a whole set of hidden wires were 
pulled to put a stop to love's young dream. The result 
was to be read in every morning paper one day at the 
beginning of 1836: 

" Lord Elphinstone has been appointed Governor 
of Madras. The Court of Directors (of the East 
India Company) ratified the nomination on Wednes- 
day." So ran the announcement. The Satirist, 
much annoyed, commented, ' The appointment of 
Lord Elphinstone is certainly not one to be ap- 
plauded. ... To send him out as the Governor 
of Madras is, to say the very least of it, unwise "; and 
it went on to point out that many a man better fitted 
for the post had been overlooked that he might have 



88 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

it. " A Lord of the Bedchamber spoiled in a Governor 
of Madras ! Lord Elphinstone may have qualified for 
the appointment, but the public surely has a right to 
demand tried ability and weight of character," was 
another comment. And so, though gossip awoke 
several times later to nod and hint, the young lord left 
his goddess and his native land, not to return for seven 
long years. 

The Age, ultra-Tory and virulently anti-Catholic in 
its sentiments, outspoken to the verge of libel, and un- 
scrupulous in its assertion of wild facts, had something 
to say weekly at this time about the Princess's lovers. 
It started the campaign by asserting the obvious truth 
that the Princess Victoria was now becoming the object 
of the highest and purest interest to England, and 
must not be lightly bestowed, adding, " The gentle- 
man who with a few sons lives at the Tuileries would 
perhaps like to nibble here but until the established 
Protestant religion is overthrown he has no chance. A 
German paper mentions that a rumour is current that 
Prince Augustus of Saxe-Coburg is likely to win the 
Princess Victoria. Whether or not the desire be father 
to the thought we know not, nor do we care ; to omit 
all other objections to a union such as the one hinted 
at, it is sufficient to state that the Prince alluded to 
is a Catholic." 

With the end of April arrived further papas with 
two sons each, and then began the duel between King 
William and his sister-in-law. The latter had, as has 
been said, quietly made choice of her daughter's bride- 
groom, being guided in the selection by her brother 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 80 

Leopold, and we are told that her nephew Albert had 
been taught from his early childhood that he would 
one day marry his cousin Victoria. However, he did 
not see his destined mate until May, 1836, when he 
was nearly seventeen, and when he and his elder 
brother Ernest, escorted by his father, the Duke of 
Saxe-Coburg, paid a visit of a month's duration to 
Kensington. King William hated the idea, and he 
did his little best to spoil the scheme, which was too 
unformed to allow of any open action. He had behind 
him the Tories generally and all the Tory Press, while 
the anti-Catholics wasted much good energy in traduc- 
ing Leopold, the Prince whom long before everyone 
had received with open arms. Leopold had married 
the daughter of the King of France, and was suspected 
of having become a Catholic, thus adding to the dis- 
like which was felt for him in England. One paper 
said of him at this time, " The name of Leopold is 
the most unpopular in the kingdom, and is accom- 
panied with certain sordid associations of which our 
national ledger gives ample and disgraceful evidence." 
So, to counterbalance the schemes of the Duchess, 
King William invited to England the young Duke of 
Brunswick, also the Prince of Orange and his two 
sons, William and Alexander, who were reported to 
be fine young men, though stiff and formal in their 
manner. These were as heartily welcomed by the 
King's supporters as the others were traduced. 
" There is something in the very name of William of 
Orange which is encouraging in these times of Popish 
assumption and pseudo-Protestant treachery. Whether 



90 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

our fancies as to a certain union be verified or not, 
time will prove. Should it take place, we think the 
people of England will not object, whatever the 
malignants of Ireland may say against one of the same 
family as the Hero of the Boyne." 

Those who looked on enjoyed the situation, and 
there is little doubt but that the Prince of Orange, on 
behalf of his son, would have won in the contest if it 
had depended on the sympathies of the English people. 
In his youth the Prince had been an aspirant for the 
hand of Princess Charlotte, his rival being the success- 
ful Leopold, who had not only taken his hoped-for 
bride, but later half of his Principality. When 
Leopold was mentioned in his presence, Orange would 
say, " Voila un homme qui a pris ma femme et mon 
royaume." Gossip went that he intended to place his 
sons at an English university, that he might make them 
as English as possible; and there were those who 
affirmed that the House of Orange had great claims 
upon the country's gratitude, but that we had satisfied 
in full any claim that the House of Saxe-Coburg might 
put forward. Advice was offered freely to the Duchess 
of Kent; she "is a shrewd and sensible woman, and 
will not, we hope, misunderstand our loyalty when we 
say, ' We must have no more Coburgs.' One fair 
rose of England has been gathered by a Coburg, and 
there shall be no further sacrifice of a future Queen 
to them." The Coburgs were dubbed a mercenary, 
good-for-nothing set by one section, while another put 
all the German princes into the same category. " All 
the multitudinous progeny of the small peoples of the 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 91 

Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Coburg, and their cousin Saxes are 
racing against each other for the hand of the Princess 
Victoria, to say nothing of a brace of Brunswicks and 
a Prince of Orange and his two sons, who probably 
thinks he should be given first chance, as he was done 
out of the Princess Charlotte. The Duke of Cumber- 
land's son is quite hors-de-combat, and the simple 
child, George of Cambridge, is not encouraged by the 
Government on account of his mental incapacity. The 
Saxe tribe are the most hungry, the most persevering, 
and the most lucky." 

Indeed, the English might have been excused some 
annoyance at the favour shown to the great Teutonic 
nation, for, in addition to the nine or ten gentlemen 
mentioned, there were also here in England during 
the same spring the Prince of Leiningen, Victoria's 
half-brother, Prince Ernest of Hesse-Philippthal, and 
Prince Edward of Carolath. These last three and 
Prince Ferdinand with his sons were all invited to a 
great ball which the Duchess of Kent gave at the end 
of March, just as at the end of May she gave a brilliant 
ball at which her own guests and those of the King 
were naturally present. King William entertained the 
Coburgs as graciously as he did the lad from Bruns- 
wick and the Oranges, and, indeed, did his utmost to 
ensure that Victoria should meet them all together as 
often as possible. But it was inevitable that at Ken- 
sington Palace there should be many opportunities for 
the young Saxe-Coburgs to talk with their cousin. An 
aide-de-camp of the Duke of Cumberland's, and 
Lord de Lisle, son-in-law of King William, watched 



92 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Victoria and Albert pacing the Palace garden one 
day. 

" Do you think they are lovers ? " one man asked 
the other ; and he shook his head dubiously, answering 
in non-committal way, " They seem to be good friends, 
anyhow." 

Whether there were too many from which to choose, 
or whether it was true that Victoria was, for the best 
of all reasons, proof against their attractions, this tribe 
of young men came and went, making no impression. 
She danced with them all, for she dearly loved danc- 
ing, talked German to them all, for it is doubtful 
whether one of them could speak English, and said 
good-bye to them all with an equable smile, and 
probably with a sigh of relief that now she would be 
free to go her own way to some extent. 

The papers showed as much interest in their going 
as in their coming. All had an idea that, though 
nothing had been announced, something had been 
fixed up. Those who had no animus against the Ger- 
man " invasion " were contented with such ventures as, 
" I hear to-day that the young Prince of Saxe-Coburg 
is the destined husband of our Princess Victoria," or, 
" It is rumoured that the two rival suitors (Coburg and 
Orange) for the highest and fairest hand in the king- 
dom, returned home without making any impression on 
the heart of the interesting lady in question." One 
grumbler observed that the Princess had been pre- 
vented from going to Ascot, as she was kept at home 
to entertain "these round-faced youths." But those 
who feared the youths lashed right and left, speaking 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 93 

of the impolitic liberality of certain high personages, 
and the dogged good nature of John Bull which gained 
for him the appellation of fool from all the world for 
allowing his means to be squandered over German 
fortune-hunters. The worst tirade was naturally given 
by the Age, which used Leopold as a whipping boy, 
and in rhythmic sentences announced : " This King 
Leopold has become the Sovereign of a Popish 
country, the husband of a Popish Princess, and the 
son-in-law of a Popish Monarch. King Leopold was 
the accepted of Protestant England's welcome the 
chosen of Protestant England's hope and the son-in- 
law of Protestant England's Sovereign. What a con- 
trast ! Nay, further King Leopold, if not a convert 
to Popery, at least conforms to its rites; and mark 
this, the nephew whose matrimonial agent he had the 
arrogance to be is a member of the Roman Catholic 
Chitrch\ although, following his uncle's example, the 
youth would also no doubt change his religion for a 
Crown ! " 

As for the young people themselves, they were 
probably quite as unconscious of the agonised flutter 
which their meeting had raised in journalistic dove- 
cots as they were unmoved by love for each other. 
He thought she was very amiable and astonishingly 
self-possessed; she commended his welfare to her 
uncle's protection, for the whole project had been 
explained to her, and her reason as well as her family 
affection had found good in it. So in her letter to 
Leopold she acknowledged this by saying, " I hope 
and trust that all will go on prosperously and well 



94 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

on this subject, now of so much importance to 



me." 



And so for a space the matter ended. But it is 
really worthy of note that among all the young visitors 
from Germany and elsewhere, there were no girls ; no 
smart young cousins came to rival Victoria's charms, 
and she had the field entirely to herself. This, at least, 
gives some justification for the belief that match- 
making was in the air. 

After this, for some reason the Duchess of Kent 
withdrew Victoria entirely from Court. William and 
Adelaide sent her invitations in vain, and the irascible 
Monarch grew more and more angry over the matter. 
It may be, of course, that the Duchess was annoyed 
at the King's very transparent attempt to frustrate her 
plans for her daughter, and showed her resentment in 
this somewhat trivial way, or she may have aimed more 
strenuously at removing the girl from influence which 
she had always deemed bad. It was quite useless for 
the King to fume, as all the Kents had to do was to 
go to Claremont and get out of his reach; and the 
only revenge he could take was that of denouncing the 
Duchess at any and every opportunity, and advertising 
his increasing dislike of her to all who would listen. 

In August, 1837, this simmering hatred came to the 
boil, and readily flowed over into the public ears. 
William invited the Duchess and her child to stay at 
Windsor from early in the month until after the 2ist, 
hoping that they would be present to celebrate Queen 
Adelaide's birthday on the I3th and his own on the 
2ist, for which latter two dinners were arranged, as 
the 2ist was a Sunday; thus there was to be a family 






H.R.H. THE DUCHESS OF KENT. 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 95 

dinner on that day, and a more public one on the 22nd. 
The Duchess seems to have had an unfortunate knack 
of writing crude not to say rude letters. To this 
invitation she responded that as she wished to keep her 
own birthday on the i5th at Claremont, she could not 
be at Windsor until the 2Oth ; and she entirely ignored 
all mention of the festivities for the Queen. There 
seems to have been little reason for this direct snub 
to Adelaide, and it was probably caused more by a 
want of imagination than through a definite desire to 
annoy, but it naturally resulted in irritating the King 
anew. He, however, made no reply to this letter, but 
that did not mean that the Duchess was not in his 
thoughts. Perhaps someone had given him a hint, or 
perhaps William suspected that the Duchess was 
taking liberties; but on the afternoon of the 2Oth, when 
he had prorogued Parliament, and when he probably 
knew that the Duchess would already have started for 
Windsor, he went down to Kensington Palace. There 
he found what he perhaps had expected to find, that 
his sister-in-law had appropriated to her own use 
seventeen extra rooms, of which a year before he had 
refused her the accommodation. He went straight 
from Kensington to Windsor, where the Duchess and 
her daughter had already arrived. Without waiting to 
change, he marched straight to the drawing-room, 
kissed the Princess, holding both her hands and telling 
her in fatherly way how pleased he was to see her. 
He then made a low bow to the Duchess, and, like the 
old dunderhead that he was, immediately began the 
battle. 

They were by no means alone, the whole house- 



96 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

party being assembled, all of whom were astounded 
to hear their Monarch say in loud, harsh accents that 
he had just come from Kensington, where he had found 
that a most unwarrantable liberty had been taken. 
Someone had possessed themselves of apartments not 
only without his consent, but against his expressed 
commands, and he ended up with, " he neither under- 
stood nor would endure conduct so disrespectful to 
himself." 

What happened further we are not told, but there 
can be no doubt that all through this very trying even- 
ing the Duchess of Kent behaved with perfect dignity ; 
she might be wanting in politeness privately, but 
publicly nothing upset her control. Adolphus Fitz- 
clarence was present, and sat within two or three of 
the Duchess at the dinner, thus he heard plainly all 
that was said. A little later he fully retailed the 
scandal to Greville. He says that on the Sunday 
morning the King had by no means got over his excite- 
ment, which lasted more or less through the day. At 
dinner, though this was supposed to be a family func- 
tion, at least a hundred people were present, either 
belonging to the Court or gathered from the neigh- 
bourhood. On one side of the King sat the Duchess 
of Kent, directly opposite him was Princess Victoria 
next the Queen. Everything went well until the time 
of speeches arrived, and the first health to be proposed 
was naturally that of His Majesty. At that this in- 
comparably tactless King got upon his feet and 
straightway began to express all the anger he felt. 
The part particularly interesting to the Duchess ran : 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 97 

" I trust in God that my life may be spared for nine 
months longer, after which period, in the event of my 
death, no Regency would take place. I should 
then have the satisfaction of leaving the Royal 
authority to the personal exercise of that young 
lady (pointing to the Princess), the heiress pre- 
sumptive to the Crown, and not in the hands of a 
person now near me, who is surrounded by evil advisers 
and who is herself incompetent to act with propriety 
in the station in which she would be placed. I have no 
hesitation in saying that I have been insulted grossly 
insulted by that person, but I am determined to 
endure no longer a course of behaviour so disrespect- 
ful to me. Amongst other things, I have particularly 
to complain of the manner in which that young lady 
has been kept away from my Court; she has been 
repeatedly kept from my Drawing Rooms, at which 
she ought always to have been present, but I am fully 
resolved that this shall not happen again. I would 
have her know that I am King, and I am determined 
to make my authority respected, and for the future 
I shall insist and command that the Princess do upon 
all occasions appear at my Court, as it is her cftity to 
do." 

It is said that His Majesty finished his tirade by 
speaking of the Princess in a fatherly and affectionate 
way, saying that though he had seen so little of her, he 
took no less interest in her, and the more he saw of her 
in public and in private the greater pleasure it would 
be to him. 

H 



98 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Before he had got to this, however, the Princess 
was crying, the Queen looked terribly distressed, and 
the whole company sat aghast, their eyes on the table. 
When a dead silence fell after this awful philippic, 
all must have wondered what was to happen next, but 
the Duchess, who had more sense than her assailant, 
uttered no word, and the Queen gave the signal for 
retiring. Then we are told that the Duchess had her 
say, and that there was an awful scene between the 
pair; she ordered her carriage, but all concerned did 
their best to change her determination of going from 
the Castle at once, and some sort of a reconciliation 
ensued. 

The King might relent, might change his mind or 
forget things, but he does not seem ever to have re- 
pented his foolish deeds. Thus the next day he asked 
Adolphus what everyone said of his speech, and that 
young man made a diplomatic answer, saying that 
though everyone thought the Duchess merited his 
rebuke, it ought not to have been given at his own 
table before a hundred people ; he ought to have sent 
for her to his closet, and said all he felt and thought 
there. To which William answered that he did not 
care where or before whom he said what he thought, 
and that, " by God, he had been insulted by her in a 
measure that was past all endurance, and he would 
stand it no longer." 

What a terrible exhibition of inhospitality and bad 
taste ! Yet we have to realise that the King had been 
much provoked, and, being the man of severe limita- 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 99 

tions that he was, he took the only course which oc- 
curred to him. There can be no doubt that a real 
affection existed between William and his niece, that 
he knew that but a small span of life remained to him, 
and that he was constantly refused the society and 
the sight of his successor. Though the autocratic 
Duchess had married into the Guelph family, she never 
seemed to understand the exceedingly primitive char- 
acters of the people who composed that family, or, if 
she did understand them, she gave them little credit 
for their virtues, but recognised to the full all their sins 
of omission and commission. 

A slight instance of the small way in which she 
annoyed them is given in the " Tales of My Father," 
already referred to. The Duchess of Cumberland 
sent an aide-de-camp to the Duchess of Kent with a 
message about the illness of young George. When the 
young man had told Her Royal Highness all that she 
wished to know, she invited him to dine and stay the 
night. His answer was that he could not do so, as he 
had no leave, and the Duke was most particular on 
that point. 

" I will manage all that ! " the Duchess haughtily 
replied. " I should like to present you to the Princess 
Victoria." So a message was sent to the Duke of 
Cumberland that the captain had been commanded to 
remain at Kensington, with the result that the next 
morning a letter arrived for the guest from the Duke, 
informing him that his business was to look after Prince 
George, not to be nursery governess to Princess Vic- 

H 2 



100 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

toria; that he had slept out of St. James's without 
leave ; and that if he did not come back at once he 
would be put under arrest. In this there was no defer- 
ence shown to the will of the Duchess, nothing but 
annoyance expressed at the excess of hospitality to his 
messenger. 

After that terrible birthday party the Duchess stayed 
for yet another dinner at the Castle, and it seems that 
she was somewhat long in entering the drawing-room 
the second evening. The Queen would not go in with- 
out her, which caused William loudly to demand the 
whereabouts of his wife. When he was told that she 
was waiting for the Duchess, he said just as loudly : 

" That woman is a nuisance ! " No one can wonder 
that the Duchess hated him; it is only possible to feel 
what a pity it was that things had been allowed to come 
to such a pass. 

From that time history gives no account of meetings 
between St. James's and Kensington. 

It was during her last year at Kensington Palace 
that Victoria was troubled by the first of the mad 
suitors who for three years were recurrent factors in 
her life. This was a Mr. Runnings, a man of about 
forty, who was the owner of considerable property 
near Tunbridge Wells, where he first saw Victoria. 
He may have been sane enough in other ways, but he 
was certainly mad in his regard for the heiress to the 
Throne. He spoke of her as his " little Princess," 
and lamented the fact that her cruel guardians kept 
her from him. He haunted Kensington Gardens, and 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 101 

the Duchess and her daughter scarcely left the Palace 
but they found this man stationed near the door, 
bowing most gracefully with his hand on his heart. 
He would follow the two at a distance until they turned 
some corner out of his sight, and then at a smart run 
would either overtake them or by a short cut get ahead, 
so that they would find him again and again facing 
them and making most respectful salutes. He 
regularly attended the services in the Chapel Royal 
attached to Kensington Palace, sitting where he could 
obtain a full view of the Royal pew, and would 
generally put half a sovereign in the plate. 

Of course, this matter soon became public property, 
and was too good a subject for joke to be ignored. 
Wags would do their best to encourage the hopeful 
lover by writing him letters, and he once showed a 
policeman such a missive purporting to be signed by 
the Princess, expressing a deep love for him, and 
asking him to write to her, placing his answer 
under a certain tree, as she would have no chance of 
speaking to him. The police had, of course, to be on 
the alert in case he did anything more than usually 
extravagant, and he complained bitterly of their 
surveillance, saying that he felt it to be most 
degrading. 

He was for ever trying some new way of keeping 
the Princess Victoria under his observation, and at 
last hit upon the idea of having a barouche exactly like 
that of the Duchess of Kent, his servant being dressed 
in Royal undress livery, a dark pepper-and-salt coat 



102 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and glazed hat with broad purple velvet band, and in 
this he would follow his " little Princess " when she 
drove out. On Victoria's eighteenth birthday he 
licensed a cab to which he gave her name, decorated it 
with ribbons, and persuaded the proprietor to allow it 
to be illuminated with lamps at night. His own house 
was illuminated from top to bottom, and during the day 
he invited everyone who passed to stop and drink the 
health of the Princess. By evening a dense crowd had 
gathered before his door, most of those who composed 
it being ready to drink again and again to their future 
Queen, and already in such a state of intoxication that 
the police interfered and put a stop to his liberality. 
The whole affair would have been nipped in the bud 
had it occurred at the present time, but eighty years 
years ago the police were few and given but scanty 
powers. 

On the accession of Victoria to the Throne this 
annoying lover was somehow pushed into the back- 
ground, and we hear no more of him, excepting that at 
a fancy bazaar at Lincoln he eagerly purchased some 
things worked by Her Majesty and was eventually 
locked up for assaulting the Mayor. 

As Princess Victoria neared her majority all the 
newspapers showed unrest ; they devoted daily leaders 
and paragraphs to their hopes and fears; there were 
hints of plots and schemings, of arrangements made 
at Kensington, of members chosen to form the new 
Royal Household as soon as William was dead. The 
names of everyone around the Duchess were paraded 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 103 

in print, to their praise or detriment. The Newcastle 
Chronicle got frightened over a scheme which, it said, 
had been fixed up between Sir John Conroy and Lord 
Durham, who was then Ambassador Extraordinary at 
St. Petersburg. 

When the Princess came of age, they said, she 
would, of course, be given an establishment of her own. 
Lord Durham would return from Russia before that, 
so as to be ready to put himself at the head of Vic- 
toria's household, his ambition being, however, to make 
that position but a step to the Premiership. Mean- 
while, he would be keeping the post warm for Sir John 
Conroy, who coveted the headship of the household 
for himself. This the paper pointed out would 
only need a little management. Lord Durham was a 
personal friend of Leopold's, so he would arrange the 
Coburg marriage, and both men would gain their pro- 
motion through the gratitude of the Duchess and her 
brother. 

Poor Victoria ! she evidently did not count in this 
matter at all ; she was but a peg on which two ambitious 
men were supposed to hang their schemes for advance- 
ment. Yet this note was sounded in all the diatribes 
upon her suggested marriage. What the King wished, 
what the Duchess and her brother wished, what this or 
that party wished, all these were discussed to the full, 
but what the Princess herself wished was thought 
scarcely worthy of any attention. 

So in the spring of 1837 the Princess's future hus- 
band was as fertile a subject of interest as it had been 



104 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in the spring of the year before. In Brussels her 
marriage with Prince Albert was talked of as an 
assured thing, for he and his brother were residing 
there, " in a hired house of no very distinguished class, 
and obtaining their dinners from the Restaurateur 
Dubois for themselves and tutors and servants at 
twenty-five francs a day," said one bad-tempered 
article, adding, " We mention this to show the extent 
of their income and the princely generosity of their 
uncle, the King of the Belgians, in not giving them an 
attic in his palace." 

There had always been whispers about the Kensing- 
ton clique or the Kensington camarilla, and from 
this time forward those who a year or two before would 
have been prominent members of the Orange League 
never lost an opportunity of gibing at and traducing 
the foreigners who surrounded the Princess on the 
score of intrigue and cupidity. What was the motive of 
all the outcry it is difficult to say, but when now and 
then it seemed necessary to give it some form, it nearly 
always resolved itself into a hatred or terror of Popery. 
Those who shouted so much seemed to be unaware 
that, while they expressed loyalty to the Duchess, it 
was her own brother whom they so violently traduced, 
and that she was as foreign as he, while Victoria had 
the same blood and the same traditions. However, 
discrimination cannot be expected of political fanatics, 
for whatever happens can be made to fit any theory by 
those interested. 

The politicians of others countries looked on and 



VICTORIA'S SUITORS 105 

wondered, and sometimes dug some fact out of history 
with which to urge the grumblers onward. Thus the 
Gazette de France gravely published an article in 1836 
to prove that King William was a mere impostor, and 
that the Princess Victoria had no right of succession, 
the only legitimate Queen of England being Made- 
moiselle de Berry. This is how the writer of the article 
proved it; and if there had been no law concerning the 
Protestant succession, and also, I think, if James II. 
had left no son, he would have been right. But they 
are rather big " ifs " : 

(i) Henrietta, daughter of Charles I. 

(ii) Anne-Marie of Orleans, daughter of Henrietta. 

(iii) Victor Amedee III., King of Sardinia and Duke 
of Savoy, son of Anne-Marie. 

(iv) Marie-Therese of Savoy, daughter of Victor 
Amedee. 

(v) Louis-Antoine, Due d'Angouleme, Comte 
dArtois, son of Marie-Therese. 

(vi) In default of direct issue the right of succession 
would go to Mademoiselle de Berry, daughter of the 
Due de Berry, and niece of the Due d'Angouleme. 

The article concluded with : " Monseigneur the 
Due d'Angouleme, for the Catholics of Ireland, Scot- 
land, and England, ought incontestably to be con- 
sidered King of Great Britain, and Mademoiselle 
heiress presumptive to the Crown, in the place and 
instead of William IV. and the Princess Victoria, who 
reigns only by virtue of a Protestant law of usurpation 
and revolution." 



106 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

However, the energetic anti-Catholic gentlemen in 
England were perfectly well aware that England 
and, incidentally, themselves were quite safe from 
the rule of any Catholic monarch, and though they 
used a thing like this as a peg upon which to hang 
their diatribes, they did it with tongue in cheek and 
a very bad-tempered cheek, too. 



CHAPTER V 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 

" Oh, maiden, heir of King's, 

A King has left his place, 
The Majesty of death has swept 

All other from his face. 
And thou upon thy mother's breast 

No longer lean adown 
But take the glory for the rest, 
And rule the land that loves thee best ! 

The Maiden wept ; 

She wept to wear a crown ! " 

Elizabeth Barrett [Browning] . 

ON May 24th, 1837, Princess Victoria attained her 
majority, being eighteen years of age; and the King 
knew that his prayer had been answered. He arranged 
a magnificent State ball in honour of the event; 
but his day for balls was over, for just as the 
nine months he had asked for expired, he was taken 
ill, and though he rallied several times he did not again 
show himself in public. Queen Adelaide did not fill 
the part of hostess either, for she was too anxious about 
her husband to leave him. She was a good wife and, 
notwithstanding all the evil said of her, a good woman. 
I have not in all my researches come across apart 
from her political bias a single instance of any act 

107 



108 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

or word on her part which could be brought forward to 
her discredit. But to be no lover of pomp, show, or 
dress was a sufficiently serious omission to condemn 
any Queen in the eyes of her Court. 

This wonderful birthday meant a busy time for the 
Princess. She was awakened in the morning by music 
outside her window, composed and arranged by Mr. 
Rodwell, concerning which a sneering comment was 
made that Rodwell had made " an ass of himself on 
the Princess's birthday by braying under her window." 
There were many costly gifts to receive the King 
sent her a beautiful piano and many deputations 
from public bodies to take her attention. With these 
the Duchess was in her element, for she was almost as 
fond of making speeches as was the King; but the 
Princess still, and for the last time, played the part of 
the child in public, standing by and listening to the 
wise and indiscreet sayings of her mother. Well, it 
was the Duchess's last chance, too, though she did not 
know it, for her sun was setting just when she thought 
it was rising to the mid heavens. 

When a deputation from the City of London came 
to make a pretty speech, Her Royal Highness was true 
to her custom of not forgetting an injury. Though 
eighteen years had passed, and George IV. had long 
been in his grave, she still nourished the slights that 
had been put upon her on her arrival in England. The 
Duchess of Clarence had not been welcomed with open 
arms, the Duchess of Cumberland had for years been 
ignored by the Royal Family, but these two ladies 
treated the matter in dignified silence. However, the 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 109 

Duchess of Kent had done everything she could to 
keep alive bad feeling, and on this day, which should 
have been given over to kindliness, she reminded the 
gentlemen from the City that when the Duke of Kent 
died she and the Princess " stood alone, almost friend- 
less and unknown in this country. I could not even 
speak the language of it." Then she went on to point 
out that, in spite of all, she had done her best to bring 
up her daughter to be the true Sovereign of the nation ; 
that she had put her into intercourse with all classes 
of people, and had taught her that the protection of 
popular liberties and the preservation of the constitu- 
tional prerogatives of the Crown were the proper aims 
of a Monarch. 

It was not a long speech, but it was scarcely cal- 
culated to be soothing reading for the irascible and 
ailing King. 

The village of Kensington it was a village in those 
days, the Duchess appreciating for her child the good 
air of the country lanes was en fete for the birthday ; 
a great flag of white silk, inscribed in gold with the 
name of Victoria, was hoisted over the Palace, and 
Union Jacks were run up on the church and on the 
Green, to say nothing of every house showing its regard 
by the exhibition of flags. A general holiday was 
declared, and at the State ball given that night it is 
safe to believe that Victoria grieved at the absence of 
the King and Queen, even though there was always fear 
of discomfort when they and her mother met. There 
had been further strained relations in April of this 
year, when Lady de Lisle, one of the King's his 



110 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

favourite daughters, died at Kensington Palace, of 
which she was the custodian. During her illness the 
Duchess carried her resentment so far as to pay her 
no attention, and the Court Journal announced that a 
party, of distinguished guests who had been invited to 
dinner, was not put off, though Lady de Lisle lay 
dead in the Palace. A bitter comment upon this was 
made that, when the Duchess's confectioner, being 
insane through drink, had committed suicide a little 
while earlier, all festivities had been stopped out of 
sympathy for the man's wife. 

At the May Drawing Room, probably in retaliation 
for this, all the men attached to the Duchess's house- 
hold were excluded by Royal mandate from being 
present, giving rise to the remark that " the necessity 
for this suspension of privilege must have been very 
great, as from what everybody knows of the kind dis- 
position of the King, he would not have exercised his 
prerogative in a way that cannot otherwise be under- 
stood than as an act of censure." 

The poor old King was still in fear about his 
country ; he did not believe, as many did, that Victoria 
was too delicate to live long, but he did think her too 
young to reign, for he knew that her general attitude 
was one of gentle obedience to her mother, and he 
thought that when he was dead the Duchess of Kent 
would be virtually Queen of England. It is said that 
about five days before he died he praised God for the 
good sleep he had had, and the Queen said : 

"And shall I pray to the Almighty that you may 
have a good day?" 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 111 

" Oh, do ! " answered the King. " I wish I could 
live for ten years for the sake of the country. I feel 
it my duty to keep well as long as possible." 

Just after the birthday King William wrote to the 
Duchess of Kent, offering to form an independent 
household for the Princess; but this she sharply 
declined, and we are told the reply was couched " in 
very unsatisfactory terms." 

But William could not bear that this girl should not 
benefit in some way personally from her majority, so 
he wrote her a letter, offering her the sum of ten 
thousand a year from his own purse which was to be 
regarded as her very own, independent of her mother's 
income. This letter was given to the Lord Chamber- 
lain, then Lord Conyngham, with instructions that he 
was to give it to no one but the Princess. Conyngham 
went to Kensington and was received by Sir John 
Conroy, who met his request to see the Princess by 
asking on what authority did he make such a demand 
which certainly seems to justify the King's doubt as 
to there being fair play at Kensington, and also proves 
that Victoria was not allowed to receive visitors. 

" On the authority of His Majesty the King," replied 
Lord Conyngham. 

Upon this Conroy disappeared, and after an interval 
the Chamberlain was ushered into the presence of the 
Duchess and the Princess. Bowing low, Conyngham 
said he had been charged by His Majesty with a letter 
for the Princess Victoria, and at this the masterful 
mother at once held out her hand to receive the 
precious missive. 



112 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

" Pardon me, madam," said the courtier, " I have 
been expressly commanded by the King to deliver this 
into the Princess's own hand." 

It must have been a humiliating moment for the proud 
woman, and it was but the first of many such. The 
Princess took the letter, and Conyngham bowed him- 
self out of the room. To the intense anger of the 
Duchess, her daughter wrote affectionately to her uncle, 
accepting the kind offer made to her. William then 
named a responsible person who was to receive this 
money for her, and the usual dispute began, for the 
Duchess thought she should be the disburser of the 
sum, of which she proposed taking six thousand 
pounds and giving Victoria four thousand. 

This is true, though it reads with all the dramatic 
interest of fiction, and the effect is heightened by our 
ignorance of the girl who was the unhappy and un- 
willing cause of these quarrels. For seven years she 
had suffered from these violent and futile disputes 
between two persons whom she loved, and who, though 
loving her well, yet loved their own conception of what 
was good for her so much that they were ready to 
make her miserable. Who uttered the last word in 
this quarrel no one knows, for it was never settled, and 
Victoria had no need of the ten thousand a year. 

Everyone knew now that the King was dying. The 
Court dreaded death, for there was no forecasting 
events. What would happen to the country with a 
bit of a girl at its head a girl who had been rarely 
seen among them, who never came to Court, and who 
seemed timid and retiring? One cannot wonder that 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 113 

the forgotten dislike of Leopold rose to fever heat, 
that the wildest stories were told of the Camarilla at 
Kensington, and that it was reported that the new 
Royal Household was all planned and the members of 
it named all entirely without taking the Princess into 
consideration. She did not count with the public or with 
the Press ; she was the merest cipher. She would be 
Queen, of course that was admitted but the people 
with whom England would have to deal would be the 
Duchess and Leopold, Conroy and Lord Durham, the 
Coburgs, and the tribe of Germans who had already 
inflamed resentment in some quarters. Lord Durham 
was on his way home, and his return was regarded with 
keen curiosity, for it was felt that he would probably 
play a great political part, and would influence 
materially the Councils of the Queen. 

A few years later, however, it was a well-known fact, 
though since forgotten, that the whole of the appoint- 
ments to be filled in the Royal Household upon the 
death of William IV. and the formation of Her 
Majesty's domestic establishment had been arranged 
in accordance with the political notions, not of the 
Duchess of Kent, but of Victoria's uncle, the Duke 
of Sussex, in conjunction with Lord Melbourne, in 
both of whom she reposed great confidence. 

England that part of it which was interested 
watched breathlessly while William fought his last 
fight, and the social and political forces gathered them- 
selves together for some great and unknown change. 
In this state of tension there was one man, loyal and 
upright, who seemed always ready to give good advice 



114 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and who would neither lose nor gain by the change ; 
this was the Duke of Wellington. To him on 
Waterloo Day the King sent a message, bidding him 
hold the usual banquet in commemoration of the great 
fight; just as it pleased him that Victoria should go 
in state to Ascot on June I2th, for which he sent seven 
carriages for her cortege, her own being drawn by six 
grey horses. 

Cumberland, still troubled with a lingering hope that 
his ambition might be satisfied, went to the Duke, 
asking what he should do. 

" Do ? " said the Duke. " The best thing you can 
do is to go away as fast as you can. Go instantly, and 
take care that you are not pelted." 

This is given on good authority, and, if true, could 
not have been very pleasant for the Duke to hear, as 
he probably had hoped for very different advice. He 
had always held that the Salic law, as applied to the 
Hanoverian dynasty, should also apply to Great 
Britain, and as Victoria had no right to rule in Hanover, 
she had therefore no right to rule in England. It was 
about this period that he asked of his aide-de-camp, 
already mentioned : 

" Would you and your troop follow me through the 
streets of London if I were proclaimed King ? " 

"Yes, and to the Tower the next day," was the 
indignant reply. 

'You have cut your own throat, my boy, by that 
remark. As King of England I could make you a 
great man. What will the Princess Victoria do for 
you and yours ? " 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 11,5 

It was to the Duke of Wellington that Lord Mel- 
bourne went a month later for advice as to how best to 
initiate the Queen into her various duties. Indeed, 
though Wellington had not taken the popular side in 
the long struggle over Reform, he was by no means 
a keen party man; in each question he followed the 
line that he believed would be best for the nation, and, 
in spite of plots and innuendoes, he was, with one, per- 
haps with two, exceptions, loyal to the Crown, no 
matter who wore it. 

When it was almost certain that William would not 
recover, " Grandmamma," or, to use its better name, 
The Times, proceeded to mould " the child " Victoria 
into shape. It began with a fairly mild article, not, 
of course, insinuating anything, but just devoutly 
praying that her education had been conducted under 
a noble and lofty regard to her fitness for the duties 
of Queen of England, that she had been prepared to 
think for herself, to employ her own discernment, to 
take nothing upon trust ; and asserting that she ought 
not to be made the subject of jealous or vexatious 
restraint or be kept in a state of pupilage, &c. 

Two days later it went a step further in a leader, 
expressing the fear that the Princess had received a 
narrow, or a jealous, or otherwise ill-framed education, 
and roundly impressing upon the Duchess that she had 
no political status, no political duties whatever beyond 
that of obedience to laws. They said that she had no 
more power over the Sovereign (who happened to be 
her offspring) than any other Duchess of the Royal 
Family. They considered that she could not be a 

I 2 



116 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

sound adviser to an inexperienced Queen because of 
her foreign connections, while her entourage at home 
would form no desirable Cabinet for a Queen of Eng- 
land. Then the article concluded with the avowal that 
it had been written on purpose to meet the eye of 
Victoria, that she might learn how vital it was that her 
earliest advisers should be men in whom the better part 
of England could repose entire confidence. 

Strongly Whig over the Catholic Emancipation Bill, 
The Times had gone as strongly Tory on the Reform 
Bill, and was furious at the idea that the Whig 
Ministry, of which the King could not rid himself, was 
still likely to keep in power. They were entirely with- 
out information as to the character of King William's 
successor, and thought, as did most of the world, that 
England would be ruled by the Duchess of Kent and 
her circle. What influence these articles may have 
had upon the Princess there is no written evidence to 
show, but it is certain that from the moment that this 
docile little daughter attained the Throne she followed 
out exactly in this matter the policy thus urged upon 
her by a paper the general policy of which she did 
not in the least approve. 

When King William died, The Times entirely lost 
its head. It had struck these sledge-hammer blows at 
the Duchess of Kent, but it did not believe in the 
Princess Victoria. The day after the new Queen had 
read her Declaration, The Times, as The Examiner 
said, insulted her understanding by declaring that she 
did not comprehend the import of the words she de- 
livered, and they took particular exception to her 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 117 

statement that she congratulated herself on succeeding 
a monarch whose " desire to promote the amelioration 
of the laws and institutions of the country has rendered 
his name an object of general attachment and venera- 
tion." From their standpoint this was, of course, pure 
Radicalism, for, as good Tories, they held concerning 
the laws as Leibnitz did of the world, that the laws we 
had were " the best of all possible " laws, and needed 
no amelioration. Neither The Times nor any other 
paper grumbled when, in 1901, King Edward declared 
at his first Council that he was determined, " as long 
as there is breath in my body, to work for the good 
and amelioration of my people." Yet Victoria's was 
the better sentence. Of course, it is possible to 
ameliorate people, but it is easier to perform the 
operation on laws or even on lives. 

From Victoria the editorial turned to Lord Mel- 
bourne and became really funny, asking, " Has this 
Whig-Radical Ethiopian changed his skin? this 
leopard of Popery his spots ? " and it finished up with 
the fine patriotic intimation that it was the strength of 
devotion to the Constitution which prompted "us to 
ring the alarm bell throughout the British Empire until 
we shall have helped to achieve its salvation, have 
seen it perish, or have ourselves ceased to exist/ 5 

On the evening of June iQth, 1837, King William 
saw all his children, and at two o'clock on the morning 
of the 20th he died. We all know the story of how 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham, 
the Lord Chamberlain, rode to Kensington to convey 
the news to Victoria that she was now Queen. Miss 



118 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Wynn, who published her diaries under the pseudonym 
of "A Lady of Quality," gives a rather amusing 
account of the occurrence. The two gentlemen arrived 
at Kensington Palace at about five in the morning; they 
knocked, rang, and thumped for a considerable time 
before they could rouse the porter at the gates ; then, 
having been kept waiting in a courtyard, they were 
turned into one of the lower rooms and forgotten by 
everyone. They rang, and desired the attendant who 
appeared to tell the Princess's maid that they requested 
an audience. Nothing followed, and they rang again. 
The maid, who now answered the bell, said that the 
Princess was in such a sweet sleep that she could not 
disturb her. " We are come to the Queen on business 
of State, and her sleep must give way to that," was 
the answer. 

In a few minutes Victoria appeared in a loose white 
nightgown and shawl, her hair falling about her 
shoulders, her feet in slippers, tears in her eyes, but 
perfectly cool and collected. 

The following morning a Council was called for 
eleven o'clock, but the summonses were sent out so 
late that many were not received until the hour ap- 
pointed. Lord Melbourne, as Prime Minister, had to 
teach the Queen her part, which he had first to learn 
himself, and he found her quiet, dignified, and eager 
to bear herself well. The Lords assembled in one 
room of Kensington Palace, and were solemnly 
informed by the Lord President of the events, which 
they all knew perfectly, that the King was dead, and 
that they were gathered together to swear allegiance 




LORD MELBOURNE. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 119 

to the new Sovereign. This little form observed, the 
Lord President, the two Royal Dukes Cumberland 
was quite sure now that he had not a chance left at 
present the two Archbishops, the Chancellor, and the 
Prime Minister went into the next room, where with 
great formality the news of William's death was con- 
veyed to the girl who stood there alone, not in her 
nightgown this time, but in a sober garment of black. 
The doors between the rooms were then thrown open, 
and the Queen entered that in which stood a great 
crowd of nobles and office-holders. Greville says, 
" The Queen entered, accompanied by her two uncles, 
who advanced to meet her," which certainly might have 
been more lucid had it been differently worded. 

The Duke of Sussex spoke later of the Queen's ner- 
vousness, saying that she continually took his hand as 
though to reassure herself; he added that Lord Mel- 
bourne never took his eyes off her, and seemed more 
nervous than she, fearing that she might make a slip. 
Half a century later, when the Queen was asked if she 
did not feel nervous at her first Council, she replied, 
" No, I have no recollection of feeling in the slightest 
degree nervous." Nervous or not, she behaved with 
grace and dignity, as everyone should have expected ; 
but all present seemed to think that something like a 
scene would take place, or that they were going to 
swear their loyal oaths to a person wanting in under- 
standing, if we may judge by the chorus of praise which 
arose later. " It was extraordinary and far beyond 
what was looked for"; she actually "read her speech 
in a clear, distinct, and audible voice " ; Peel said how 



120 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

amazed he was at her manner and behaviour, at her 
apparent deep sense of her position, her modesty, and 
her firmness. 

Did these wise men really think that a girl brought 
up in such an atmosphere of self-control and restric- 
tion as Victoria had been would have shamed herself 
by crying, or stuttering, or fainting, or giggling? 
Their extenuation lies in the fact that scarcely any 
among them knew anything at all of the Princess, and 
that very fact excited such intense curiosity to see how 
she would behave, that the crowd of Privy Councillors 
assembled was so great that, according to one who was 
present, the scene of swearing allegiance was more like 
that at the bidding in an auction-room than anything 
else. 

Cumberland, who now became King of Hanover, 
was the first to take the oath, and Sussex, who was very 
infirm, and some distance from Her Majesty, was met 
half-way across the room, the Queen kissing them both. 
Greville noted with satisfaction that her courtesy did 
not break down when the heads of either party greeted 
her, that she was as pleasant to Wellington and Peel 
as to Melbourne and the Ministers. Really, his social 
knowledge should have saved him any doubts on that 
point, and rendered it unnecessary for him to ' ' particu- 
larly watch " her when the Tory lords approached. 

Creevy was much more pleasing when he wrote, " I 
cannot resist telling you that our dear little Queen in 
every respect is perfection." Here is exaggeration, it 
if true, but no insistence upon doubt as to her being 
ordinarily well-mannered. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 121 

Even such a grave event as a first Privy Council 
meeting may provide food for laughter, and there is 
one little incident in connection with this Council which 
was not only amusing, but should have given those 
present some clear idea of their young Sovereign's 
character. Sir Bernard Bosanquet, who was present, 
tells us that, "With the utmost dignity, before her 
assembled Privy Councillors, with her clear young 
voice, the Queen began reading : 

"'This Act intituled' which is the legal way of 
spelling entitled. 

" ' Entitled, your Majesty, entitled/ hastily corrected 
Lord Melbourne in a loud aside. 

" The young Queen slowly drew herself up and said, 
quietly and firmly, ' I have said it/ 

" Then, after a pause, once more the beautiful 
childish voice rang out : 

"'This Act intituled '" 

A curious mistake, or change of mind, took place 
over the Queen's name. The Peers took the oath of 
fidelity to Alexandrina Victoria, and all the forms were 
duly made out in those names. Later in the day the 
Queen announced that she would be known as Victoria 
only, which caused a great stir officially, as new parch- 
ments with the amended style had to be procured in 
every case. 

Her accession seems to have made a great difference 
to the little Queen. While only Princess everyone 
agreed in describing her as quiet, timid, shy; she was 
always hidden under the wing of her mother, who 
thought for her, acted for her, and spoke for her. As 



122 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

soon as she stood alone she became openly what she 
had probably always been in private, gay and high- 
spirited; she rode almost every day and drove in the 
Park ; she courted publicity, saying, " Let my people 
see me," and everywhere she met smiling faces and 
affectionate regards. There were, of course, those who 
foretold the usual sad tale, among them being Frances 
Anne Kemble, who wrote : 

" Poor young creature ! at eighteen to bear such a 
burden of responsibility! I should think the mere 
state and grandeur, and slow-paced solemnity of her 
degree enough to strike a girl of that age into a melan- 
choly, without all the other graver considerations and 
causes for care and anxiety which belong to it. I dare 
say, whatever she may think now, before many years 
are over, she would be glad to have a small pension of 
30,000 a year, and leave to 'go and play/ like 
common folk of fortune. But, to be sure, if noblesse 
oblige, Royalty must do so still more, or, at any rate, 
on a wider scale ; and so I take up my burden again 
poor young Queen of England." 

If anyone ever was, by nature, position, and training, 
born to a life of hard work, that person was Queen 
Victoria, and so long as she had the spirit and the 
ability to meet her life bravely, I cannot see that there 
was any need to pity her. It was inevitable that she 
should make mistakes and repent of them, for by such 
comes growth. If she had great responsibilities, she 
was surrounded by those who upheld her arms and 
practically took all those responsibilities upon their 
shoulders. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 123 

Carlyle only mentioned Queen Victoria two or three 
times in his letters, always with a fatherly, personal 
note, which yet held more than a hint of pity, indicating 
that he saw some immediate cause for disquiet. A few 
months after her accession he wrote : " Yesterday, 
going through one of the Parks, I saw the poor little 
Queen. She was in an open carriage, preceded by 
three or four swift red-coated troopers; all off for 
Windsor just as I happened to pass. Another carriage 
or carriages followed with maids of honour, &c. ; the 
whole drove very fast. It seemed to me the poor little 
Queen was a bit modest, nice, sonsy little lassie ; blue 
eyes, light hair, white skin ; of extremely small stature : 
she looked timid, anxious, almost frightened; for the 
people looked at her in perfect silence ; one old livery- 
man alone touched his hat to her : I was heartily 
sorry for the poor bairn though perhaps she might 
have said, as Parson Swan did, 4 Greet not for me, 
brethren; for verily, yea verily, I greet not for 
myselV " 

At that first Privy Council, the day after the death 
of King William, a somewhat curious document was 
prepared or passed in the form of a proclamation from 
Queen Victoria : " For the Encouragement of Piety 
and Virtue, and for the Prevention and Punishing of 
Vice, Profaneness, and Immorality." George III. had 
issued such a proclamation, and whether it had been 
the custom for all our Sovereigns to do so I do not 
know, but this one seems curious enough to be noted. 
Part of it ran as follows : 

" To the intent therefore that religion, piety, and 



124 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

good manners may (according to Our most Hearty 
desire) flourish and increase under our administration 
and government, We have thought fit by the advice of 
our Privy Council to issue this Our Royal Proclama- 
tion, and do hereby declare Our Royal Purpose and 
Resolution to discountenance and punish all manner of 
Vice, Profaneness, and Immorality in all persons of 
whatsoever degree or Quality within this Our Realm, 
and particularly in such as are employed near Our 
Royal Person; and that, for the encouragement of 
Religion and morality, We will upon all occasions dis- 
tinguish persons of piety and virtue by marks of Our 
Royal Favour. And We do expect and require that 
all persons of honour, or in place of authority, will give 
good example by their own virtue and piety, and to 
their utmost contribute to the discountenancing persons 
of dissolute and debauched lives, that they, being 
reduced by that means to shame and contempt for their 
loose and evil actions and behaviour, may be thereby 
also enforced the sooner to reform their ill habits and 
practices, and that the visible displeasure of good men 
towards them may (so far as it is possible) supply what 
the laws (probably) cannot altogether prevent." 

This lengthy document went on to deal with the 
observance of the Lord's Day, with gambling, card- 
playing, and drinking. 

One wonders whether the Queen or her advisers be- 
lieved that such a proclamation could lead to any 
raising of the standard of morals. The Queen, in her 
youthfulness, might think so, but the men around her 
must have been very doubtful of it even while doing 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 125 

the will of their Sovereign, or conforming to a custom, 
by letting such a document be issued. Yet it is a 
notable thing that this proclamation embodies in a para- 
graph the form which improvement in social manners 
took during the Queen's reign. 

The Proclaiming of the Sovereign was the next cere- 
mony in the new life which was opening up for this 
young person, and she drove to St. James's Palace 
with the Duchess of Kent and another lady, while in 
the carriage which preceded her were the Earl of 
Jersey, Lord Conyngham, the Lord Chamberlain, and 
Lord Albemarle, the Master of the Horse ; in the third 
carriage were Sir John Conroy and Lady Flora Has- 
tings. Lady Flora had attended the Duchess for 
some years, and should have been thoroughly well 
known to the Queen, but yet two years later she had 
the misfortune to be grievously misjudged and tragic- 
ally ill-used by her Sovereign. 

There were moments at the commencement of her 
reign when Queen Victoria felt horribly nervous, but 
she had more than enough self-control to prevent her- 
self from being overcome by emotion. When she came 
out of the door at Kensington Palace arrayed in black, 
she looked a veritable child. Her eyes were full of 
tears, her hands clasped and unclasped, and she 
trembled at the ordeal before her ; yet she turned and 
looked at the body of Guards drawn up on either side 
of her door, and bowed in acknowledgment of their 
salute. Lord Melbourne was by her side, watching 
her with a fatherly look, and so began that cordial 
friendship between the Queen and the peer which 



126 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

lasted for years, and ended only in death on one side 
and something like forgetfulness on the other. 

On the route to St. James's, Greville says, there 
was very little shouting and very few hats were raised, 
but other recorders tell of the repeated cheers of the 
multitude. In the courtyard, as has been said, there 
was no cheering until a given signal, when Daniel 
O'Connell led the way, and the noise was then so hearty 
that the Queen burst into tears. 

After this, events crowded thick and fast, and one 
of the first was the Royal removal to the New, or 
Buckingham, Palace, a place which Creevy stigmatised 
as " the Devil's Own," saying that there were raspberry- 
coloured pillars without end, enough to turn you sick 
to look at, and that the costly ornaments in the State 
rooms exceeded all belief in their bad taste and every 
kind of infirmity. It seems to-day strange to regard 
the London residence of the Monarch as being at 
Pimlico, and yet that is its true locality. On this 
removal The Times condescended to ask a conun- 
drum : " Why is Buckingham Palace the cheapest that 
was ever built?" and proceeded to supply the answer, 
" Because it was built for one sovereign and furnished 
for another." When the simply arranged bedroom at 
Kensington, which had for nearly eighteen years been 
shared by mother and child, was finally deserted, 
Victoria gave orders that the room should remain as it 
was, and nothing be removed or added. 

There was the necessary Levee to be held, and so 
great was the curiosity that such a crowd attended as 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 127 

had never before been seen at such a function. Over 
two thousand people were present to kiss the Queen's 
hand; diamond buckles were broken and lost, orders 
and decorations torn from their wearers, and epaulettes 
rubbed from the shoulders of officers. The Drawing 
Room the next day, in spite of torrents of rain, was more 
fully attended than it had been for many years. At 
the Levee Her Majesty was "black as a raven from 
head to foot, her hair was plainly dressed without orna- 
ment, but she wore the Ribbon of the Garter, with the 
Star on her left breast and the buckle on her left arm. 

When she found that the Garter had to be worn, 
the Queen sent for the Duke of Norfolk, and asked 
anxiously, " But, my Lord Duke, where shall I wear 
the Garter?" The Duke could only think of a por- 
trait of Queen Anne, in which the Garter was placed 
on the left arm, and Victoria decided to follow that 
precedent. 

At the Levee there is room for suspicion that the 
Queen did forget her good manners, though the lapse 
was not caused by girlish fright or nervousness. 
Among those whom she received was Lord Lyndhurst, 
and although she had shown "her usual pretty 
manner" to all who preceded him, as soon as he 
approached she drew herself up as though she had 
seen a snake, at which Lyndhurst turned as red 
as fire, and afterwards looked as fierce as a fiend. 

Having just held a brief for the Queen's good 
manners, I feel that this incident is somewhat awkward, 
especially as I cannot really tell why she was rude to 



128 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Lyndhurst. She may have been affected by his lord- 
ship's wonderful system of " ratting," for he had a 
habit of making a speech against a Bill, say the 
Catholic Emancipation Bill, for example, or the Muni- 
cipal Reform Bill, which became famous, and then 
when he found it good policy to change his views, 
would make another notable speech in its favour. 
Early in his career he held republican opinions, and 
thought little of the Whigs because their notions of 
reform were so mild; but when he showed himself 
extremely clever in defending a noted case, Lord 
Castlereagh " carotid-cutting Castlereagh " is re- 
ported to have said, " I can discover in him something 
of the rat, and I will set my trap for him, baited with 
Cheshire cheese" meaning that he would offer him 
the office of Chief Justice of Cheshire. 

The trap was set, and Lyndhurst, then plain John 
Copley, quietly and perhaps gratefully walked into 
it, and on the first vacancy became Solicitor-General 
to the King. It was said about him that he had danced 
round the Tree of Liberty to the tune of " Ca ira," 
and yet became one of the most virulent opponents 
of all movements towards freedom. However, as 
Mackintosh said to Lord John Russell, it was with 
the Whig -prospects, not their views, that he quarrelled, 
and it may have been just this which made the young 
Queen scorn him, and feel, as she once owned to Lord 
Melbourne, a personal dislike of him. 

There is a little incident on record which shows just 
how complaisant he could be in any matter affecting 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 129 

his interest. A story got about, and was published in 
the newspapers, that the Duke of Cumberland had 
called upon Lady Lyndhurst, of whom Creevy said 
" she has such beautiful eyes and such a way of using 
them that quite shocked Lady Louisa and me/ 3 and so 
grossly misbehaved himself that he was turned out of 
the house. He went a second time, when he contented 
himself with uttering coarse abuse of Lyndhurst. 
When this affair was made public, Cumberland sent a 
copy of a journal in which the paragraph appeared 
to the Lord Chancellor, as Lyndhurst then was, and 
asked that he should have Lady Lyndhurst's permis- 
sion to contradict " the gross falsehood." 

The thing was true, however, and the Chancellor 
felt in a fix; he could not fight a Royal Duke, and 
yet he wished to warn him not to repeat the offence. 
So he temporised; said he had not before seen the 
paragraph, which was no doubt one of a series of 
calumnies to which Lady Lyndhurst had for some time 
been exposed. This, however, did not satisfy Duke 
Ernest, who was anxious that his shady character 
should be cleared of this stain; so he wrote again, 
demanding a definite sanction to contradict the report. 
Upon this Lyndhurst, it is said, though seeing the 
result one hardly believes it, went to the national 
adviser, the Duke of Wellington, who counselled him 
to reply that he did not wish to annoy Lady Lyndhurst 
by speaking of this matter to her. To this he added 
that, as to excluding the Duke from their home, the 
grateful attachment they both felt for their Sovereign 





130 THE COURT OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

made that impossible. So the matter ended. Lynd- 
hurst had cleverly evaded giving the Duke a straight- 
forward answer which was more like himself than like 
the Duke of Wellington and had practically assured 
him that he would be received as a guest again in the 
house which he had abused. Lyndhurst would have 
seemed more admirable if he had been more of a man 
and less of a diplomatist; and it is quite likely that 
other incidents of this kind had occurred to make the 
young Queen, in her youthful zeal for probity, show 
her dislike for him publicly. Besides, had she not 
just inculcated virtue by proclamation, and declared 
the way in which she would reward evil-doers? 

To do Lyndhurst justice, however, he seemed to 
bear her no malice, and when the storm, raised by The 
Times, gathered strength from her friendship for Mel- 
bourne and broke in fury upon her before she had been 
Queen many weeks, Lyndhurst sincerely lamented it. 
The Tories could not control their disappointment and 
anger when it was announced that Lord Melbourne was 
to continue Prime Minister, and they vilified the 
Queen at every opportunity. To quote from Lord 
Campbell, a contemporary : " The practice was to 
contrast her invidiously with Adelaide, the Queen 
Dowager, and at public dinners to receive the Queen's 
health with solemn silence, while the succeeding toast 
of the Queen Dowager was the signal for long con- 
tinued cheers. Some writers went so far as to praise 
the Salic law, by which females are excluded from the 
throne, pointing out the happiness we should have 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ACCESSION 131 

enjoyed under the rule of the Duke of Cumberland, 
but consoling the nation by the assurance that his line 
would soon succeed, as the new Queen, from physical 
defects, could never bear children." 

Well, after all, there was some reason for pitying the 
young, sonsie lassie who was then Queen of England ! 



K 2 



CHAPTER VI 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 

" Conservatism stands on man's confessed limitations; 
reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circum- 
stance; liberalism on power." Emerson. 

AMONG the deputations that came to wish the new 
Queen well was one from the Society of Friends, led 
by Joseph Sturge. Asked afterwards if he kissed the 
Queen's hand, he answered, " Oh, yes, and found that 
act of homage no hardship, I assure thee. It was a 
fair, soft, delicate little hand." He added that Her 
Majesty was "a nice, pleasant, modest little woman, 
graceful though a little shy, and, on the whole, 
comely." 

Among the investitures that took place was that of 
the Duke of Leiningen, Queen Victoria's half-brother, 
who was invested with the Order of the Garter; Prince 
Esterhazy, that lover of jewels, was invested with the 
Military Order of the Bath, and the Queen held a 
Chapter for the purpose, wearing the mantle of the 
Order, the ribbon and the badge. All the Knights 
Grand Cross appeared on this splendid occasion. 

Queen Victoria had probably no wish to change her 
Parliament, but custom decreed that it should be 



132 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 133 

prorogued, and she decided to prorogue it in person, 
much to the alarm of the Duchess her mother, who 
begged her not to do so, fearing the effect that the 
excitement might have on her health. But the child 
was already three weeks away from her leading-strings ; 
she was beginning to feel the glories of independence, 
and she would no longer submit blindly to the will of 
another. The word excitement displeased her, and she 
is said to have answered : ' That is a word I do not 
like to hear; all these successive ceremonies interest 
and please me, but have no such effect on my mind as 
that which I understand by excitement.'' 

So the Queen went in State to the House of Lords, 
where the old Throne devoted to the use of old Sove- 
reigns was banished, and replaced by a new one be- 
dizened with the Royal Arms in gold, and the words 
" Victoria Regina " also in gold. With girlish delight 
in her new state, Her Majesty donned "a white satin 
kirtle embroidered in gold, a robe of crimson velvet 
trimmed with ermine stripes and gold lace, confined at 
the waist and shoulders with gold cord, and having an 
ermine cape attached (this was in July !) a stomacher 
of diamonds, a tiara and bracelets of diamonds, the 
Garter round her arm, and the Ribbon of the Garter 
over her shoulder completed the outward attire." One 
evening paper commented upon the Queen and her 
dress as follows : " Her emotion was plainly dis- 
cernible in the rapid heaving of her bosom and the 
brilliancy of her diamond stomacher, which sparkled 
out occasionally from the dark recess in which the 
throne was placed, like the sun on the swell of the 



134 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

smooth ocean as the billows rise and fall." The 
earliest Victorian journalists knew something of the 
gentle art of high falutin' ! 

The Queen acquitted herself well in this trying posi- 
tion, and we are told that the Duchess of Kent wept 
tears of joy on seeing the way in which "her august 
daughter " acquitted herself. Other tears seem also to 
have been shed, for Lord Grey declared that he actually 
cried from pleasure at the Queen's voice and speech; 
and he added that, after seeing and hearing three 
Sovereigns of England, the latest surpassed them all, 
easily, in every respect. 

One of the sentimentalists of the day wrote concern- 
ing the Duchess and her daughter, " the first separation 
that had ever taken place between Her Majesty and 
her Royal mother was decreed by the immutable (?) 
laws of Royal etiquette on this occasion, and doubtless 
it was felt as no slight trial by both." Yet they were 
both in the same room ! 

Another contemporary tells us that the impertinent 
old Lady Jersey took powerful opera-glasses with her 
to the House of Lords, and through them fixed her 
eyes relentlessly on the Queen, which, according to 
the laws of etiquette in those days, was a direct personal 
affront if applied to people of high rank. 

While King William was ill, there had been many 
private conferences among members of the Govern- 
ment as to the right course to pursue when the Princess 
came to the throne. Sir Robert Peel had given it as 
his opinion that the young Queen should retain Lord 
Melbourne as her chief adviser and rely frankly on 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 135 

his guidance, and the Duke of Wellington (also a 
Tory) was strongly in favour of the same course. 
Victoria was probably but obeying her uncle Sussex's 
promptings when on the morning after the King's death 
she sent for Melbourne and put herself in his hands. 

One of the first things to be considered was the 
formation of the Royal Household, and in this matter 
the Queen had something to say. She uttered a wish 
on the 2Oth of June that Lady Lansdowne should be 
her principal lady, either as Mistress of the Robes or 
as First Lady in Waiting. Lady Lansdowne accepted 
the post of First Lady in Waiting, and two days later 
Victoria invited the Duchess of Sutherland to become 
Mistress of the Robes, and asked Lady Tavistock to 
be one of her Ladies. 

Inquiry had been made into the Household of Queen 
Anne, and it was found that she had had eleven Ladies 
of the Bedchamber, but Victoria thought that this was 
too cumbrous an attendance, and eventually decided 
upon one Mistress of the Robes, seven Ladies in 
Waiting, and eight Women of the Bedchamber. Lady 
Portman, Lady Lyttelton, and the Countess of Durham 
were among the Ladies, while Miss Davys, her pre- 
ceptor's daughter, was appointed Resident Woman of 
the Bedchamber, including in her duties those of 
private secretary in so far as private correspondence 
was concerned. The Queen and Miss Davys had 
been friends for years, and once when Victoria's 
opinion was asked on some subject discussed by that 
lady, she replied : " If you really wish me to speak my 
mind I must say I perfectly agree with Miss Davys. 



136 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

How, indeed, should I do otherwise, for have we not 
both been educated by her father ? " 

Thus some of her ladies were chosen from among 
those whom she liked, while others were recommended 
to her by Melbourne or her uncle, but the result was 
that they were all, or nearly all, related to the Whigs. 
Croker touched upon this subject in the Quarterly 
Review for July, 1837, pointing out that it was impolitic 
that the Queen should be surrounded with many mem- 
bers of the same families, " however respectable," and 
also that it was neither constitutional in principle nor 
convenient in practice that her private life should be 
exposed to the fluctuations of political change, or that 
political changes should be either produced or pre- 
vented by private favour or personal attachments; 
meaning thereby that her ladies should be chosen from 
both parties, so that when the Government was changed 
her Household should be to a certain extent stable. 
However, the mistake was made, and in 1839 it had to 
be paid for. 

As to her Lords in Waiting, Queen Victoria retained 
five gentlemen who had been Lords of the Bed- 
chamber to King William, and added to them three 
from the supporters of Lord Melbourne. 

Others besides Croker discussed the formation of 
the Household, only they did not content themselves 
with philosophical disquisitions or allude chiefly to the 
future. One paper said that " the indecent usurpation 
of nominating Her Majesty's Household of sur- 
rounding her person by a female brigade of political 
spies had in one instance produced a dignified and 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 137 

determined resistance." Alluding probably to the fact 
that the Countess of Rosebery had declined to serve. 
They declared that Her Majesty's wishes had been 
"most sternly thwarted, even where they ought in 
kindness and courtesy to have been deemed supreme 
so far is the distribution of offices from affording 
any index of the Queen's opinions " ; and averred that 
Victoria wished to make the Duchess of Northumber- 
land, a Tory, who had resigned her position a few 
months earlier, her Mistress of the Robes, only the 
Duchess of Kent and " the Irish bombardier, Sir John 
Conroy," thought otherwise, so the honour fell to the 
Marchioness of Lansdowne. The more volatile Tory 
papers begged her piteously to dismiss the Whigs, and 
the Age went on its knees to her in the following and 
many other effusions : 

" If your Majesty would reign in the hearts of your 
subjects, nor hold a barren sceptre in your hand, you 
will enquire for the confidential advisers of your family 
(and you will not find them among your present 
Ministers), solicit their advice, and learn from them 
the real nature of your Royal office, the true state of 
your loyal subjects, the present position of your 
dominions in all their political relations internal, 
foreign, and commercial." 

An early matter for discussion was whether Her 
Majesty should be allowed a private secretary, after 
the example of the two last Sovereigns. George III. 
had done all his own work until 1805, when he became 
blind, and, much to the disgust of politicians, paid 
Colonel Herbert Taylor out of funds at the disposal 



138 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of the Crown to be his private secretary. When the 
Prince Regent made Colonel McMahon his secretary, 
and asked that his salary should be paid out of the 
public funds, Parliament opposed the suggestion to 
such an extent that the salary had to be paid from 
the Privy Purse. The appointment itself was attacked 
in Parliament, the contention being that it was highly 
unconstitutional, for the secrets of State would thus 
pass through a third party other than the King and 
the Ministers and that a private secretary would con- 
stitute a Court of Revision above the Cabinet. For- 
tunately, the Ministers defended the appointment. 
Prior to this the poor Monarch had had personally to 
sign thousands of documents every year, and in the 
absence of the secretary had to seal and address the 
communications ; thus the services of an assistant were 
absolutely essential if the Sovereign were not to become 
a sort of automatic machine for doing mechanical work. 
William IV. made Sir Herbert Taylor his secretary ; 
but when Victoria came to the throne, the duties of 
this servant were so misunderstood that she was allowed 
no secretary; all alike being afraid lest the servant 
should become the master and adviser. The Queen 
wished to appoint Baron Stockmar, but fortunately for 
everyone Melbourne would not consent to this, for as 
Stockmar was practically the agent of King Leopold, 
the nation would have been indignant at his being put 
into so important a position. Leopold had had the 
prudence not to hurry over to England as soon as 
his niece became Queen, which was wise of him, for 
had he come he would have been accused of desiring 




KING LEOPOLD OF THE BELGIANS. 
From the Drawing by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 139 

to rule the country through her, and, besides, discord 
must have arisen between him and his sister the 
Duchess. What he did was to send the Baron over, 
who for some years had been occupied in training 
Prince Albert for the high position his uncle intended 
him to hold. The Baron's unacknowledged post about 
the Queen was that of theoretic political tutor rather 
than actual adviser, for he had been brought up in 
the midst of German theories, and never seemed to 
understand the difference between the English and 
German system of governing. That he gave Queen 
Victoria much excellent advice, and that a profound 
and trusting regard existed between them, cannot be 
doubted, but he was another foreigner added to those 
already about the Throne, and his name was instantly 
connected with those who were still known as the 
Kensington Camarilla. There were naturally many 
who distrusted the Baron. Abercromby, the Speaker, 
said that he felt it his duty to call attention in Parlia- 
ment to the unconstitutional position of the foreigner 
Stockmar; a course which, however, he never followed. 
Melbourne himself, much as he was said to approve 
of the German, occasionally felt a certain uneasiness 
about him, which was expressed as follows : 

" King Leopold and Stockmar are very good and 
intelligent people, but I dislike very much to hear it 
said that I am influenced by them. We know it is 
not true, but still I dislike to hear it said." 

A general report was spread abroad that the Baron 
was acting in the important position of secretary to the 
Queen, and Melbourne in a letter to a colleague wrote : 



140 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

' There is, of course, no truth in Stockmar's appoint- 
ment. It should be quietly contradicted." While this 
matter was being discussed, Victoria sent for Sir 
Herbert Taylor to get his advice, and he asked, " Is 
your Majesty afraid of the work?" which drew from 
her the reply, " I mean to work." " Then don't have 
a secretary," he retorted, which was silly, seeing that 
without one the Queen would have to spend all her 
time doing secretarial work. 

In the end Melbourne arranged to act as secretary 
to her Majesty on matters of state, which entailed 
seeing her every day, and the Baroness Lehzen under- 
took at first personal and domestic affairs, and there 
were more than hints that she really did fill the post 
of adviser so dreaded by those in Parliament. 

The name of the Baroness Lehzen raised the fury 
of the more intemperate of political writers, for they 
had always suspected her of acting, not against the 
interest of England so much as against the interest 
of party. This may or may not have been the case, 
but there can be no doubt whatever concerning her 
intense love for her one-time pupil, and it was probably 
this as well as her enmity to Conroy that helped to 
make a breach between her and the Duchess ; for two 
people loving the same person are very likely to get 
different ideas concerning that person's good, and to 
quarrel over each other's methods. Baroness Lehzen, 
as has been said, was a real German, stolid, conven- 
tional, sensible, and, like many of her countrywomen, 
showing little imagination. She may have had as 
much influence as the Duchess or King Leopold in 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 141 

debarring the girl from all imaginative literature and 
from all fiction. When Victoria became Queen she 
had never read a novel, and there seems to be no 
evidence that she had ever touched literature or any- 
thing beyond lessons or history books. This, of 
course, may have been caused by a certain system of 
education, or it may have been that those in authority 
had no taste for belles lettres or intellectual exercise. 
It was the day in which it was thought dangerous for 
a woman to use her brains, and when a certain limited 
knowledge of facts was regarded as education. I 
notice that when the Duchess asked the Bishops of 
London and Lincoln to " examine " the Princess in 
1830, they mention only the subjects of Christian 
Religion, Scripture, History, Geography, Arithmetic, 
and the Latin Grammar, and expressed themselves 
entirely satisfied. Of course, this was a fairly good 
education for the period, but it was all a matter of 
memory, and, apart from history, left little place for the 
exercise of the mind. 

By the time Victoria had been Queen for a year she 
had read three novels, and had struggled through two 
books of memoirs, but it was possible that what she 
had lost in her youthful training could never be re- 
gained. However, her daily habits were impeccable. 
She had been brought up in simplicity both in dress 
and food, regularity in meals, work, play, and sleep, 
and punctuality, being punctual herself and demand- 
ing it of others. She was also taught never to half- 
learn or half-do anything, but always to finish that 
which she began. One story of her punctuality is told 



142 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

by several writers, but the irrepressible Creevy gives 
it in an amusing form, so I quote it here. 

" A word or two about Vic. She is as much idolised 
as ever, except by the Duchess of Sutherland, who 
received a very proper snub from her two days ago. 
She was half an hour late for dinner, so little Vic. 
told her that she hoped it might not happen another 
time; for, tho 5 she did not mind in the least waiting 
herself, it was very unpleasant to keep her company 
waiting." 

Lady Georgiana Grey had the Baroness by her side 
at dinner one day, and heard from her high laudations 
of Her Majesty, such as that she was absolutely perfect, 
that she worked from morning to night, and that she 
would be surrounded with dispatch boxes while her 
maid was doing her hair. There was an earlier occa- 
sion on which Lehzen let her heart overflow about the 
perfections of her charge, saying, among other things, 
that, though she would never be a beautiful or grand- 
looking woman, she would certainly be one of the 
greatest Monarchs of Europe "great, not in beauty 
nor in stature, but great in intellect and as a wife and 
in motherly love to her children, and greater still as 
mother of England. 55 To this she added, " I know all 
about her, and I feel she will live to be idolised, and 
leave a name behind her such as none of her pre- 
decessors have left. 55 

If these words were so uttered, and not amplified 
by uncertain memory, it seems that there was at least 
one person who thought that she knew the character 
of the Princess. Stockmar is said to have come to 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 143 

the same judgment when he first saw her in 1836. 
" England will grow great and famous under her 
rule ! " was his remark. It is added that these words 
being repeated to the King, drew from him the answer, 
"If Stockmar said that, I cease regretting that I have 
no children to whom to hand. down the crown." 

It was a pity that between the two women who had 
done most towards forming the mind of the young 
Queen there should have arisen an abiding coolness. 
Sir John Conroy was the one person in whom the 
Duchess reposed her confidence, and whose advice she 
sought before taking any action; but Lehzen hated 
Conroy, and had probably inspired her pupil with the 
same sentiment. It was more than likely that 
Conroy, as well as the Duchess, was perfectly aware 
of her feelings, for the Baroness considered that they 
did not use her well. Then, too, judging from after 
events, it is very possible that Lehzen had already 
acquired an undue influence over Victoria, and had 
raised the bitter jealousy of the Duchess. However, 
the whole little circle kept up appearances, and the 
people forming it were outwardly on cordial terms. 
Victoria was devoted to her Lehzen, and when at home 
apparently always required her company; for the 
Ministers who had occasion to see Her Majesty would 
often, on entering a room by one door, see the Baroness 
disappearing by another, and as soon as the audience 
was over she would return to the Queen. 

The one thing about Victoria's new home which 
must astonish all who think about it is, that from the 
time she became Queen, her mother went into the back- 



144 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ground. This proud woman, who had fought Kings 
and Princes that she might give her child the best that 
she knew; she who by the asperity of her temper and 
haughty pride had become a personage distinct from 
all other members of the Royal family, now that that 
beloved child was in the highest position in the land, 
sank into nothingness. She was never consulted, she 
did not always know what was happening, no word of 
State affairs reached her ears; the old companionship 
was gone, for alas ! in the old days she had drawn the 
rein too tightly, so that when once the young creature 
was free she feared the restraining hand too much to 
trust it again. 

One of Victoria's first acts must have given her 
mother much pain, though it is likely that she had had 
warning of what would occur. Sir John Conroy, who 
had been right-hand man both to the Duke and to 
the Duchess, had fallen into the faults so common 
to long service. He was too sure of his ground, too 
ready to assume responsibility, and he had never 
troubled to look upon the Princess as a force with 
which he should reckon. Thus he was entirely dis- 
liked by her, and she determined that in her new 
household she would be freed from a man who, what- 
ever his merits, was personally obnoxious to herself. 

So long as Her Majesty remained at Kensington, 
that is, until July I3th, Conroy was a member of the 
Household, and he perhaps did not believe that the 
young Queen would at once and so effectually grasp 
her power. He had not yet learned to discriminate 
between the past and the present, and followed his 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 145 

usual course as master of the servants. Thus one day 
a groom who had been in constant attendance upon 
Victoria could not be found, and on inquiries being 
made it was explained that Conroy had dismissed him. 
That is said to have brought matters to a head. The 
Queen sent for Sir John so runs one account and 
asked him to name the reward he expected for his 
services to her parents. His reply was that he desired 
the Red Ribband, an Irish Peerage, and a pension of 
3,000 a year. The Queen answered that the first two 
lay with her Ministers, and she could not promise for 
them, but the pension he should have. In another 
account we learn that she made him a baronet in addi- 
tion to bestowing the pension, but that all connection 
with the Palace ceased, and that he was never dis- 
tinguished by the slightest mark of personal favour; 
" so that nothing can be more striking than the contrast 
between the magnitude of the pecuniary bounty and 
the complete personal disregard of which he is the 
object." 

" Conroy goes not to Court, the reason's plain, 
King- John has played his part and ceased to reign " 

sung a flippant paragraphist. 

Under these circumstances the Duchess lost the 
daily companionship of the friend upon whom, judi- 
ciously or otherwise, she was accustomed to lean, a 
matter which rankled long and bitterly in the poor 
lady's mind. However, the Queen was still her well- 
beloved child, and it was a long time before she could 
forget to exercise her motherly desire to guide events ; 
thus she watched with alarm the brilliant life now led 

L 



146 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

by the girl, who for eighteen years had been carefully 
guarded from late hours, luxurious food, and social 
excitement of every sort. Now the emancipated girl 
filled long days with business engagements, with public 
pageants, with theatres and balls, and other amuse- 
ments. She was enjoying to the full the consciousness 
of being the centre of things, she was beginning to 
appreciate her power, and was punctilious in carrying 
out any settled plan. When her mother urged her to 
remain quietly at home she laughed at her fears, and 
showed no disposition to go back to the nursery regime 
of Kensington. So the Duchess made an ally of the 
doctor probably Sir James Clark, who played so 
unfortunate a part two years later. He remonstrated 
with Her Majesty upon the life of excitement that she 
was experiencing, saying that it must be injurious to 
her. 

" Say too much amusement rather than excitement," 
replied the Queen. " I know not what the future will 
bring, but I have met with so much affection, so much 
respect, and every act of sovereignty has been made 
so light, that I have not yet felt the weight of the 
Crown." 

Then the doctor changed his complaint, and re- 
marked upon the enormous dinner parties she gave, 
saying that their size must make them very fatiguing. 
But Victoria was ready with her answer. 

" These dinner parties amuse me. If I had a small 
party I should have to exert myself to entertain my 
guests, but with a large one they are called upon to 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 147 

amuse me, and then I become personally acquainted 
with those who surround the throne/' 

There was one disquieting person who was partially 
removed from Victoria's life upon her accession, and 
that was the Duke of Cumberland, who became King 
of Hanover on the death of his brother. William had 
in 1833 granted a liberal constitution with representa- 
tive government to his Hanoverian dominions, where 
his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, was Viceroy. On 
William's death Cambridge returned to England, and 
Cumberland left England to harass his new subjects. 
One of his first acts was to reverse all that his brother 
had done, to abolish the constitution, make himself 
arbitrary King, and prosecute the Liberal Professors of 
Gottingen. This was not done in spite, but from a 
sincere conviction that reform of any sort was wrong. 
He was a Tory of the Tories, but, I believe, quite 
honest in his politics. He really thought that England 
was going to destruction a myth which is cherished 
by some up to the present day the first step down- 
wards being the repeal of the Corporation and Test 
Act in 1828, the next the Catholic Emancipation Act, 
while the climax of our ruin was the Reform Bill. It 
was in his private and social life that King Ernest was 
so odious. His wife, who admired him as a man of 
intellect, was terrified by his fits of ungovernable 
temper; his sister in Hanover said that the loss of 
her brother Cambridge nearly killed her, " the whole 
thing is so changed one's mind is quite overset "; while 
his lax ideas of morality really made him detestable. 

L 2 



148 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The papers abounded in announcements that he was 
unpopular. At the coronation of William IV. The 
Times drew a gentle contrast between the way in which 
the Duke and the Ministers were received : " The 
Duke of Cumberland experienced in the course of 
yesterday proofs, we dare say not unexpected by His 
Royal Highness, of the extraordinary estimation in 
which most Englishmen hold him. The Duke of 
Wellington whom, if he had never been a politician, 
his countrymen would gladly, gratefully, and for ever 
have recognised as an illustrious military chief, was 
treated respectfully by the spectators in the Abbey; 
but Lord Grey and Lord Brougham received every 
testimony of the warmest and most eager approbation." 
In turning to the article in the Dictionary of National 
Biography, I find a very partial account given of the 
Duke of Cumberland, the impression made being that 
he was a brave, clever man, much maligned by the 
Whigs and Radicals. This, however, was not exactly 
the case, the Duke's delinquencies being recorded by 
every shade of opinion, and though it is most likely 
that those opposed to him in politics shouted the 
loudest, the undoubted fact remains that all joined in 
the cry. 

In the election of July, 1837, tne Whigs were re- 
turned to power, having lost in the counties but gained 
elsewhere ; this confirmed Lord Melbourne in his place 
as Prime Minister, and put him into the position of 
guardian to Her Majesty. Melbourne must in some 
ways have been a wonderful man for that position. 
He was then in his fifty-eighth year, a man of the 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 149 

world, somewhat sceptical, "but honourable, well- 
meaning, honest, clever, highly educated, and a 
moderate Liberal." He was a peace lover, and per- 
haps sometimes was inclined to say, like the over- 
indulgent parent, " anything for peace ! " one of his 
favourite utterances being, " Damn it ! why can't every- 
one be quiet ? " He was constitutionally incapable of 
sustaining a quarrel, for he had no jealousy or rancour 
in his disposition, a dispute bored him, and he felt no 
interest in getting the better of an argument ; he could 
easily forgive, and do so without humiliating the 
aggressor. With these good qualities went indolence 
and a certain amount of carelessness. But that he 
was neither a place-hunter nor a flatterer is amply 
proved by the fact that at first everyone approved of 
his position with the Queen. No one could suggest 
any other course to pursue, and it was not until a little 
later that the Tories saw how entirely they had given 
the Crown into the hands of the Whigs. 

Melbourne's sufferings in life came from the fact 
that he was in advance of his age in one respect. 
To-day no one could have had any excuse for trying 
to blackmail him or to damage his reputation. Eighty 
years ago matters were different, and no man could 
make a friend of a charming lady, go to see her as 
often as he pleased, and expect to be free from danger. 
As Melbourne did this sort of thing, he naturally had 
to account for it. 

In 1828 Lord Brandon, who was a Doctor of 
Divinity, found letters which seemed to prove that 
there was a too warm friendship between his wife and 



150 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Mr. William Lamb, which was Melbourne's name 
before he came into his title. The parson-peer there- 
upon wrote to his wife telling her what he had found, 
and what conclusion he drew from it. Then he added 
that if she would use her influence with Mr. Lamb to 
procure him a Bishropic he would overlook the offence 
and give her back the letters. To this the lady replied 
that she would neither degrade herself nor Mr. Lamb 
by such a course, and that the letter just received from 
him she should show to the latter gentleman. The 
result was a suit for divorce brought by Lord Brandon, 
which he lost through insufficient evidence; the pro- 
duction of his letter would, however, have been suffi- 
cient to make a jury decide against him. 

A few years later Melbourne met again the Hon. 
Mrs. Norton, whom he had known in her childhood. 
She was both beautiful and clever, and being a grand- 
daughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, had inherited 
a shade of his genius. Unfortunately when she was 
but nineteen, she had married a man named George 
Norton, a younger brother of Fletcher Norton, third 
Lord Grantley, who was also an unsuccessful barrister 
of twenty-seven, coarse in disposition, greedy and 
brutal, though, like most young people, he managed to 
hide his faults from the girl he wooed until after the 
marriage. Mrs. Norton was a poet, clever rather than 
spontaneous, and she published a little volume called 
"The Sorrows of Rosalie: A Tale, with Other 
Poems." This was Byronic in style, and the praise 
poured upon it effectually opened a literary career for 
its author. From that time her labours practically 



I 

* :: : 




m 




THE HON. MRS. NORTON. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 151 

kept her household going, with the exception that, 
having begged Lord Melbourne to do something for 
her husband, George Norton was given a Metropolitan 
police magistracy in 1831. Norton was anything but 
satisfactory at his work, and thus a coolness arose 
between him and Melbourne; but the latter still visited 
at his house, feeling a kindly friendship for Mrs. 
Norton, whose lively Irish mind and conversation 
charmed him. 

Norton was scarcely the man to make home a 
pleasant place, and at last matters between husband 
and wife came to an open rupture. Upon this, it was 
said that a little plot was hatched. Everyone knew 
that before long a young Queen would be upon the 
throne, and everyone also knew the integrity and strict 
sentiments of the Duchess of Kent. From these the 
conclusion was drawn by " some of the less reputable 
members of the Opposition," that if Melbourne were 
publicly discredited he would never be Prime Minister 
under the new rule. " The Court is mighty prudish, 
and between them our off-hand Premier will find him- 
self in a ticklish position." Thus, remembering the 
former case against Lord Melbourne, and remember- 
ing that mud is likely to stick closest the more fre- 
quently it is flung, George Norton was incited to 
institute a divorce case against his wife, with Melbourne 
as co-respondent. 

Lord Melbourne had this thunder-cloud hanging 
over him for months, and in spite of his brave words 
to Mrs. Norton, it at last made him absolutely ill. 

" Since first I heard that I was to be proceeded 



152 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

against, I have had neither sleep nor appetite, I have 
suffered more intensely than I ever did in my life, and 
I attribute the whole of my illness (at least the severity 
of it) to the uneasiness of my mind. Now what is this 
uneasiness for? Not for my own character, because, 
as you justly say, the imputation upon me is as nothing. 
It is not for the political consequences to myself, 
although I deeply feel the consequences which my 
indiscretion may bring upon those who are attached to 
me and follow my fortunes. The real and principal 
object of my anxiety is you, and the situation in which 
you have been so unjustly placed." Again he writes : 
" I hope you will not take it ill if I implore you to try 
at least to be calm under these trials. You know what 
is alleged is utterly false, and what is false can rarely 
be made to appear true." 

The case was talked of for months before it came 
to trial, and all the newspapers had their comments to 
make, facetiously writing of " Mrs. Norton and her 
Lamb." On the whole, however, they preached the 
innocence of the Premier; even the Age, ultra-Tory 
and scandalous as it was, honestly said that it believed 
him to be wrongly accused; though, later, that paper 
was anything but kind to him. It was the 22nd of 
June, 1836, when Justice Tindal sat in the Court of 
Common Pleas to decide upon the moral conduct of 
Viscount Melbourne and the Hon. Mrs. Norton, and 
also to decide whether it would be just to award Mr. 
Norton damages to the value of 10,000. Sir William 
Follett led for the plaintiff, and unwisely admitted that 
he had not advised his going to trial, adding, however, 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 153 

that he certainly expected to secure a verdict. How- 
ever, he managed to ask of his client a most unfor- 
tunate question, whether it was true that Mr. Norton 
had ever walked with his wife to Lord Melbourne's 
house and left her there. Upon Norton admitting that 
he had done so, Follett replied that that was the end 
of the case. The only witnesses were servants, mostly 
of damaged character, discarded from the Norton 
household, some of them several years earlier. These 
had been nursed for some time quietly at Lord Grant- 
ley's country seat, yet in spite of their kindly treatment 
none of them could swear to any occurrences which 
had taken place within the preceding three years. At 
the close of the plaintiff's case the jury refused an 
adjournment, so the judge analysed the evidence, and 
a verdict of acquittal was returned, drawing loud cheers 
from the onlookers, which were echoed by those waiting 
outside the Court. The news was carried immediately 
to the House of Commons, where it was received with 
acclamation; and King William cordially congratu- 
lated his Minister the next day on having " baffled the 
machinations which he did not doubt had their origin 
in sinister aims fomented by the meaner animosities 
of party." Other congratulations poured in from 
every quarter, and the paragraphist made his harvest 
out of the case, one comment running : 

" This Crim. con. case, complex and ram- 
ified since it commenced, 
Prove that meek Melbourne's still a Lamb, 
The fair one sinn'd against. " 

Lord Wynford, uncle to George Norton, noted as 






154 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

one of the violent Tories, and the Duke of Cumberland 
were openly spoken of as the foster-fathers of this 
charge, but when it failed both men assured Melbourne 
on their honour that they knew nothing about it. Lord 
Wynford said that he had not heard of the case until 
four days after it was commenced, and had not seen 
" that unfortunate young man " (Norton) for two or 
three years. The impression, however, remained that 
the case had its origin in political scheming, and 
Greville (a Tory himself) certainly believed this, for on 
the 27th of June he wrote : 

" Great exultation at the verdict on the part of his 
(Melbourne's) political adherents, great disappoint- 
ment on that of the mob of low Tories, and a creditable 
satisfaction among the better sort; it was a triumphal 
acquittal. The wonder is how with such a case 
Norton's family ventured into Court, but (although it 
is stoutly denied) there can be no doubt that old Wyn- 
ford was at the bottom of it and persuaded Lord 
Grantley to urge it on for some political purposes. 
There is pretty conclusive evidence of this. Fletcher 
Norton, who is staying in town, was examined on the 
trial, and Denison, who is Norton's neighbour, and who 
talked to Fletcher Norton's host, was told that Fletcher 
Norton had shown him the case on which they were 
going to proceed, and that he had told him he thought 
it was a very weak one, to which he had replied so 
did he, but he expected it would produce a very 
important political effect." 

In 1837 Lord Melbourne became political adviser 
to the Queen. As her Prime Minister he had to see 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 155 

her every day, as her Secretary he had to spend an 
hour or two with her daily in going through her State 
correspondence. Thus before many months were 
passed, the Opposition began to make stringent re- 
marks upon Melbourne at Windsor, but the Duke of 
Wellington, satisfied with his actions and his treatment 
of the Queen, said, " I wish he were always there ! " 
This continued companionship raised a warm feeling of 
friendship in the minds of both; Melbourne became 
devoted to his Queen, and received from her an almost 
filial confidence. George Villiers, who was once on a 
visit to Windsor, was greatly impressed with the 
relationship between the two, remarking : 

" Lord Melbourne's attitude to the Queen is so 
parental and anxious, but always so deferential and 
respectful; hers, indicative of such entire confidence, 
such pleasure in his society. She is continually talking 
to him ; let who will be there, he always sits next her 
at dinner, and evidently by arrangement, because he 
always takes in the lady in waiting, which necessarily 
places him next her, the etiquette being that the lady 
in waiting sits next but one to the Queen. It is not 
unnatural, and to him it is peculiarly interesting. I 
have no doubt he is passionately fond of her as he 
might Be of his daughter if he had one, and the more 
because he is a man with a capacity for loving without 
having anything in the world to love. It has become 
his province to educate, instruct, and form the most 
interesting mind in the world. No occupation was ever 
more engrossing or involved greater responsibility. I 



156 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

have no doubt that Melbourne is both equal to and 
worthy of the task, and that it is fortunate she has 
fallen into his hands, and that he discharges this great 
duty wisely, honourably, and conscientiously. There 
are, however, or rather may be hereafter, inconve- 
niences in the establishment of such an intimacy, and 
in a connection of so close and affectionate a nature 
between the young Queen and her Minister ; for when- 
ever the Government, which hangs by a thread, shall 
be broken up, the parting will be painful, and their 
subsequent relations will not be without embarrassment 
to themselves, nor fail to be the cause of jealousy in 
others. It is a great proof of the discretion and purity 
of his conduct and behaviour, that he is admired, 
respected, and liked by all the Court." 

There were, however, to the Viscount some small 
inconveniences caused by his constant attendance at 
Court. He possessed very courtierlike instincts, it is 
true, but in general his attitudes were anything but 
those of a courtier, for he loved to lounge and sprawl, 
while his language was distinctly unparliamentary, 
being interlarded with Damns. Someone writes that 
when Brougham's own irresponsibility made it impos- 
sible to trust him again with the Great Seal, Melbourne 
made the emphatic remark : 

" G d d n you, I tell you I can't give you the 
Great Seal, and there's an end of it ! " When 
Brougham was a second time disappointed of place, 
he is reported to have said to his former chief, who 
was very anxious not to hurt his feelings more than 
could be helped : 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S ADVISERS 157 

"Why don't you say again what you said before, 
and damn me for wanting the Seal ? " 

On one occasion Melbourne went with Lady Grant 
Duff, Mrs. Norton, and Henry Reeve to see " Every 
Man in his Humour," and before the curtain rose he 
remarked that it would be a dull play with no kudos 
in it. Between the acts he exclaimed in a stentorian 
voice, heard across the pit : 

" I knew this play would be dull, but that it would 
be so damnably dull as this I did not suppose ! " 

These things Melbourne had to alter; he had to 
soften his laugh, keep a guard upon his tongue, and 
sit uprightly in his chair ; all of which he accomplished, 
though it is recorded that when in 1846 Peel made a 
volte face on the repeal of the Corn Laws, Mel- 
bourne, though seated at the Queen's table, burst out 
with : 

" It's a damned dishonest act, Ma'am, a damned 
dishonest act." One account of this relates that the 
Queen only laughed, while the others around the table 
did not know how or where to look, as the Court was 
in favour of Repeal and Peel was its trusted Minister; 
but another story goes that Melbourne was so excited 
that Her Majesty had to say firmly : 

" Never mind, Lord Melbourne; we will discuss this 
at another time." 

This change of opinion on the part of Peel, by the 
way, caused many hard words to be showered upon 
him, the Duke of Wellington saying, with a side 
allusion to the Irish famine : 

" Rotten potatoes have done it; they put Peel in his 



158 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

damned fright"; while Lord Alvanley declared that 
Peel ought not to die a natural death. 

It is probable that Melbourne's upright regard for 
his own principles attracted Victoria more sincerely 
than some of his other good qualities, for her rank 
never inclined him to assent to her wishes if he thought 
them injudicious. 



CHAPTER VII 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 

" Under the present reign the perfect decorum of the Court 
is thought to have put a check on the gross vices of the aris- 
tocracy; yet gaming, racing, drinking, and mistresses bring 
them down, and the democrat can still gather scandals, if he 
will. ' ' Emerson. 

THAT the Queen had a determined will was 
evidenced by a rather amusing incident early in her 
reign. A great military review in Hyde Park had 
been suggested for July i8th, but failed to take place, 
and the Press did its best to discover the hidden reason 
for its abandonment. It is really wonderful how suc- 
cessful newspaper men were in ferreting out secrets, 
for this time, though they may have added details, with 
a little bit invented and a little bit inferred, the main 
fact was correct. 

Her Majesty was determined that she would appear 
at the review on horseback, accompanied by the Duke 
of Wellington and Lord Hill, which was certainly the 
most effective way of seeing ranks of soldiers pass 
before her. A leading London paper reported that 
Lord Melbourne was horrified at the idea, for he 
thought that propriety demanded that a great lady 
should drive in a carriage. This point was discussed 

159 



160 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

with " firmness " on both sides, the Queen refusing to 
alter her method of going, and the Prime Minister 
thinking that method too great an innovation to be 
countenanced. At last, as Melbourne backed from her 
presence, the Queen finished the interview with, " Very 
well, my lord, very well; remember, no horse, no 
review ! " 

So far the papers. But from contemporary corre- 
spondence I find that the matter was considered of 
sufficient importance for the Duke of Wellington to 
ask Lord Liverpool if there were not some idea of 
the Queen riding to the review, and on being told that 
there was talk of it, he expressed his opinion that it 
would be very dangerous, as it was difficult to get good 
steady horses, and, besides, the Queen would not be 
able to have a " female " attendant with her, which 
would seem indelicate, and that, in fact, she had better 
go in a carriage. 

But Queen Victoria would not be dictated to in this 
matter; she decided that there should be no review 
this year. " I was determined to have it only if I could 
ride, and as I have not ridden for two years, it was 
better not." So she showed diplomacy as well as 
determination two very good qualities in a Sovereign. 

As to the Duke's doubt about the horses, at that 
very time Victoria was pressing the Dowager Queen 
Adelaide to take away two or three of her own riding 
horses from among the number which, by the death of 
the King, had been transferred to herself. 

However, Queen Victoria held a review in the Home 



QUEEN^VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 161 

Park at Windsor in August, when King Leopold was 
with her, and both regiments of the Guards, horse and 
foot, passed before her, she being mounted on a grey 
charger, and wearing a blue riding-habit and cloth cap 
with a deep gold band round it. When the troops were 
at "attention" the Queen rode along the line and 
between the ranks. 

While the elections were in progress in July, both 
parties made unfair use of Her Majesty's name. 

" Vote for (Whig candidate) and the Queen ! " 

was the general appeal from the Whig side. In fact, 
both sides claimed her; and though we consider the 
tactics employed to-day at elections are sometimes 
degrading and unnecessary, they are not quite so bad 
as they were in the " good old times " of the early part 
of last century. The poor disappointed Tories were 
spurred to desperation by the conviction forced upon 
them that their turn was not yet, and did their best to 
score off their opponents. They would not believe in 
the generally received idea that the young Queen 
favoured the Whigs, an idea which was absolutely 
true, however, and they wrote such warnings as the 
following : 

' The infamous use made of the Queen's name is 
traitorous, base, and cowardly. Her Majesty, if she 
has any political bias, which we very much doubt, and 
earnestly for her own sake hope she may never have, 
is too young and inexperienced in matters of State 
policy to have given utterance to it. The continuance 
in office of the Melbourne Ministry is no proof of her 

M 



162 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

affection for them. They are not of her selection ; and, 
it may be, are only retained under warning till more 
eligible successors are found." 

In this strain ran many protests, which a little later, 
when the Government had done some work, took a new 
form. There were whispers, and then assertions made, 
that the Queen had converted all her Ministers to 
Conservatism, and in January, 1838, the Morning Post 
had a leader upon the subject : 

" Her Majesty . . . has effected an almost instan- 
taneous conversion of Lord Melbourne, Lord John 
Russell, and all the other members of the Administra- 
tion into Conservatives, the most ostentatious, not the 
most sincere, of whom England can boast. Yes, the 
same statesmen who vexed and harassed the declining 
years of their late aged Monarch by their alliance with 
the men of the movement, . . . finding themselves at the 
commencement of a Conservative reign which the most 
juvenile of their number cannot expect to survive, and 
having discovered, moreover, that the hints breathed 
at them from Kensington during the latter part of their 
Royal Mistress's minority were of no true or holy 
inspiration, but such spurious and illicit intimations as 
seldom fail to deceive alike the givers and the receivers, 
have thought fit to make for themselves a movement, 
and a very decided one, in a direction diametrically 
opposed to that in which for several years past they 
have been labouring to advance. The obsequious 
Ministers of a Conservative Sovereign, they are as 
decidedly Conservative as their existing alliances and 
their actual position will allow. Hence their hoary 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 163 

chief is in constant personal attendance upon our 
youthful Conservative SOVEREIGN, not to impart 
political instruction, but to imbibe it." 

A week or so later the same paper followed this up 
with another leader, in which it said : 

" The Whigs the Melbourne or bastard Whigs we 
mean have, with a most accommodating and mere- 
tricious facility, prostituted their hereditary and their 
personal pretexts for principles we cannot call them 
to captivate the ' sweet voices ' of the swinish con- 
stituency (? electorate), which, for purposes more 
swinish than the constituency created, they have forced 
into existence." 

We scarcely aim at outdoing this sort of thing to-day ; 
no paper would dare to label the electorate "swinish," 
for the extension of the franchise would at least have 
had the effect of making all England feel itself insulted 
through every constituency. 

That there had been no conversion of the Govern- 
ment it is unnecessary to say, but there may have been 
something to warrant the hope or otherwise that 
such a change had taken place, for Melbourne was 
distinctly a moderate Whig, disapproving of really 
Radical measures, just as Wellington disapproved of 
following blindly the desires of his party when he 
regarded their methods as impolitic. There was, 
however, a generally expressed hope that the Whigs 
would not long be retained in power, and articles upon 
this point filled the Tory papers, while songs were 
sung in the streets on the same theme. In Hudders- 

M 2 



164 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

field upon a window-pane is said to have been 
written : 

" The Queen is with us, Whigs insulting say, 
For when she found us in she let us stay ; 
It may be so, but give me leave to doubt 
How long she'll keep you when she finds you out." 

Fatherly and experienced as was Melbourne, and 
ready as was the Queen to be taught, she did not give 
herself unreservedly into his hands, and there was no 
truth in the cheap witticism which I have come across 
somewhere : ' ' The Lion of England/ said the Queen, 
with one of her bland smiles, ' has been taught to lie 
down with the Lamb ! ' 

If there was anything of particular importance to 
decide, Victoria was not one to go calmly where she 
was led ; she had left all that ductility behind on the 
day that she attained her eighteenth year. Her answer 
would be : "I would rather think about it first; I will 
let you know my decision to-morrow." Thus would 
she reply to everyone, with the result that many said 
that she could not decide a question until she had 
asked advice of Melbourne. But he recorded that 
such was her habit with him, and that when he talked 
to her upon any subject which required an expressed 
opinion of her own, she would reply that she would 
think it over and let him know her sentiments the next 
day. Of course, the next suggestion was that Lehzen 
was her counsellor, and that she always ran to her for 
advice ; failing that lady, that it was Stockmar. The 
curious thing was that only one person seems to have 
suggested that the Duchess of Kent was the power 




LORD BROUGHAM. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 165 

behind the Throne, and this was Lord Brougham, of 
whom Greville, being at Holland House once, wrote 
that he "came in after dinner, looking like an old 
clothes man, and as dirty as the ground." But there 
is no doubt at all that the Queen really and wisely 
decided to think matters out for herself, and not to 
adjudge any matter rashly. Leopold constantly gave 
her this advice : " Whenever a question is of some 
importance, it should not be decided on the day on 
which it is submitted to you. ... It is really not doing 
oneself justice de decider des questions sur le pouce" 

Greville complained that Victoria betrayed caution 
and prudence, the former to a degree unnatural in one 
so young, and unpleasing in that it suppressed the 
youthful impulses regarded generally as so graceful 
and so attractive. This caution was shown in her dis- 
like of expressing an opinion upon people ; Melbourne 
was never able to extract any idea as to whom she liked 
or disliked, which seemed much to surprise him; but 
once, probably anxious to know who, supposing for 
some unforeseen reason he failed her, would be most 
acceptable as her adviser, he pressed the point. Her 
Majesty, still cautious, asked if it were a matter of 
State policy that she should answer. Melbourne 
replied that in no other circumstances would he have 
presumed to put such a question. " Then," she said, 
" there is one person for whom I should feel a decided 
preference, and that is the Duke of Wellington." 

It was but natural that the Premier a word much 
in use at that period should feel some embarrass- 
ment at the amount of work he had to bring this girl, 



166 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

who might well have hoped for a life of ease and enjoy- 
ment, and sometimes he apologised for his exactions. 
She would not, however, recognise the need for such 
apology, saying that the attention required from her 
was only a change of occupation ; she had not so far 
led a life of leisure, " for you know well that I have not 
long left off my lessons." 

At this time the Queen was said to be much more 
like the Brunswicks than the Guelphs, being, in fact, 
very like the unfortunate wife of George I., who was 
imprisoned for years in the Royal palace at Celle, in 
Hanover. Sophia's hair was much fairer, but the 
features were the same. 

The I ittle Queen, despite her busy life and the extra 
work she gave herself in her attempt to remember and 
judge, had time to think of other people. She worked 
with the zeal of the new-comer, kept a journal, in which 
she entered anything remarkable that she noticed, with 
her criticisms thereon; and after every important 
debate would collect all the newspaper reports and 
make a precis of the best of them. She thought for 
the comfort of the Dowager Queen, and was somewhat 
troubled about the Fitzclarences; the pension list was 
gone through by her, and some little acts of kindness 
done. Thus old Sir John Lade, who had been one of 
the wildest of the Regent's companions in the palmy 
days of the Pavilion, was still alive, having run through 
all his possessions. " Our Prinny " had given him a 
pension of five hundred a year out of the Privy Purse ; 
William IV. gave him three hundred a year when he 
came to the throne, but it was supposed that with the 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 167 

young Queen his pension must end. The poor old 
roue, then over eighty, implored Lord Sefton's interest 
with Melbourne to secure him some portion, however 
small, of the amount; but Melbourne could hold him 
out no hope that he would receive it. When Queen 
Victoria was asked her pleasure in the matter, she said, 
" But is not Sir John over eighty years old? " " That 
is so, your Majesty." 'Then I will neither inquire 
into the pension nor reduce it; it shall be continued 
from my Privy Purse," she answered. 

The tribe of Fitzclarences were in a state of rebel- 
lious anxiety concerning their own affairs ; they all were 
holding sinecures and drawing salaries, besides being 
in receipt of pensions out of the public pension list 
and nearly ,10,000 a year given them by King 
William. Ft was in Victoria's power to withdraw all 
this, and the accounts of the austerity of the Kensing- 
ton circle thoroughly frightened them. Between the 
Duchess of Kent and all the Fitzclarences, whether 
taken singly or as a family, there was no love, no liking, 
scarcely tolerance ; and so little was known of Victoria 
by them that they could only suppose that she shared 
her mother's views. 

Lord Munster, the eldest, received the first shock, 
which communicated itself to the other members. He 
held the post of Lieutenant of the Round Tower, and 
on his surrendering the keys to the Queen they were 
not given back to him, though Victoria was most 
pleasant and polite. But Munster behaved with dis- 
cretion, for he probably expected this; and after some 
days it was discovered that he had been given the post 



168 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

for life. So the keys were returned him, with ample 
apology from Lord Melbourne. When the pensions 
and other things were considered, the Prime Minister 
advised Her Majesty to grant all the Fitzclarences the 
same amounts they had enjoyed during their father's 
life, for, he said, " It would be kind, it would be 
generous, and it would be conclusive. No further 
demand could be made." 

As for the Dowager Queen, Victoria showed her 
every attention and affection, begging her to take from 
Windsor anything that she wished for. On the first 
occasion that Queen Adelaide visited her at the Castle 
she desired that she would choose which bedroom she 
would like to occupy; whereupon the old Queen 
naturally asked to have that in which she had slept 
when King William was alive. It had already been 
dedicated to the young Queen's use, but she willingly 
gave it up, forbidding anyone to let Queen Adelaide 
know that she was turning out for her. Thus every- 
one began to feel a certain confidence in at least the 
good disposition of the Queen, and those who stood to 
lose or gain began to breathe more freely. 

It was a queer swinging of the pendulum, for the 
Duchess of Kent, who ought to have attained the 
height of her ambition and happiness, was at this time 
one of the most disappointed and miserable of women, 
while those who feared to lose all found themselves 
assured in their positions for the rest of their lives. 
Madame de Lieven, so noted for her love of political 
intrigue, was granted an audience by the Queen at the 
end of July, 1837, and found that cautious young lady 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 169 

disinclined to talk of anything but commonplaces, 
being probably afraid of committing herself. Victoria 
had, in fact, been warned by Leopold to beware of the 
wily Frenchwoman. Madame de Lieven's interview 
with the Duchess of Kent was, however, of a much 
more intimate character, and before she left she was 
doing her best to condole with that august lady for 
being the mother of a Queen for having, in fact, 
accomplished her desire, and having nothing left for 
which to live. 

The poor Duchess complained that, though her 
daughter showed her every attention and kindness, she 
had rendered herself absolutely independent of that 
mother who had so long (and so unwisely) guided 
every moment of her days and nights, so that the 
Duchess felt abjectly insignificant. She also still felt 
bitterly mortified at the way in which Conroy had been 
dismissed. Her words to Madame de Lieven were, 
"There is no longer any future for me; there is no 
longer anything." 

She felt that this child, who for eighteen years had 
been almost the only thing she lived for, was now lost 
to her. Poor woman! if only she had understood 
human nature a little better she would have had a less 
royal time over her child in the past and a greater 
influence in the present. Madame de Lieven urged 
the idea of reflected glory upon her; told her that she 
ought to be the happiest of human beings in seeing the 
elevation of her child, in watching her success, in 
appreciating the praise and admiration which were 
lavished upon her ; but the Duchess only " shook her 



170 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

head with a melancholy smile," saying that that would 
not fill her life ; that the accomplishment of her wishes 
only made her unhappy and forlorn. In actual fact 
the Duchess was an ambitious woman, and the intrigu- 
ing at Kensington had not been a supposition, but a 
fact. A month after Queen Victoria's accession 
Leopold, writing to her of a person who loved intrigue, 
added, "Your life amongst intriguers and tormented 
by intrigues has given you an experience on this im- 
portant subject, which you will do well not to lose sight 
of, as it will unfortunately often reproduce itself 
though the aims and methods may not be the same." 
The Duchess had thought to see herself filling the 
great post of Regent over a great kingdom, wielding 
the power, if not the sceptre, of a monarch ; and when 
this dream passed she fully expected to point the guid- 
ing finger for her daughter, to be present at State 
discussions, to be consulted in all difficulties; indeed, 
to continue to be the ruling influence in Victoria's life, 
and through her in England. She could not realise 
that her own independent attitude had taught her child 
the same quality, for the Queen wrote in her journal 
on June 2oth that she saw Lord Melbourne at nine 
o'clock, " and, of course, quite alone, as I shall always 
do all my Ministers." It was well for Victoria that 
she put her foot down so firmly, even though so cruelly, 
at the outset, for otherwise it would have been inevit- 
able that she would have been the unhappy one. 

The Duchess's position certainly did not justify 
Brougham's spiteful assertion in the House some little 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 171 

time later; indeed, it gives the lie to it. That states- 
man in this speech started the dislike which for a long 
time the Queen felt for him. He was then still sitting 
on the Ministerial side, and listened to the proposition 
that the Duchess of Kent should receive a grant of 
^30,000 a year, with a not unusual desire to make 
trouble. In an outrageous speech he denounced as 
extravagant such a grant, and spoke of the Duchess 
as the " Queen-Mother." There were many who felt 
this to be a veiled attack on the Duchess's probable 
influence over the Queen, and who resented it; but 
Melbourne punished Brougham more astutely by 
appearing to believe that he had simply made an error. 
" Mother of the Queen," he ejaculated. Brougham 
loved a quarrel, and turned upon Melbourne at once. 
" I admit my noble friend is right. On a point of this 
sort I humble myself before my noble friend. I have 
no courtier-like cultivation. I am rude of speech. 
The tongue of my noble friend is so well hung and so 
well attuned to courtly airs, that I cannot compete with 
him for the prize which he is now so eagerly struggling 
to win. Not being given to glozing and flattery, I may 
say that the Duchess of Kent (whether to be called the 
Queen-Mother or the Mother of the Queen) is nearly 
connected with the Throne; and a plain man like 
myself, having no motive but to do my duty, may be 
permitted to surmise that any additional provision for 
her might possibly come from the Civil List, which 
you have so lavishly voted." 

Melbourne replied by pointing out the difference 



172 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

between a Queen Dowager and a Princess who had 
never sat on the Throne, and complimented Brougham 
on his skill in " egregious flattery." 

In spite of his dirt and his carelessness about dress 
" He wears a black stock or collar, and it is so wide 
that you see a dirty coloured handkerchief under, 
tied tight round his neck. You never saw such an 
object, or anything half so dirty" Brougham was one 
of the most remarkably intellectual men of his day. 
We have heard accounts of how over-prolific writers 
dictate three stories at once to three different type- 
writers all in the same room; and really Brougham 
seems to have had some such capacity. If he did not 
do about six things at once, he did them in such rapid 
succession that it makes one's brain whirl to think of 
it. He worked ceaselessly from 9 a.m. to i a.m., and 
seemed quite fresh at the end of that time; a day's 
work might include going through the details of a 
Chancery suit, writing a philosophical or mathematical 
treatise, correcting articles for the " Library of Useful 
Knowledge," and preparing a great speech for the 
House of Lords. Yet he was so intemperate in his 
speech, so ready with invective, so inconstant in his 
views, that he became a terror to the House, and, 
indeed, seemed constantly on the border-line of in- 
sanity. One writer said he was like a wasp, for ever 
buzzing and stinging the Government, animated to 
sting by spite and malice. Creevy spoke of him as the 
Archfiend, Old Wicked-Shifts, and Beelzebub; and 
when he had a new carnage with, on the panel, a 
coronet surmounting a large B, Sydney Smith 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 173 

remarked, " There goes a carriage with a bee outside 
and a wasp inside." 

In 1838, when he knew that he would no longer 
have the Great Seal as Lord Chancellor, someone in 
Paris asked him who were the Queen's Ministers. 
" Really," he replied, " I do not know; I cannot recall 
the names of more than three or four." Yet there was 
a very tender spot in his heart, which made him remark 
upon being introduced to a beautiful young girl, " I 
don't know what to say to these young things ; I feel 
like the old Devil talking to an angel." Brougham, 
too, adored his daughter, who only lived nineteen years, 
dying at Cannes after a life of illness. He built the 
Villa Eleanor for her at Cannes, and after her death 
her bedroom, always called Eleanor's room, was kept 
unaltered during Brougham's life. He had Eleanor's 
body brought to England and buried in the graveyard 
of Lincoln's Inn Fields, probably the only woman ever 
buried there. He became very unpopular with the 
Court after Victoria's marriage by speaking of her as 
Albertina, and never losing an opportunity of saying 
something disrespectful. One night he behaved so 
badly at a Court function that he was totally ignored 
for a long time after. Then one day Her Majesty 
asked the Chancellor why it was that Lord Brougham 
never appeared, and this was looked upon as the olive- 
branch, which Brougham gladly recognised, sending 
both to the Queen and to Prince Albert one of his 
books, which Victoria acknowledged by sending him 
an autograph letter of thanks, thought by everyone a 
great honour. 



174 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

His very soul craved for appreciation and applause, 
and in October, 1839, he took a queer way of finding 
out what the world would say if he were no more. He, 
Leader (the member for Westminster), and Robert 
Shaf to went in a hackney carriage from Brougham Hall 
to see some ruins in the district. An accident of some 
sort happened, and this suggested to Brougham the 
practical joke of reporting his own death. A letter 
supposed to have been written by Shafto was received 
by Alfred Montgomery, a great favourite with 
Brougham, detailing the expedition, saying that the 
splinter bar broke, all were thrown out, Brougham was 
kicked on the head, and the carriage turned over on 
him, killing him on the spot. Montgomery rushed to 
Gore House, before Lady Blessington had sat down 
to breakfast, with the news, and by the afternoon a 
thousand rumours were afloat. Brougham was 
mourned by all. Sheil hurried from the Athenaeum 
Club on Monday evening to pen a magniloquent 
obituary, which appeared in the next day's Morning 
Chronicle. "Windsor Castle shook with glee, and 
Lord Holland began to think he should venture to 
speak again in the Lords. For the first time for five 
years all the world talked for a whole day about 
Brougham's virtues, and there was wondrous forgive- 
ness of injuries in the whole metropolis." On Monday 
a letter by him, written on Sunday, was received at the 
Colonial Office, and soon the hoax became known. At 
first Brougham denied being the author of the grim 
jest, scared, perhaps, by the anger of those who had 
wept over his death. He actually challenged his old 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 175 

friend Sir Arthur Paget for accusing him of the deed; 
and on November 23rd we have the amusing scene of 
the Duke of Cambridge, after the Queen had with- 
drawn from a Council, running round the room after 
Brougham, shouting at the top of his voice : 

" By God, Brougham, you did it ! By God, you 
wrote the letter yourself ! " 

It was in relation to this and to Brougham's desire 
for political promotion that Henry Reeve said : 
" Brougham is less manageable than usual; for though 
he has had a resurrection, he may and must despair of 



an ascension." 



On an earlier occasion Brougham scored neatly off 
another of the Royal Dukes. The Duke of Gloucester 
was conversing with him on the burning topic of the 
Reform Bill, and grew so warm in the argument that 
at length he observed hastily that the Chancellor was 
very near a fool. Brougham readily replied that he 
could not think of contradicting the Duke, as he fully 
saw the force of His Royal Highness's 'position. 

Lord John Russell, the Home Secretary, was of a 
very different type. Theodore Hook first gave him the 
nickname of " the Widow's Mite," as he was very 
small, and had married the widow of Lord Ribblesdale, 
herself also of small size. Creevy talks of meeting 
them somewhere : " In came the little things, as merry- 
looking as they well could be, but really much more 
calculated, from their size, to show off on a chimney- 
piece than to mix and be trod upon in company." But 
those who looked at John Russell from a different 
aspect found him equal to every occasion, strong in 



176 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

principle, clear in his ideas, bold and straightforward 
in his disposition, and afraid of no one. 

Not the least noteworthy of the men who influenced 
politics in the early part of the Queen's reign was Sir 
Robert Peel, who declared at the beginning of her 
first Parliament that if the Government tried to carry 
through any further measures of reform he would 
resist them to the utmost. Like Melbourne, he was not 
a whole-hearted party man, and when in power dis- 
appointed everyone by trying to steer a middle course. 
He was shy, reserved, cautious, and unable to be really 
decisive; also by his lack of cordial manners he was 
unfortunate enough to accentuate in the Queen's mind 
every prejudice she held against the Tories, for, unlike 
Melbourne, he had no idea of how to please a woman. 

Among the Queen's women were one or two worthy 
of mention, chief of whom was the First Lady of the 
Bedchamber, the Duchess of Sutherland. In spite of 
the want of punctuality, she was a most attractive 
woman, giving an impression of something very 
plenteous and sunny in her appearance. She was tall, 
large, and carried herself with a good-natured stateli- 
ness ; her hair was blond, her features large and well- 
chiselled, her smile beaming, and benevolence in every 
look and word. In 1853 Henry Reeve said of her: 
" In our time there has been nobody who continues to 
surround herself with a sort of fictitious dignity like 
the Duchess of Sutherland. She is not clever, and in 
anyone else her affectations might be laughed at. But 
she is neither worldly nor ambitious; is very good- 
natured, and has a thoroughly kindly heart; all of 




HARRIET, DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND. 



176 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

principle, clear in his ideas, bold and straightforward 
in his disposition, and afraid of no one. 

Not the least noteworthy of the men who influenced 
politics in the early part of the Queen's reign was Sir 
Robert Peel, who declared at the beginning of her 
first Parliament that if the Government tried to carry 
through any further measures of reform he would 
resist them to the utmost. Like Melbourne, he was not 
a whole-hearted party man, and when in power dis- 
appointed everyone by trying to steer a middle course. 
He was shy, reserved, cautious, and unable to be really 
decisive; also by his lack of cordial manners he was 
unfortunate enough to accentuate in the Queen's mind 
every prejudice she held against the Tories, for, unlike 
Melbourne, he had no idea of how to please a woman. 

Among the Queen's women were one or two worthy 
of mention, chief of whom was the First Lady of the 
Bedchamber, the Duchess of Sutherland. In spite of 
the want of punctuality, she was a most attractive 
woman, giving an impression of something very 
plenteous and sunny in her appearance. She was tall, 
large, and carried herself with a good-natured stateli- 
ness ; her hair was blond, her features large and well- 
chiselled, her smile beaming, and benevolence in every 
look and word. In 1853 Henry Reeve said of her: 
" In our time there has been nobody who continues to 
surround herself with a sort of fictitious dignity like 
the Duchess of Sutherland. She is not clever, and in 
anyone else her affectations might be laughed at. But 
she is neither worldly nor ambitious; is very good- 
natured, and has a thoroughly kindly heart; all of 




HARRIET, DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND. 



QUEEN^ VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 177 

which, added to her beauty and high character, gives 
her an influence in society far beyond what wealth and 
rank could claim for her." 

It is a pity that the Marchioness of Tavistock, later 
Duchess of Bedford, whom Her Majesty had known 
many years, had not rather more than she had of Lady 
Sutherland's kindliness; she might then have saved 
the Queen from one of the most painful episodes in 
her life. One writer called her a gaby, modifying it, 
however, by saying that she was all truth and daylight ; 
and Lady Cardigan speaks of the charming recollec- 
tion she could conjure up of her, saying that it was at 
her house that she heard Tom Moore sing and play his 
Irish melodies. Lady Tavistock was driving one Sun- 
day in the carriage which followed the Queen, when the 
latter, being cold, got out to walk, and, of course, all 
the ladies had to do the same. It had been raining, 
and presumably Victoria was properly shod for the 
occasion ; Lady Tavistock was not, however, and soon 
her shoes and stockings were wet through and covered 
with mud. When at last they got back to the Castle 
the shivering Lady Tavistock found that her maid was 
out, the cupboards were all locked up, and there was 
nothing to do but to go to bed until she could get 
dry stockings ! 

The Queen was of quick temper and wilful. Her 
half-sister once wrote : " I was much amused at your 
tracing the quickness of our tempers in the female line 
up to Grandmamma (the Dowager Duchess of Saxe- 
Coburg-Saalfeld), but I must own that you are quite 
right." Thus she never forgot that she was the Queen, 

N 



178 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and went her own way irrespective of other people. 
Palmerston said in conversation that any Minister 
who had to deal with her (the Queen) would soon find 
out that she was no ordinary person; and on a lady 
giving the credit to the Duchess of Kent, he added that 
Her Majesty had an understanding of her own which 
could have been made by no one. "A resolute little 
tit," one diarist of the time dubbed her. 

Once the first freshness of being Queen was dulled, 
Victoria set herself to enjoy life as much as possible. 
Theatres, the opera, balls, and parties were the order 
of the evening. She rode every day, generally accom- 
panied by the Duchess of Kent, and often with Mel- 
bourne on one side of her and Lord Palmerston on the 
other. Her usual riding habit was of dark green 
cloth, and she wore a black beaver hat without veil or 
trimming. Once when riding, and having sixteen 
people in her train, she passed over Battersea Bridge, 
the toll-taker counted the party and demanded the toll 
from the groom who brought up the rear. The man 
had no money, but, taken by surprise, and perhaps un- 
aware that the Monarch had a " free pass " over the 
roads of the kingdom, he parted with a silk handker- 
chief as a pledge of future payment. 

Queen Victoria gave a grand concert at Buckingham 
Palace in honour of her mother's birthday on the i;th 
of August, the Court going out of mourning for the 
day a concert made memorable by the fact that all the 
men even the aged Duke of Sussex were required 
to stand, as well as the Ladies of the Household, while 
the ladies who were guests occupied chairs. This 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 179 

somewhat inhospitable arrangement seems to have 
made a great impression, for I have come across 
mention of it in various places. 

The Queen opened the Victoria Gate of Hyde Park, 
entertained her uncle, King Leopold, and his wife at 
Windsor in September, sat for her portrait being, it 
is said, a most patient sitter and appointed Sir David 
Wilkie as Painter in Ordinary. When Hayter was 
painting her he had done much to the face, but had 
not started upon the arms, and she asked him how he 
would place her hands. :( Just take them and pose 
them as you think," she said. With some diffidence 
the painter did as she wished. She turned to the lady 
near her, saying, " How strange ! I have often thought 
how I would place the hands if I were painting the 
portrait of a Queen, and it was exactly in this 
position." 

A queer little speech, which shows how thoroughly 
the Princess had soaked her mind in the anticipation 
of being Queen. 

The Times, which Lord Grey once called the most 
infamous of all papers, published a curious description 
of a portrait of Queen Victoria which was painted in 
1838 by Parris. The writer went into rhapsodies over 
it, and concluded by remarking that " the bosom had 
been most delicately handled, and had been brought 
out by the artist in admirable rotundity, who had 
imparted full relief to it." Lord Palmerston used to 
say that when Her Majesty was once asked how she 
would like to be painted, she replied, " In my Dalmatic 
robe. Lord Melbourne thinks that I look best in that." 

N 2 



180 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

When she went to the Royal Academy for the second 
time that year (after her accession), C. R. Leslie says 
that she appeared towards her mother the same affec- 
tionate little girl as hitherto, calling her " Mamma." 

On her return to town from Windsor in the autumn 
there were many functions to attend, the first and most 
wonderful being the banquet given in her honour on 
November Qth at Guildhall. Books have been written 
on this ceremony, and amusing incidents are not want- 
ing to make it interesting. The streets were avenues 
of green boughs and flags as the Queen drove through 
them, followed by a train of two hundred carriages. 
On this occasion Her Majesty sat alone in her State 
carriage, her mother occupying one which preceded 
her. 

The new Lord Mayor (Alderman Cowan) and the 
Aldermen met the Queen outside Temple Bar, near 
Child's Bank. All the civic magnates were riding, and 
for this purpose had hired horses from the Artillery 
Barracks at Woolwich, each horse being brought up by 
its usual rider, who was to act as attendant squire to 
the Alderman who temporarily became its master. 

It was not an easy thing for gentlemen unaccustomed 
to the saddle to mount on horseback; however, with 
much care and pains bestowed by the troopers, the 
Aldermen were at last seated and formed into proces- 
sion. One of the daily journals added to its account 
of the proceedings : " We believe only one fell off, and 
that accident happened through a laudable desire to 
perform an act of obeisance to a fair lady at a window. 
The worthy Alderman fell flat upon the ground, and 
his horse walked over him. Since the days of John 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S CIRCLE 181 

Gilpin no feat of a citizen of London on horseback has 
excited so much masculine laughter and feminine sym- 
pathy. A general cry was raised, the procession 
stopped, and several military officers and brother cor- 
porators rushed to the assistance of the fallen cavalier, 
who had sustained but little injury, and he was 
hoisted into the saddle amidst general cheers and 
laughter." 

It is needless to tell of the display at Guildhall of 
the 400,000 worth of plate, gold dishes, coffee-cups 
of gold with handles of lapis lazuli, a candelabra 
formed of a thousand ounces of gold, and a thousand 
other extravagances. It reads like an Eastern story. 
The banquet itself lasted three hours, while the whole 
function took from two in the afternoon until past nine 
at night. The Queen was gorgeous in pink satin, gold 
and silver, pearls and diamonds ; and the Queen of the 
City was equally gorgeous, though perhaps not so 
youthful, in green velvet, white satin, gold fringe, 
Brussels lace, opals, and diamonds. On the return 
journey the Queen went as she had come, a stately 
little figure alone in an enormous carriage. 

At this period she delighted in her State amuse- 
ments, and it is pleasant to think that for once fate 
allowed a young thing to go through all these experi- 
ences just at the right age, just when a romantic, colour- 
loving girl could really appreciate pomp and ceremony, 
could bow and smile, and listen with pleasure to cheers 
and applause, without seeing the things that lay 
behind. 

The Queen's next excitement was the opening of 
Parliament, which she did with all the grace that had 



182 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

attached to her from the first, making people like 
Fanny Kemble go into ecstasies over her face, "not 
handsome, but very pretty," her clear soft eyes, her 
dignity, her beautifully moulded hands and arms, her 
exquisite voice, &c. Well, young queens are not very 
plentiful, so it is good to make much of them when 
they are found ; only to-day we should feel ashamed 
to be so delighted with ordinary composure and good- 
breeding; we should be much more likely to condemn 
unsparingly the lack of them. But then the standard 
of womanly excellence of those days and of these 
have little relationship to each other. 

There were theatres to visit, with their Royal boxes 
fitted up and decorated for the young Sovereign, and 
at that time the King's Theatre became Her Majesty's 
by her command. This eventful year drew to its close 
with the Christmas festivities spent at Windsor. 



CHAPTER VIII 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S PRIME MINISTER 

" Good Monarchs we've had whom we think on with pride, 

Who wisely e'er filled their high station, 
But now we've a woman, Heaven bless her ! beside 

She's a child of our noble nation. 
Victoria the First is of virtue the gem, 

May sorrow ne'er seek to oppress her, 
Then, fill up your goblets once more to the brim, 
Long life to the Queen, God bless her ! " 

Anon. 

" Nobody is more abused by bad people than Melbourne 
and nobody is more forgiving. ' ' Queen Victoria. 

FROM the beginning of the reign Melbourne had 
been in constant attendance on his Queen, exacting 
from her an assiduity in State matters which she was 
very ready to give, and taking no notice of the gos- 
sipers' innuendoes which filled the social atmosphere. 
Nothing startling had happened, but Court matters 
had taken a turn which meant a slow drifting into 
trouble of various kinds. 

There is no doubt at all that Victoria went heart 
and soul with the Whigs. She was not a Radical, but 



184 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

she was also not a Tory. Though in later years she 
was accused of neglecting Ireland, at that time she 
was keen to deal justly with that part of her kingdom. 
She was interested in foreign affairs, and she did her 
successful utmost to understand the affairs of England. 
The fears of the Anti-Catholics had not been verified, 
though those people seemed to take little comfort in 
the fact; Victoria was not influenced by her foreign 
surrounders; she had not put Sir John Conroy into 
a high place of honour; nor had Lord Durham, the 
leader of the Radicals, become Master of the House- 
hold in place of that he was invested with the dignity 
of a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable 
Order of the Garter, and appointed Governor of 
Canada, while Lady Durham became one of the 
Queen's ladies. 

But Queen Victoria introduced certain new customs 
into her social life which caused considerable offence. 
For instance, she gave precedence to the Diplomatic 
Corps, and so raised much anger among the aristo- 
cracy, who opposed the innovation and revenged them- 
selves for it whenever and wherever they got the 
opportunity, which frequently gave rise to very dis- 
agreeable incidents. This is quite understandable, for 
if the Queen always had Melbourne on her left and 
Blilow or some other foreigner on her right, the English 
Dukes and other men of rank had no chance of being 
distinguished by her favours. On the other hand, the 
Queen saw the Englishmen often, and it must have 
been more amusing for her to talk with the strangers. 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 185 

The Opposition felt gradually obliged to divest itself 
of the plans it had made for the new reign, and the 
Lords, who had assumed that King William was, with- 
out his will, in the hands of a faction from whose 
bondage he could not release himself, and had strongly 
hoped that Victoria would range herself on their side, 
had also to realise that they would receive no special 
support from the Crown. Indeed, a gulf of dislike 
was being formed with the Government and the Queen 
on one side, and the Opposition and the House of 
Lords on the other. As early as the autumn of 1837, 
in their spleen the latter started foolish stories about 
the Queen and Melbourne. The more thoughtless 
would not believe in the real position of affairs, and 
had, forsooth ! to whisper that at last Melbourne was 
showing his ambition, and that it was no mere tutorial 
care that he was giving to Her Majesty. The Countess 
Grey wrote in the October following Victoria's acces- 
sion, " I hope you are amused at the report of Lord 
Melbourne being likely to marry the Queen. For my 
part I have no objection. I am inclined to be very 
loyal and fond of her ; she seems to be so considerate 
and good-natured." Princess Lieven, too, made in a 
letter the very complacent remark about Melbourne's 
association with the Queen, " I for myself cannot help 
imagining that she must be going to marry him. It is 
all, however, according to rule, and I find <it both 
proper and in his own interest that Lord Melbourne 
should keep himself absolutely master of the situa- 
tion." It was so absurd an idea that even if the Queen 



186 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had heard of it she could not have let it trouble her. 
A day or so before Princess Lieven's letter had been 
written, Victoria had been talking in most intimate 
fashion to Lady Cowper (Melbourne's sister), saying 
to her : " He eats too much, and I often tell him so. 
Indeed, I do so myself, and my doctor has ordered 
me not to eat luncheon any more." " And does your 
Majesty quite obey him ? " asked Lady Cowoer. " Why 
yes, I think I do, for I only eat a little broth." 

Creevy comments upon this in a letter, " Now, I 
think a little Queen taking care of a Prime Minister's 
stomach, he being nearly sixty, is everything one could 
wish ! If only the Tory press could get hold of this 
fact what fun they would make of it." It would 
indeed have been a much better subject than that 
Melbourne was anxious to marry his Sovereign. I 
must quote a little further from this sprightly diarist, 
for he was on the spot, and gives us an account 
of the Queen which is frank, and therefore not ani- 
mated by the servile desire to praise in spite of every- 
thing. He went to dine with Her Majesty when she 
made her visit to the Pavilion at Brighton, and having 
been told that he was to sit on the Duchess of Kent's 
right hand, he said of it later, " Oh, what a fright I 
was in about my right ear," which, however, being 
deaf, should not have troubled him, as he would 
naturally present his left ear to the Duchess. His 
account continued : 

" Here comes the Queen, the Duchess of Kent the 
least little bit in the world behind her, all her ladies 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 187 

in a row still more behind; Lord Conyngham and 
Cavendish on each flank of the Queen. . . . She was 
told by Lord Conyngham that I had not been pre- 
sented, upon which a scene took place that to me was 
truly distressing. The poor little thing could not get 
her glove off. I never was so annoyed in my life ; yet 
what could I do ? But she blushed and laughed and 
pulled till the thing was done, and I kissed her hand. 
. . . Then to dinner. . . . The Duchess of Kent was 
agreeable and chatty, and she said, ' Shall we drink 
some wine ? ' My eyes, however, all the while were 
fixed on Vic. To mitigate the harshness of any criti- 
cism I may pronounce upon her manners, let me 
express my conviction that she and her mother are 
one. I never saw a more pretty or natural devotion 
than she shows to her mother in everything, and I 
reckon this as by far the most amiable, as well as 
valuable, disposition to start with in the fearful struggle 
she has in life before her. Now for her appearance, 
but all in the strictest confidence. A more homely 
little thing you never beheld, when she is at her ease, 
and she is evidently dying to be always more so. She 
laughs in real earnest, opening her mouth. as wide as 
it can go, showing not very pretty gums. . . . She eats 
quite as heartily as she laughs, I think I may say she 
gobbles. . . . She blushes and laughs every instant in 
so natural a way as to disarm anybody. Her voice is 
perfect, so is the expression of her face, when she 
means to say or do a pretty thing." 

One would like to know the sentiments of the 



188 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

passages which have been left out of this account by 
the editor of the book; things a little more plainly 
spoken than those left in, which are plain enough 
perhaps. That the Queen loved a hearty laugh is well 
known, and from some current print I have copied this 
vulgar criticism upon her : " The extraordinary funny 
laugh of the little lady is amusing enough. Her smile 
is proverbially beautiful; but there is no very great 
necessity for such a peculiar display of the ivories, 
albeit they are unquestionably excellent." Her 
Majesty is said to have eaten ungracefully all her life. 
I remember years ago hearing a pert daughter reprove 
her father for picking a bone. He turned calm eyes 
upon her as he replied, " It is well known that the. 
Queen always picks bones at table ; I like doing it and 
may surely follow the fashion set by Her Majesty." 
A lady diarist of the day notes that during one of her 
tours in the Midlands the Princess was given asparagus, 
and insisted upon eating it in her own way, "which 
was not a very pretty one," and it was some time before 
she would give heed to the Duchess's repeated 
remonstrances. 

A little later the genial letter writer who gave so 
frank a description of the greatest lady in the land, 
added to an epistle, " Alas ! tho 5 last not least, in truth 
little Vic. and her mother are not one, tho } Melbourne 
knows of no other cause of this disunion than Conroy, 
whom the Duchess of Kent sees still almost daily, and 
for a long time together." 

There was one matter which troubled the Queen 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 189 

from the day she began to reign, and that was the need 
of money, for the Civil List could not be arranged 
until Parliament met in November. Messrs. Coutts, 
however, came to the rescue, with a desire that she 
would draw upon them for all that she needed. Yet 
at that time neither she nor anyone else knew what 
would be the amount of her income. It was felt 
generally by the Ministers that it would be better to 
show confidence in their Sovereign than to be niggardly 
in the allowance made, as the provision of a good 
income would take away all excuse in future for the 
contracting of Royal debt. So the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. Spring-Rice, who when he 
first came to Court was said to see everything en couleur 
de rose, had to bear the burden of this. Melbourne 
begged him to "come prepared to act boldly and 
liberally, and by no means to fiddle upon small points 
and about petty salaries." 

Spring-Rice loyally did as he was advised, and made 
himself still more unpopular than he had hitherto been. 
The Economists, the Radicals, and the Opposition a 
coalition which was much more successful three or four 
years later when asked to grant an income to Prince 
Albert railed alike at the extravagance ; for trade and 
agriculture were in a state of depression, and an expen- 
sive scheme of Poor Law was being considered with 
the hope that it might do something to relieve the worst 
poverty. The newspapers taunted and upbraided 
Spring-Rice to their mischievous content, and made 
little verses upon him. 



190 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

" Your name, Spring-Rice, is not the thing, 

To call you so is flummery, 
For how can that belong to Spring 
Whose treatment should be summery? " 

was one comment. A second which I have come across 
is more spiteful : " Mr. Spring-Rice is a smart, little, 
flat-catching thimble-rigger, full of small tricks and 
deceptions. Yet whenever he attempts to practise on 
a large scale he invariably throws crabs/' I wonder 
whether Spring-Rice's optimism survived all the 
attacks made upon him during his political career. 

In spite of the grumbling the Civil List was quickly 
pushed through, and the Royal maiden found herself 
the possessor of in addition to the Duchies of Lan- 
caster and Cornwall a total annuity of 385,000 a 
year, being 10,000 more than the net income granted 
to William IV. This large sum was divided in the 
following way. Privy Purse, 60,000; Household 
salaries, 131,260; Household expenses, 172,500; 
Royal Bounty, 13,200; and unappropriated, 8,040. 
With this the Queen was very content, and returned 
thanks to Parliament in person for what it had done. 
Then she did a wonderful thing, for by the autumn of 
the following year she had transferred to her father's 
creditors out of her privy purse nearly 50,000. This 
was a noble thing to do, indeed, seemingly almost 
impossible, when one remembers the family from 
which she had sprung one King after another, to say 
nothing of the Princes, dying deeply in debt, and con- 
sidering it but a normal condition and also remember- 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 191 

ing the fascination which the spending of money on 
personal matters must have had for a girl hitherto 
almost deprived of money. 

This income, however, gave new soreness to those 
who were smarting already, and the better sort, being 
debarred from criticising their Queen too openly, turned 
upon Lord Melbourne, who never troubled to read 
strictures upon himself, and who took such criticism, 
when he did hear it, with a smile. From the day of 
Victoria's accession until the day that he went out of 
office, Melbourne was the favourite object of vilifica- 
tion. The Court was said to be, under his influence, 
such a hot-bed of Whiggism " that a Conservative cat 
was not so much as permitted to mew in the precincts 
of the Palace," and it began to be hinted that the 
Queen might remember that she was Queen over 
England and not over a party. The first form of 
attack was directed against Melbourne's constant asso- 
ciation with her; he was accused of pleasure-seeking, 
of idleness, and of irresponsibility. Queen Victoria, 
who was most conscientious about business matters, 
seems to have shortened her stay at Brighton on his 
account, for the Court Journal announced : " Her 
Majesty arrived at Buckingham Palace from Brighton, 
the distance from the latter place being too far for 
Lord Melbourne," which meant, of course, for her to 
see him each day. Upon this another journal asked : 

" Why will the Queen at Brighton make 

So very, very short a stay? 
Solely, of course, for Sponge's sake, 
Who cannot dine there every day." 




192 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Sponge Melbourne " was a favourite form of 
for him in the satiric papers. 

However, the real fury did not burst around the 
Throne until some time after the Queen's coronation, 
and it became a veritable hurricane after the troubles 
of 1839. Meanwhile Melbourne did his best, not only 
to guide Her Majesty and to educate her in statecraft, 
but to arrange the affairs of the realm as far as he 
could in the face of virulent opposition. There was 
really no justification for the comment made by The 
Times early in 1838 that Melbourne "was a mere 
dangler after the frivolous courtesies of the ball room 
and boudoir." 

In a conversation with her Prime Minister the Queen 
once told him that the first thing which had convinced 
her that he was worthy of her confidence was his con- 
duct in the disputes at Kensington the year before 
concerning her suggested allowance. Then, though 
he knew that the King was near his end, and that he 
was offending the Duchess, who might soon be the 
most important person in the kingdom, he consistently 
took the King's part, in face of that King's disfavour. 
This the then silent but observant young Princess 
regarded as a proof of his honesty and determination 
to do what was right, and it is evident that she herself 
sided with the King on that occasion. Indeed, from 
the affection with which she always afterwards spoke 
of her uncle, it can hardly be doubted that she was 
with him in many of the quarrels which occurred. 
Greville says that when King William made that fierce 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 198 

attack on her mother at the Windsor banquet, and 
expressed his earnest hope that he might live to see 
the majority of his niece, " Victoria must have inwardly 
rejoiced at the expression of sentiments so accordant 
with her own." But this is going too far, for though 
it may have been true concerning her concurrence with 
the King's hope, it is most likely that in such a scene 
the girl's feelings were those of terror, regret, and a 
passionate sympathy with her insulted mother. After- 
wards that particular sentiment may have appealed to 
her, but scarcely at the time. 

Many accounts are given by contemporary writers 
as to how the Queen's evenings were spent in the first 
years of her reign, and they all tally with regard to 
the general details. Her semi-state entry into the 
drawing-room just before the announcement of dinner 
seems always to have commenced the evening. She 
would then shake hands with the women and bow to 
the men, speaking a few words to everyone. At the 
table Melbourne, when present, always sat on her left 
hand, and a foreign ambassador or, failing any such, 
the highest in rank present among the English, on the 
other. The men only stayed a quarter of an hour in 
the dining-room after the Queen rose, and were then 
expected in the drawing-room, where she always stood 
until they appeared. Then the Duchess of Kent 
would be settled at a whist table, and the Queen would 
marshal the other guests about a round table Mel- 
bourne, the careless and easy, sitting bolt upright and 
keeping a guard upon his tongue, still at her left hand. 

o 



194 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

There they all remained talking small talk until the 
band had finished its music, and the evening was at 
an end at about half-past eleven. How a man of the 
world like Melbourne could put up with that night 
after night it is difficult to say, for he might have been 
in any one of half a dozen other places where there 
was real conversation going on, and where he could 
have been at his ease. 

Among Melbourne's curious failings was a habit 
of talking to himself, a habit which grew with his years. 
He was once seen coming out of Brooks's, say- 
ing emphatically, though unaccompanied by anyone, 
" Til be damned if I do it for you, my Lord." 
One day Lord Hardwicke was writing in the library 
of the House of Lords, when Melbourne entered 
straight from a debate on the Non-Intrusion question 
in Scotland. The Prime Minister threw himself into 
a chair saying, " God bless me ! What's to be done 
now? I had only just settled that confounded Irish 
Church question, when earth yawns, and here comes 
up a devilish worse one about the Scotch Church." 

This peculiarity he seems to have successfully 
dropped when in the presence of Queen Victoria, even 
though he spent about six hours out of the twenty-four 
in her society. But there can be no doubt that he 
had a feeling of paternal affection for his young 
Sovereign, which led him to give up much for her sake. 
Some malicious writer tried to make a joke with a 
sting in it upon the Prime Minister and his constant 
attendance upon Victoria, heading it " Royal Quip." 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 195 

It ran as follows : " Some days ago the dinner- 
seeking Premier, on a drawing-room lounge, was en- 
deavouring to render himself as amiable as possible 
to his Royal Mistress. Among other questions she 
was asked whether or not she had read Lady Blessing- 
ton's last charming work, ' The Idler in Italy.' Her 
reply was in the negative ; ' I know not/ archly con- 
tinued our youthful Sovereign, 'what may have been 
the exploits of the Idler in Italy, but I am convinced 
that the Idler at Home is a great bore/ Mel. instantly 
took leave of Her Majesty. We note, however, that 
matters have since been satisfactorily arranged, seeing 
that the Premier had his feet under the Royal mahog- 
any on Wednesday last." 

As for the Coronation, we have heard so much 
during late years of these celebrations that there is no 
need to enter into any great detail about it, but it may 
be mentioned that the event formed a good excuse 
for contention between the two political parties, and 
others found it a good peg on which to hang their 
scorn or their platitudes. The cry of the Banquet was 
raised, the Government having decided that as that 
picturesque but mediaeval custom had been dropped 
at the preceding Coronation it should not be revived. 
This was, of course, sufficient to make the Tories call 
for one, and to raise a cry of false economy and mean- 
ness. The Duke of Buckingham wrote, " The Minis- 
ters turned a deaf ear to all representations either of 
right or of policy, and the British Empire was con- 

o 2 



196 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

demned to stand in the eyes of foreigners as too poor 
to crown her monarch with the state which, when much 
poorer, the nation had willingly afforded." 

Yet now, seventy-three years later, we have just 
been reading of the amusement caused in foreign 
circles about the way in which we cling to old customs 
in our coronations. And earlier, when William IV. was 
crowned The Times published a curious leader in which 
it more than justified the curtailment of the various 
functions. The writer of the article spoke of the 
quackeries played off in the course of the ceremony, 
" revoltingly compounded of the worst dregs of Popery 
and feudalism/' and continued, "What a fuss with 
palls, and ingots, and spurs, and swords, and oil for 
anointing (greasing) their Sacred Majesties, and whip- 
ping off and on of mantles and the rest of it." The 
writer closed with an expression of the hope that when 
a leisure hour should arrive the entire character of the 
solemnity should be re-cast. It may well be wondered 
how far the views of The Times of to-day agree with 
those it held in that yester-year ! 

The walking procession of all the Estates of the 
Realm was also dispensed with, and for the last time 
the Queen's Barge-master with forty-eight watermen 
preceded twelve of the Royal carriages. 

Marshal Soult, who came as special Ambassador 
from the King of France, was so much cheered both 
in and out of the Abbey that he was overcome, and 
seizing the arm of his aide-de-camp, said, " Ah ! 
vraiment, c'est un brave peuple ! " Later he declared 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 197 

publicly that it was the greatest day of his life, for it 
proved that the English believed that he had fought 
as an honourable man. He brought over with him a 
State carriage, which had been used by the Prince of 
Conde, and had it decorated in the most costly fashion. 
It was a curious thing that both in Queen Victoria's 
and King William's Coronations there was a great 
competition in equipages. The Russian Ambassador 
(Count von Strogonoff) bought for sixteen hundred 
pounds a carriage for which the Duke of Devonshire 
had given three thousand when he went on his Extra- 
ordinary Embassy to St. Petersburg. Another diplo- 
matist gave two hundred and fifty pounds merely for 
the hire of a vehicle for the day. 

There was also among the Ambassadors who had 
the liberty of dressing as they would what might 
almost have seemed a competition in dress. Thus the 
Greek Ambassador was adjudged as the most pic- 
turesque, and Prince Esterhazy, son of the Minister 
Plenipotentiary from the Emperor of Austria, was the 
most gorgeous one lady said of him that he looked 
as though he had been caught in a shower of diamonds 
and had come in dripping: she almost expected to see 
them settling in little pools on the floor. Prince Paul 
von Schwartzenberg, the Austrian Ambassador Extra- 
ordinary, wore violet velvet heavily embroidered in 
seed pearls, the jewels with which lie was covered being 
worth half a million florins, while his boots alone cost 
sixteen thousand florins. 

We have all heard that the old Duke of Sussex 



198 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

embraced the Queen on this public occasion, that old 
Lord Rolle stumbled and fell down two steps, giving 
Her Majesty the opportunity of doing one of her pretty 
acts; and that a large bird hovered over the Palace and 
was regarded as an omen of good luck. We have all 
heard, too, of the Coronation ring, which, though made 
for the little finger by mistake, the Archbishop insisted 
should be placed on the fourth finger a painful event 
for the poor little Queen. As there had been no 
rehearsal, " little Victory " never knew what to do next, 
and said once to John Thynne, " Pray tell me what to 
do, for they don't know." Someone who "did not 
know " made her leave her chair and enter St. Edward's 
Chapel before the Archbishop had finished the prayers, 
much to that ecclesiastic's chagrin. Then when the 
Orb was put into her hand she asked, " What am I to 
do with it?" and on learning that she was to carry 
it in her left hand, replied, sighingly, " But it is very 
heavy ! 5) 

All these incidents have been told over and over 
again, but there are some things not so well known, 
and one is that in consequence of the ceremony extend- 
ing from noon to five o'clock people would have fainted 
from hunger, if caterers had not been allowed to sell 
their wares in the Abbey. At a convenient moment 
the Queen was conducted into St. Edward's Chapel, 
where she found the altar spread with food and bottles 
of wine. It disturbs one's sense of the fitness of 
things that an altar, even to a long dead saint, should 
be used as a dining table, yet perhaps it is no worse 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 199 

than the irreverent selling of the outsides of churches 
for the erection of tiers of seats whenever a Royal 
Procession is coming along. 

The author of " The Ingoldsby Legends " described 
the Coronation very amusingly under the name of 
Barney Macguire, one verse of which runs : 

" Then the crame and custard, and the beef and mustard, 

All on the tombstones like a poulterer's shop; 
With lobsters and white-bait, and other swate-meats, 

And wine and nagus, and Imparial Pop ! 
There was cakes and apples in all the chapels, 

With fine polonies and rich mellow pears, 
Och ! the Count von Strogonoff, sure he got prog enough, 

The sly ould Divil undernathe the stairs." 

In another set of verses on the subject the same 
author said he was in the Abbey looking through the 
wrong end of a pair of binoculars, and 

" At first I saw a little Queen was sitting all alone, 
And little Duke and Duchesses knelt round her little throne, 
And a little Lord Archbishop came, and a little prayer he said, 
Arid then he popped a little crown upon her little head. ' ' 

It is curious to note that the Queen, when writing 
in her journal of the Coronation, just mentioned her 
mother as being there, but of Lehzen she wrote : 
" There was another most dear being present at this 
ceremony, in the box immediately above the Royal 
box and who witnessed all : it was my dearly beloved 
angelic Lehzen, whose eyes I caught when on the 
Throne, and we exchanged smiles." 

Lord Glenelg was Victoria's Colonial Secretary for 
a period, and one imagines that he must have inspired 



200 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Dickens with the idea of the Fat Boy, for we often 
hear of him as asleep at the wrong time. Like other 
people, he had to get up very early for the Coronation, 
and it was therefore not surprising that he fell asleep 
in his place in the Abbey. He awoke for the crowning, 
and duly put on his coronet, then promptly fell asleep 
again, and his head nodding, the heavy thing fell off 
with a clatter. Roused by the noise, he sat up, put 
his hand to his cranium, and cried aloud, " Oh ! I have 
lost my nightcap ! " The " nightcap " had rolled out 
of sight, and was not recovered until after the homage, 
but the story does not tell how he managed to offer 
his fealty without it. 

This failing of Glenelg's was constantly being re- 
ferred to in the papers in jest or earnest. Here is a 
sample : " Is it true, Mel., that railroads rest upon 
sleepers?" asked Victoria. "Yes, your Majesty," 
replied Mel. " Then pray take care that Lord Glenelg 
travels only by the mail coach, as if he goes by the 
railway he may be mistaken for a sleeper," was the 
Queen's entreaty. Another joke, even then somewhat 
time-worn, ran : 

" * What, twelve ! ' Lord Glenelg, waking cries ; 

' How quick the time has passed ! ' 
' No wonder,' little John replies, 
' You sleep so very fast. ' ' 

Lyndhurst distinguished himself before the cere- 
mony commenced by standing on some steps beyond 
the choir, and with eyeglass up scrutinising the Peers 
"and particularly the Peeresses" as they came from 
the entrance. 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 201 

One of the silliest customs of the Coronation was 
the flinging of medals about behind the throne, that is 
to say, between the altar steps and the choir. On this 
occasion Lord Surrey, the Lord Treasurer of the 
Household, flung them right and left, and there was a 
pretty scramble; maids of honour, peers, generals, 
goldsticks, robed aldermen wrestled and fought, some 
getting more than their share, and some less. The 
judges, however, felt themselves enclosed in the dignity 
of the law, they did not scramble or move, but patheti- 
cally wooed the fates by standing stiffly erect and 
holding out their hands. Such a " good boy " attitude 
ought to have been rewarded, but alas, not one of them 
caught a falling piece of silver. 

Lord Dalhousie was struck with the absence of 
popular enthusiasm and of reverence inside the Abbey, 
and Carlyle's commentary upon the event is scarcely 
cheerful. He had been invited to the Montagues' 
window to see the procession, and he went there, 
though he gave away his invitation ticket to the Abbey. 

" Crowds and mummery are not agreeable to me. 
The Procession was all gilding, velvet and grandeur ; 
the poor little Queen seemed to have been greeting; 
one could not but wish the poor little lassie well ; she is 
small, sonsy, and modest and has the ugliest task, I 
should say, of all girls in these Isles. 5 ' He added to 
this, " She is at an age when a girl can hardly be 
trusted to choose a bonnet for herself; yet a task is 
laid on her from which an archangel might shrink." 

C. R. Leslie, the artist, told of her that as soon as 
she returned to Buckingham Palace after this long day 



202 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

she hurried to put off all the splendid signs of royalty 
that she might give her spaniel Dash its bath. A 
similar incident is related of her return from opening 
her first Parliament. An old Court official watched her 
as she re-entered the Palace, being much impressed with 
her dignity as she crossed the rooms of St. James's. 
He wondered if this would last when she was alone, 
and curiously followed her as she went through a door 
leading to the staircase which led to her own apart- 
ments. There at the foot of the staircase he saw her 
roll her train round her arm, pick up her dress all 
round, and run up two steps at a time, calling to her 
dogs. 

This mixture of dignity and girlishness is very en- 
dearing, as those who have watched youthful woman- 
hood well know. 

The year of the Coronation was a year of small 
things as far as the Court was concerned, a year of 
steady tramping along the road of disaffection among 
the better-class politicians, and a year of endeavour 
to do the right thing on the part of the Queen, relieved 
by an occasional autocracy of manner which led her 
to do the wrong thing. Relations between herself and 
her mother became more and more strained, so much 
so that it was a matter of public comment. Conroy 
still hung about the Duchess and was still maligned 
in the papers, The Times toward the end of the year 
being found guilty of libelling him by saying that he 
bought property in Wales which he had paid f or,though 
not with his own money. On the other hand, the 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 203 

tradesmen who served the Duchess of Kent presented 
Sir John Conroy with plate to the value of 400, to 
show their appreciation of the kindness and urbanity 
with which he had invariably treated them. 

The Age now changed its tone ; instead of vilifying 
the Duchess and all her friends, it chose to regard 
her as a martyr, against whom plots were formed by 
the foreign Camarilla, which included Leopold, 
Lehzen, Stockmar, Sir James Clark (Physician), Sir 
Henry Seton, and any foreigners who might be at 
Court or passing through. It asserted now that the 
ruin of Conroy was part of a plot for alienating mother 
and daughter, and placing the latter more firmly under 
foreign influence; but there are people who would 
scarcely consider 3,000 a year pension as ruin. 

The Baroness Lehzen, of whom Lady Normanby 
said that she was a kind and motherly person to the 
young Maids of Honour, retained her position with the 
Queen, and the more firmly she seemed to be estab- 
lished the more furiously did one section of the public 
and the Press hate her. One or two examples will 
show the way in which the more outspoken papers 
wrote of her ; and all had the idea at the back of their 
anger that she was pushing forward with all her in- 
fluence the pretensions of Albert of Saxe-Coburg, who, 
surrounded by Catholic belongings, would do some 
frightful, undescribed, and impossible deeds when 
settled in power. It was all wild, stupid, and hysteri- 
cal, yet somewhat amusing to look back to now. 

It should be remembered that Fraulein Lehzen was 



204 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the daughter of a Lutheran clergyman, and that she 
came to England with the Duchess of Kent as a 
governess or nursery governess to Princess Feodore. 
A Lutheran clergyman was not likely to be a man of 
any particular rank, but he was at least a man of 
thought ; he may have been very poor, as a large pro- 
portion of clergymen have been all through the ages, 
and his daughters may have, most likely did, help in 
the work of the house and gardens. This, however, 
is but surmise in an endeavour to explain the absurd 
reproaches levelled at the Baroness. Thus writes the 
Age, which was bitterly hated by the Whigs, because it 
published every little fault and prank of the men of 
their party; a paper which they naturally, under the 
circumstances, said to be simply a lying, scandalous 
rag, but which, as a matter of fact, was often very 
astute, and told the truth with just that touch of 
exaggeration which gave it the necessary allurement. 

" On public grounds we are determined to let the 
country know the detestable schemes by which a foreign 
Camarilla rules in the Palace [now Buckingham, not 
Kensington, Palace], to which the noble and virtuous 
of the land are not invited nor would they go if they 
were. [The last sentence is somewhat reminiscent of 
the fox and the grapes.] We do not object to the 
Baroness because she was originally a milk girl, but 
because of her manner and behaviour, especially to the 
Duchess of Kent. She has rendered herself most 
hateful to the people of England, because her con- 
nection with Leopold, through his creature Stockmar, 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 205 

is calculated to inflict the deepest injury upon the 
Sovereign and the country generally; because she is 
a bad-hearted woman; and because she is trying to 
bring about a union at once mercenary and distaste- 
ful." 

As time went on, the Tory section of the Press grew 
more emphatic in its utterances, and the extreme Tory 
clique expressed itself in plainer and more violent and 
libellous language. With them the Baroness was 
anathema. They affirmed that having in her youth 
been a milkmaid, she was now only fit for the house- 
maid's table; her sister had been Queen Caroline's 
maid, and she had come as such to the Duchess of 
Kent for a few pounds a year. ' Yet now she insults 
the good Duchess, who is beloved by everyone." " She 
has broken up the mother's influence, and deliberately 
taught the child to look coldly on one who has nobly 
done her duty to the country by educating that child 
suitably, and, having gained the needed ascendency, 
had come to an understanding with Leopold and his 
friends as to the use to be made of her power." The 
Duchess of Kent, who they said was insulted by her 
ci-devant servant, should have their protection, they 
vowed, but did not explain how it would be given. 

A story went around that once at Windsor the 
Baroness mislaid her keys, and that in consequence the 
Queen could not open any of her dispatch boxes, and 
thus everyone averred that the secrets of the Empire 
were entrusted to " this German spy." " We demand 
to know what office this woman bears about the 



206 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Sovereign? She may rest assured that this question 
will not only be asked, but a reply peremptorily de- 
manded when Parliament meets." Her position was 
denounced as unconstitutional and dangerous to the 
personal comfort of Her Majesty, it was said though 
the real meaning was "to the dying hope that the 
Tories would ever regain their influence." When some 
hireling about the Court made known the fact that 
Lehzen had changed her bedroom, taking the next 
room to* that occupied by Victoria, there being no door 
but a curtain between the two rooms, a terrible fear 
arose, and all the exaggerations about complete 
ascendency over the mind of the Queen were started 
afresh. "The Constitution does not permit the 
Sovereign to have an irresponsible adviser, and if any- 
one under the guise and specious title of friend obtains 
possession of State matters and controls State pro- 
ceedings, is a foreigner and in communication with a 
foreign Court, that same Constitution will vindicate its 
outraged fences and expel the intruder even from the 
Royal footstool." To heighten the indignation, it was 
said that Louis Philippe was fostering a plot in favour 
of the Catholics, and through Leopold was making the 
Baroness his tool, so that the " exasperated Protestants 
of the Empire " were losing their hope of favour, but 
" were determined to wrest a satisfactory certainty from 
the Crown as their ancestors had done before them." 

Melbourne was naturally blamed, though his in- 
fluence was by no means strong enough to allow him 
to interfere in the Queen's private friendships, and 



THE QUEEN'S PRIME MINISTER 207 

he. more or less knew that the suggestion that Lehzen 
was consulted in State matters was unfounded. 

In all this lies the inner cause of that difficulty which 
arose in 1839 and convulsed politicians, the "Bed- 
chamber Squabble," as it has been called. It burst 
forth without warning, no one probably being more 
surprised than the two chief actors, the Queen and Sir 
Robert Peel. Though it will be necessary to go back 
again to events of 1838, it is better perhaps to detail 
here the intricacies of this knotty question, which had 
such an important, if temporary, effect on politics. 



CHAPTER IX 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S LADIES AND LOVERS 

* ' The war with China the price of sugar the Corn Laws 
the fourteen new Bishops about to be hatched timber 
cotton a property tax, and the penny post all these matters 
and persons are of secondary importance to this greater 
question whether the female who hands the Queen her gown 
shall think Lord Melbourne ' a very pretty fellow in his day ' ; 
or whether she shall believe my friend Sir Robert to be as 
great a conjurer as Roger Bacon or the Wizard of the North. 
... It is whether Lady Mary thinks black, or Lady Clementina 
thinks white; whether her father who begot her voted with 
the Marquis of Londonderry or Earl Grey that is the grand 
question to be solved before my friend Sir Robert can con- 
descend to be the Saviour of his country." Punch. 

IT was in the very nature of things that the Mel- 
bourne Ministry should be weak. Its majority was not 
great, and as the House of Lords was almost solidly 
against it, Bills could not be passed. In the Lords 
was Brougham, angry at being denied the Great Seal, 
at heart a lover of the aristocrat, yet making a bid for 
the favour of the Radicals. He once brought up a 
mischievous subject for discussion in the Peers, draw- 
ing upon himself the refusal of the Duke of Welling- 
ton to be merely factious, and a declaration from 
Melbourne against the motion. At this, Brougham 

said furiously of the former, "Westminster Abbey is 

208 



LADIES AND LOVERS 209 

yawning for him/* but he had to drop his motion. 
Commenting upon this, Greville says that " Brougham 
cares for nothing but the pleasure of worrying and 
embarrassing the Ministers (his former colleagues), 
whom he detests with an intense hatred ; and the Tories, 
who are bitter and spiteful, and hate them merely as 
Ministers and as occupants of the place they covet, and 
not as men, are provoked to death at being baulked in 
the occasion that seemed to present itself of putting 
them in a difficulty." 

There is on record another occasion on which 
Brougham began to attack the Duke of Wellington in 
the House of Lords, and Wellington, lifting his finger, 
said, loud enough to be heard across the House, " Now 
take care what you say next ! " As if panic-struck, 
Brougham broke off and began to talk of another 
matter. The Duke of Wellington, in fact, with his 
larger view and his international sense, generally 
refused to do stupid things from party feelings; and 
as leader of the House of Lords, he knew the weak- 
ness of the Tories at that juncture, and saw little hope 
of their forming a Government. 

However, given opposition such as Brougham's, 
and a majority depending upon doubtful Radicals, it 
was not surprising that there was little real work 
accomplished in the Commons, and that the Govern- 
ment was always in danger of being overturned. 
It was on May 6th, 1839, that Lord John Russell 
brought in a Bill for the suspension for five years of 
the Constitution of Jamaica, because its Assembly had 
refused to accept the Prisons Act in connection with 



210 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the slave trade passed by Parliament. The majority 
was only five in a House of 583, therefore the Govern- 
ment decided to resign. In July, 1837, Fraser's Maga- 
zine had a sonnet in facetious vein upon the Princess's 
birthday, which might have been written for this event, 
it is so appropriate, though the particular allusion I 
cannot explain : 

11 Great was the omen on the auspicious night 

When kept was fair Victoria's natal day 

London in gas, and oil and tallow gay, 
Look'd a vast isle of artificial light; 
Anchors and crowns and roses beaming bright; 

Stars, garters and triangles shone around ; 

Lions or unicorns all chained and crowned, 
And other blazonings yellow, green, red, white 

Dazzled the air. But, more delighted, we 
Welcomed one blazing letter, everywhere 

Playing a double duty. Hail, great V ! 

V ! Ministerial sad majority 
Mark of the unhappy five ! With grim despair 

Did Melbourne and his men that symbol see ! " 

This Government crisis came like a blow upon the 
Queen, who saw all the routine of her life being altered ; 
she was to lose the genial, fatherly Melbourne, and 
take in his place perhaps the Duke of Wellington, but, 
failing him, whom ? Sir Robert PeeJ, whom she scarcely 
knew and did not like, who possessed none of Mel- 
bourne's brilliant social qualities, while his accustomed 
attitude was said to be that of a dancing master giving 
a lesson. " The Queen might have liked him better 
if he could have kept his legs still, 3 ' said Greville. 

So poor little Victory cried all the rest of the day, 
never stopping even when interviewing Lord John 
Russell. She dined alone in her own room, and did 




SIR ROBERT PEEL. 



LADIES AND LOVERS 211 

not appear that evening. By the next morning, how- 
ever, she was cool again, and sent for the Duke of 
Wellington, whose loyalty she trusted as she did that 
of Melbourne. The Duke also had a fatherly feeling 
for Her Majesty, and was very sympathetic with her, 
even when she said openly that she had always liked 
her late Ministers, and was very sorry that she must 
lose them. Wellington, who was too strong to be any- 
thing but frank, enjoyed the frankness with which the 
Queen praised his political opponents, but he said that 
he was now too old and too deaf to become her Prime 
Minister, and in addition he thought it would be wiser 
if she appointed a man whose real position was in the 
lower House. Sir Robert Peel was the only possible 
person, and Victoria asked the Duke to send him to L^r. 
In gentle, paternal tone, he suggested that the matter 
would be more in order if she would send personally 
for Peel, upon which the Queen said she would do so, 
but asked the Duke to see him and tell him to expect 
her letter. 

As soon as Sir Robert received the important missive 
he clothed himself in full dress, according to eti- 
quette, and went to the Palace. He was a sensitive, 
shy man, and he knew that his principles, if not himself 
personally, were disliked, so he went to the interview 
in a nervous, diffident frame of mind, which allowed 
him no leisure to add an extra courtliness to his awk- 
ward manners. At first he felt reassured, as the Queen 
received him very graciously, but after her greeting 
he had a shock when Victoria openly said that she 
was parting with her late Ministers with infinite regret, 

P 2 



212 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

for she had entirely approved of their actions. It 
was so much what the late King would have said ! 
That little difficulty being over, they began to talk 
business, Peel suggesting various names for office. 
The audience ended by his being required to bring a 
full list with him the next day. 

When Sir Robert brought the list the following 
morning Victoria approved of it, only stipulating that 
the Duke of Wellington should have a seat in the 
Cabinet. Then came the unexpected tempest, be- 
ginning quietly, as tempests often do, but ending in a 
general convulsion. 

Having settled the men satisfactorily, Sir Robert 
Peel nervously he must have been nervous, for Lord 
Grey reports that he was harsh and peremptory put 
forth a list of changes to be made in the Household. 
Her Majesty expected this had, indeed, talked of it 
to the Duke, but she had been thinking solely of the 
equerries and other men about her, and for a few 
minutes the discussion turned upon them. Soon after 
this (to quote from Her Majesty's journal) Sir Robert 
Peel said : 

"'Now, about the Ladies?' 

" Upon which I said I could not give up any of my 
Ladies, and never had imagined such a thing. He 
asked if I meant to retain all. 

" ' All: I said. 

"'The Mistress of the Robes and the Ladies of 
the Bedchamber?' 

" I replied, ' All ! ' for he said they were the wives 
of the opponents of the Government, mentioning Lady 



LADIES AND LOVERS 213 

Normanby in particular as one of the late Ministers' 
wives. I said that would not interfere ; that I never 
talked politics with them, and that they were related, 
many of them to Tories, and I enumerated those of 
my Bedchamber Women and Maids of Honour; upon 
which he said he did not mean all the Bedchamber 
Women and all the Maids of Honour; he meant the 
Mistress of the Robes and the Ladies of the Bed- 
chamber; to which I replied they were of more con- 
sequence than the others, and that I could not consent, 
and that it had never been done before. He said I 
was a Queen Regnant, and that made the difference ! 
' Not here/ I said and I maintained my right. Sir 
Robert then urged it upon public grounds only, but 
I said here that I could not consent." 

In Victoria's letter to Melbourne she said : " Sir 
Robert Peel has behaved very ill, and has insisted 
on my giving up my Ladies, to which I replied that I 
never would consent; and I never saw a man so 
frightened ... he was quite perturbed but this is 
infamous. I said, besides many other things, that if 
he or the Duke of Wellington had been at the head 
of the Government when I came to the Throne, per- 
haps there might have been a few more Tory ladies, 
but that if you had come into office you would never 
have dreamt of changing them. I was calm but very 
decided, and I think you would have been pleased to 
see my composure and great firmness; the Queen of 
England will not submit to such trickery." 

Peel felt it to be a deadlock ; the Queen's autocratic 
tendency had already made itself sufficiently felt for 



214 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

him to know that argument was of no use for him. He 
said that he must consult his colleagues, and so backed 
out. 

Victoria sent at once for Lord John Russell, and 
asked if she could rightfully refuse this demand. 
There was no precedent for Sir Robert Peel's decision, 
though from his party's point of view there was every 
necessity for it. Queen Anne had kept her beloved 
Sarah Churchill all through the changes of administra- 
tion until she wearied of her. When the Government 
changed under William IV., Lord Grey (the Whig) 
not only left Queen Adelaide's Household of Ladies 
untouclied, but did not change an equerry or groom; 
though later, when Lord Howe voted against him on 
a vital question, he insisted upon his removal. When 
that was done Peel and his party asserted that an 
unheard-of outrage had been offered the Queen, and 
Adelaide did not speak to Lord Grey for more than 
a year, and then had to be keenly persuaded before 
she would enter a room where he was closeted with 
King William. 

Lord John Russell told Queen Victoria that she had 
right on her side, and she said that, in that case, she 
expected the support of himself and his colleagues as 
she had supported them in the past. She sent for the 
Duke, who told her that she was wrong, and that she 
ought, being Queen Regnant, to regard her ladies in 
the same light as her lords. 

" No," replied Her Majesty; " I have lords besides, 
and these I give up to you." 

Peel came also, but both he and the Duke found 



LADIES AND LOVERS 215 

their young Monarch immovable, and ready with 
answers to all that they advanced. She foresaw, as 
any astute woman would have done, that in allowing 
this innovation she would be opening the door for a 
host of petty troubles in the future; she blinked the 
fact that she was King as well as Queen, and that a 
King was required to change all his officers. So the 
two politicians left her presence defeated, and Peel 
called his friends together that afternoon. 

In the meanwhile, Russell begged Melbourne to do 
nothing of himself, but to call the Cabinet together; 
and at nine that night the Ministers were gathered from 
all places dinners, the theatres, opera, and clubs. 
Before them Melbourne laid a letter from the Queen, 
in which she is reported to have said, though probably 
the correct text of this letter has been given above : 

" Do not fear that I was not calm and composed. 
They wanted to deprive me of my Ladies, and I sup- 
pose they would deprive me next of my dressers and 
housemaids ! They wished to treat me like a girl, but 
I will show them I am Queen of England." 

Lord John, the most diplomatic member of the 
Cabinet, wanted the Queen to be advised to get from 
Peel his precise demands, for, as is usual in a quarrel, 
the actual details had never been elucidated. This, 
however, was overruled, and a letter was concocted for 
the Queen to send to Peel. It was short and to the 
point : 

" The Queen, having considered the proposal made 
to her yesterday by Sir Robert Peel to remove the 
Ladies of her Bedchamber, cannot consent to adopt a 



216 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

course which she conceives to be contrary to usage, 
and which is repugnant to her feelings." 

While these events were happening, the report of 
them spread far and wide, and was hotly commented 
on in all the papers. The Queen may have let drop a 
remark that Peel wished to drive from her all the 
friends of her childhood, for this was the note the 
Whig papers sounded. Anger, condolence, apprecia- 
tion were all expressed, while on the other side anger 
was mixed with disloyalty and with an assumption 
that the Queen must give way to a righteous and politic 
course. 

:< We can state," said one of the Tory journals, 
" that there is not the slightest hesitation or feeling of 
annoyance on the part of our Conservative leaders. 
For the sake of Royalty they may regret the untoward 
interference of female meddlers in State matters of 
most awful importance (this was surely a hit at the 
Queen as well as at her ladies!); but for themselves 
they know that the Sovereign cannot do without ap- 
pealing to their loyalty to save her from * her friends,' 
and they will not fail in their duty. In a few days 
Sir Robert Peel's triumph will be complete." 

A few of the most extreme papers begged the 
" female nobility of England to abstain from going to 
Court," to refuse "to sanction by their presence a 
patronage of persons whom they themselves would not 
tolerate in private life." 

The " persons " who were not to be " patronised " 
by the " female nobility " included the Duchess of 



LADIES AND LOVERS 217 

Sutherland and the Countess of Burlington, both 
sisters of Lord Morpeth, a Cabinet Minister and 
Secretary for Ireland; the Marchioness of Normanby, 
wife of the Secretary of State; the Marchioness of 
Tavistock, Lord John Russell's sister-in-law; the 
Marchioness of Breadalbane, whose husband had 
received his title from the Whigs ; Lady Portman, wife 
of another Whig-made peer; Lady Lyttelton, sister 
of Earl Spencer; and the Countess of Charlemont, 
wife of an Irish Earl. 

It was whispered, though probably only scandal- 
ously, that Melbourne had in his pocket the resigna- 
tions of the Marchioness of Tavistock and Lady 
Portman, but kept them from the Queen. There may 
have been some truth in this, however, as those ladies 
were most unpopular with all classes, and probably 
thought their wisest course would be to resign before 
worse happened. 

Sir Robert Peel replied to the Queen's communica- 
tion in a long letter, in which he resigned the charge 
she had imposed upon him; and as all England was 
discussing the Bedchamber question, Victoria, who 
really felt that she had justice on her side, allowed him 
to read her letter and his own in Parliament that the 
true facts of the matter might be known. For the 
public believed that Peel had planned to separate the 
Queen from all the friends of her childhood, and to 
force her to accept as servants a completely new set, 
all especially imbued with Tory principles, and Peel 
felt that he should publicly justify his action. But as 



218 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the Queen would not move an inch from the position 
she had taken up, the old Whig Ministry was rein- 
stated. 

As for the opinion expressed by contemporaries on 
this matter, I should say that the balance was against 
the Queen, not so much because of the justice of the 
matter as because she was a young woman, and there- 
fore incapable presumably of understanding affairs. 
People said that she was an inexperienced girl who 
wanted her own way though the heavens fell ; she upset 
her Government that her private comfort might not be 
assailed; the whole thing was planned so that she 
could again have the Whigs in power ! Scarcely any 
of them, except perhaps Lord Grey, cast their vote 
for her. But these writers were all men, and mostly 
Tories that is to say, they were the people who 
suffered. They talked about the principle involved, 
but they only cared about the idea in practice. Then 
they did not look beyond the Queen's words, nor 
remember the violent and exaggerated statements 
which they themselves had made about Baroness 
Lehzen. 

Victoria naturally felt that if she conceded the 
principle she would be giving over into the hands of 
the enemy the friend whom she most valued. She 
knew that some of the Tories had clamoured for 
Lehzen's dismissal, had threatened to ask questions 
about her in Parliament. Then, too, she had a real 
liking for Lady Normanby, of whom one of the Maids 
of Honour said later, " She is so clever and well- 
informed, and yet there is that about her which pre- 




LADY TAVISTOCK. 



LADIES AND LOVERS 219 

vents one feeling ashamed of one's ignorance " ; for 
Lady Tavistock; and probably for other of her ladies. 
Think of the position of a girl of twenty, who is sud- 
denly called upon, not to dismiss her attendants, but 
to send away all those who were, by the nature of their 
duties, admitted to the most intimate relations with 
her, the Ladies of the Bedchamber. It is quite com- 
prehensible that she should resist. 

Peel said afterwards that he did not mean all, and 
it was a pity that the Queen was too hasty to listen to 
his propositions to the end ; though it is certain, if we 
may judge by the expression he used, "that his 
Government could not be carried on if ladies attached 
to Whig leaders remained about the Queen," that he 
did at the outset mean all the Bedchamber ladies; 
indeed, he said as much as that to Croker when he 
wrote that there were only nine of them, while there 
were twenty-five women of the Household altogether. 
He further said what in view of all the attacks on 
Lehzen lets some light into his feelings : " The paid 
spy of a foreign enemy might be introduced into the 
Household might have access to every Cabinet 
secret." 

Had Peel been in a strong position he probably 
would have been less obstinate on the point, for though 
he was perhaps right in a strictly constitutional sense, 
he could have yielded without any real sacrifice of 
principle; but he feared even the attempt to form a 
Government, for it would be a Government with a 
minority, an odious position for any Minister. There 
was, in fact, some analogy between the position of Peel 



220 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

then and that of Melbourne when he accepted office 
under the Queen. In 1837 the Whig Ministry was 
struggling for its life, and it would have been expect- 
ing something impossible to have expected that Mel- 
bourne should have put Tory ladies about Her 
Majesty. When Peel's turn came he was equally 
anxious not to have Whig ladies. 

So Peel made an able speech on the matter in the 
House, Brougham made a violent one, Wellington a 
thoughtful and moderate one, Russell a feeble one, 
and Melbourne's, they say, was the best of all. In 
the course of his speech Peel referred to the Lehzen 
matter, saying that he had not meant to turn out the 
Baroness, which annoyed that lady very much, she 
remarking with much asperity that he had no right to 
say such a thing; he should have said that he could 
not turn her out, for she was in no public post or 
service, and Peel had nothing to do with her. It is 
said that the Duke of Sussex advised his niece not to 
accede to Peel's request about the Ladies of the Bed- 
chamber, but Victoria herself affirmed that she took no 
advice on the matter. 

Some wag called the resuscitated Cabinet the /upon 
Cabinet, and Justin McCarthy said of its leaders that 
Peel could not govern with Lady Normanby, and 
Melbourne could not govern without her. " What is 
it keeps the present Ministers in office ? Two women 
in the Bedchamber and two rats in Parliament," was 
another little pleasantry. Macaulay added as his 
comment : " The month of May, 1839, saw the leaders 
of the great party, which had marched into office 



LADIES AND LOVERS 221 

across the steps of the Throne, standing feebly at bay 
behind the petticoats of their wives and sisters. 
Whether the part they played was forced upon them 
by circumstances, or whether it was not, their example 
was disastrous in its effects upon English public life." 
While the excitement was at its height the papers 
were full of gibes and personalities, and one published 
the following lines upon Melbourne, whose constant 
attendance at Windsor, as has been pointed out, led 
to a running comment upon his method and place of 
dining : 

" Farewell, farewell ! to each rich-brimming chalice, 

At Windsor beside me so constantly seen 
Farewell to the dear, daily feeds at the Palace 
The romps with the Baroness, chats with the Queen. 

Farewell ! 'tis with tears that, while falling will blister, 
I weep for the mesh in which we are all caught ; 

Alas ! for poor Lehzen with none to assist her, 
They'll never be able to work out the plot." 

A little earlier some satirical paper announced of 
the Prime Minister that, when compelled to remain in 
the House of Lords till late in the evening, " the pet 
lamb had a nice tit-bit sent express from the Royal 
table, with a particular request to cut the matter as 
short as possible and hurry ' to where the glasses 
sparkle on the board ! ' ' adding, " We believe Mel- 
bourne generally manages to comply, and, if practic- 
able, arrives in ' pudding time.' ' 

Another paragraph offered the information that : 
" Lord Melbourne gave a Parliamentary dinner yes- 
terday in South Street. The Fire Brigade were all 



222 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

activity and we counted six engines in the immediate 
vicinity. The alarm was given by his lordship's neigh- 
bours, who were extremely horrified by the sight of the 
chimney. Melbourne giving a dinner ! Wonders will 
never cease ! " 

For a long time the Queen's popularity had been 
decreasing, and open disloyalty was shown with the 
beginning of the Lady Flora Hastings scandal. 
Victoria herself did not help matters, for after the 
political crisis she became even more exclusive in her 
invitations. She had arranged a ball and a great con- 
cert for the middle of May, just after the political 
tempest, and from all accounts they seem to have been 
very dull amusements, or so said the Tories, none of 
whom were invited who could possibly be left out. 
The Queen herself, however, was in good spirits, 
possibly more than pleased at having retained her 
Ministers. 

The Bedchamber Crisis drew from the King of 
Hanover a little moan over the ruin of England : 
" Alas ! how fallen is she since the last ten years ! . . . 
May Providence be merciful to her, and save her, is 
my most earnest prayer ! " 

During the spring of 1839, while Victoria was 
harassed by the two most disturbing troubles of her 
young womanhood, she was also being urged from 
various quarters to settle her domestic affairs by mar- 
riage, and indeed from the beginning of 1836 curiosity 
had made tongues busy on the matter of her choice. 
Perhaps it is true that with the spring a young man's 
fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, for it seemed 



LADIES AND LOVERS 223 

always then that the young men from Germany or 
Denmark or Russia came a-courting, or, to put it more 
diplomatically, came on a visit to England. Then, 
too, if there were any amorous lunatics about they 
generally seemed to turn up at Buckingham Palace or 
Windsor Castle. 

Actual suggestions concerning marriage were made 
before Victoria became Queen, for in the spring of 
1837 Lord William Russell, then our representative in 
Berlin, wrote as follows to the Duchess of Kent." 

" Madam, Would it be agreeable to your Royal 
Highness that Prince Adelbert of Prussia, the son of 
Prince William, should place himself on the list of 
those who pretend to the hand of H.R.H. the Princess 
Victoria ? 

' Your consent, Madam, would give great satisfac- 
tion to the Court of Berlin." 

The Duchess acknowledged the receipt, and then 
indulged in a little eulogy of herself, for she continued : 
' The undoubted confidence placed in me by the 
country, being the only parent since the Restoration 
who has had the uncontrolled power in bringing up 
the heir of the Throne, imposes on me duties of no 
ordinary character. Therefore, I could not, compatibly 
with those I owe my child, the King, and the country, 
give your Lordship the answer you desire ; the applica- 
tion should go to the King. But if I know my duty to 
the King, I know also my maternal ones, and I will 
candidly tell your Lordship that I am of opinion that 
the Princess should not marry till she is much older. 
I will also add that, in the choice of the person to share 



224 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

her great destiny, I have but one wish that her happi- 
ness and the interest of the country be realised in it." 

I wonder how the Duchess liked the hint of a rebuke 
in Russell's answer : 

" On informing Prince Wittgenstein (Minister of the 
Royal House in Berlin) that your maternal feelings 
led you to think the Princess Victoria too young to 
marry, he said that the King of Prussia would, on 
learning your opinion, object to Prince Adelbert's 
projected visit to England. I beg to observe to Your 
Royal Highness that it was only proposed to admit 
Prince Adelbert to the list of suitors for the hand of 
Princess Victoria, to which he was to win his claim by 
his character and personal attractions." 

Von Billow suggested that a young Prince of 
Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck-Gliicksburg might find 
favour with Queen Victoria, but surely the territorial 
miscellany added to his name would have been suffi- 
cient to frighten any girl. There was a rumour that 
the Due de Nemours intended to enter the lists, and 
there was much talk when Duke Ferdinand of Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha projected another visit to England 
with his son Augustus. In the spring of 1839 the 
Tsarevitch of Russia arrived with the Grand Duke, and 
many of the newspapers began their little gossipings 
as to the good and evil of such an alliance. This report 
was later said to be without foundation, one paper 
adding to its repudiation the hope that when the 
Queen should be tempted to forego following the 
example of Queen Elizabeth, perhaps the Orange 
flower would be placed near her heart as well as on 



LADIES AND LOVERS 225 

her head. " God grant it may be so ! " This being 
an allusion to the visit at the same time of Prince 
William, the younger son of the King of the 
Netherlands. 

It was judged that Prince George of Cambridge 
stood a good chance, for did not his Queen-cousin 
open the first State Ball in May, 1838, by dancing a 
quadrille with him? It is true that she also danced with 
young Prince Esterhazy who married the daughter of 
the Earl of Jersey with the Earl of Douro, the Earl 
of Uxbridge, and other noblemen, but then George was 
first honoured and was of her own age. While writing 
of this Ball, I must mention the Austrian Prince's 
wonderful clothing at the third State Ball, which was 
given on June i8th, the second having been on Her 
Majesty's birthday. He wore a pelisse of dark 
crimson velvet, his sword-belt thickly studded with 
diamonds, the hilt of the sword and scabbard simply 
encrusted with them ; round his hussar cap were several 
rows of pearls, edging a string of diamonds, and all 
fastened with a diamond tassel. His Order of the 
Golden Fleece (suspended round his neck) and the 
stars and jewels of his other orders of knighthood were 
all set in diamonds and other precious stones. He must 
surely have looked like Prince Charming in a panto- 
mime, and if any old men were there, he probably 
reminded them of the Regent who once went to a 
ball in pink satin, wearing a hat adorned with five 
thousand beads. 

Of the first State Ball Greville says, with his usual 

Q 



226 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

touch of acidity : " Last night I was at the ball at the 
Palace a poor affair in comparison with the Tuileries. 
Gallery ill-lit; rest of the rooms tolerable; Queen's 
manner and bearing perfect. Before supper and after 
dancing she sat on a sofa somewhat elevated in the 
drawing-room, looking at the waltzing; she did not 
waltz herself. Her mother sat on one side of her, 
and the Princess Augusta on the other; then the 
Duchesses of Gloucester and Cambridge and the 
Princess of Cambridge; her household with their 
wands, standing all round; her manners exceedingly 
graceful, and blended with dignity and cordiality, a 
simplicity and good humour when she talks to people 
which are mighty captivating. When supper was 
announced she moved from her seat, all her officers 
going before her she first, alone, and the Royal 
Family following; her exceeding youth contrasted with 
their maturer ages, but she did it well." Lady Bedin- 
field commented upon the Queen at this ball : " The 
young Queen danced a good deal; if she were taller 
and less stout, she would be very pretty." 

However, to return to the suitors. What the 
Ministers, the Court, or even the Queen did not know 
on this matter the papers did, for they caught and 
crystallised in type every rumour, adding sufficient 
information to make them read like truth. In January, 
1838, people said that the Queen was recalling Lord 
Elphinstone from the post which really spelt banish- 
ment for him. They added that she had sent him an 
autograph letter which greatly disconcerted the 
Cabinet, and that he would arrive before the Corona- 



LADIES AND LOVERS 227 

tion, at which a new office would be created for his 
benefit. One commentator upon this remarked : " Our 
Ministers will find a young girl as difficult to manage 
as an old man; the vivacity of youth proves as per- 
plexing as the obstinacy of age. The question of our 
hereditary government will shortly be agitated as well 
as that of our hereditary legislation; since it is quite 
certain that the King of Hanover, knowing his chance 
of succession, even should he survive the Queen, to be 
extremely doubtful, will stir up his party in this country 
to protest against Her Majesty's free choice. The 
sooner the time comes the better." This report was 
repudiated by The Times and The Morning Chronicle. 
However, The Satirist asserted that the matter was 
debated in the Cabinet and that a certain personage 
was with difficulty prevented from sending a letter 
she had written. The Times then declared that the 
Queen had never spoken to Lord Elphinstone. To 
which The Satirist answered with copies of two letters 
purporting to be written by Her Majesty, in the first 
of which she asked Elphinstone to return before her 
Coronation, promising to make him a Duke, which 
would ensure his attendance upon her. In the second 
absurd and vulgar production, quite obviously fic- 
titious, she was made to say : 

" I am so enraged I can scarcely hold the pen in 
my hand. That old pest, daddy Melbourne, having 
found out through Ma, who was told by the baroness 
that you and I were carrying on a correspondence 
that horrible old pest, who certainly is the plague of 
my existence, has just been here to advise me not to 

Q 2 



228 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

break off the match, for that I told him at once would 
be useless but to relinquish the idea of having you 
home before I arrive at the age of twenty-one. The 
giving of this advice he said was a * duty ' which ' State 
reasons ' compelled him to perform. I wish he were 
at Jerusalem. He would let me have nothing my own 
way if he could help it. Here I must remain now for 
nearly three years before I am permitted even to see 
you. Is it not dreadful? But I won't, I'm determined 
I won't wait so long as he says. I'll get rid of him the 
very first opportunity, and if the Prime Minister will 
not consent to your immediate return, I'm determined 
that I'll have no Prime Minister at all. For the 
present, however, I suppose I must yield to ' State 
reasons,' which are, in my mind, no reasons at all. 
But they sha'n't keep you there much longer, be well 
assured of that." 

Whatever the young Queen's desires may or may not 
have been, Lord Elphinstone did not see his native 
land again until about 1843, when Victoria was the 
happy mother of several children, and he was not in- 
vited to Court until 1846, being made a Lord-in- 
Waiting the following year. 

Though, as has been said, the young Prince of 
Orange came over again he does not seem to have done 
himself much credit, eliciting the judgment from one 
diarist that he had made a great fool of himself here 
supping, dancing, and indulging in little (rather inno- 
cent) orgies at the houses of Lady Dudley Stuart and 
Mrs. Fox, who, the story went, escorted him when, to 



LADIES AND LOVERS 229 

his infinite disgust, he had to go home as far as 
Gravesend, "where they (the ladies) were found the 
next day in their white satin shoes and evening 
dresses." 

Behind all other rumours, however, lurked the idea 
that Albert of Saxe-Coburg would be Victoria's bride- 
groom, an idea which more or less oppressed the girl- 
Queen. Whether there was any real truth in the 
report about Lord Elphinstone, or whether she wished 
to wield her power independently for a time, it is 
impossible to say, but early in 1838, and again in 
July, 1839, she wrote to her uncle Leopold that she 
had no intention of marrying for several years to come ; 
and after her accession she entirely ceased correspond- 
ing with her cousin. The Coburgs were not regarded 
by those about the Queen as likely to prove attractive 
to her, being criticised as " simple" and too " Deutsch." 
Palmerston said of them : " After being used to agree- 
able and well-informed Englishmen, I fear the Queen 
will not easily find a foreign prince to her liking," 
and the national prejudice showed itself in such con- 
temptuous phrases about anything they did as, " How 
unlike an Englishman ! " 

But the Queen's attitude did not seem seriously to 
trouble Leopold, who went on training his nephew, writ- 
ing of him to Stockmar on one occasion : " If I am not 
much mistaken in Albert, he possesses all the qualities 
required to fit him completely for the position he will 
occupy in England. His understanding is sound, his 
apprehension clear and rapid, and his feelings correct. 



230 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

He has great powers of observation, and possesses 
much prudence, without anything about him that can 
be called cold or morose." 

In later years Victoria was sad over her decision 
not to marry, saying that she could not think without 
indignation of her wish to keep the Prince waiting, at 
the risk of ruining his prospects, perhaps for three or 
four years until she felt inclined to marry, and she put 
her vacillation down to the fact that the sudden 
change from the seclusion of Kensington Palace to the 
independent position of being Queen Regnant diverted 
her mind entirely from marriage. She went so far as 
to " bitterly repent " this very natural result of her early 
life and her peculiar position; yet she might have 
known that, given the circumstances and her tempera- 
ment, it was the only result to expect. 

But Victoria at this time did not entirely break off 
the engagement, and as a sign of this she instructed 
Stockmar to journey with the Prince when he travelled 
through Italy in search of that thing so zealously de- 
sired in the early part of the nineteenth century, " the 
completion of his education." 

It is said that Leopold did not mention the marriage 
unreservedly to his nephew until the Prince visited 
Brussels in February of 1838. In March of that year 
Leopold wrote to Stockmar as follows : " I have had 
a long conversation with Albert, and have put the whole 
case honestly and kindly before him. He looks at the 
question from its most elevated and honourable point 
of view; he considers that troubles are inseparable 
from all human positions, and that, therefore, if one 



LADIES AND LOVERS 231 

must be subjected to plagues and annoyances, it is 
better to be so for some great or worthy object than 
for trifles and miseries. I have told him that his great 
youth would make it necessary to postpone the marriage 
for a few years. I found him very sensible on all these 
points. But one thing he observed with truth : ' I am 
ready/ he said, ' to submit to this delay, if I have only 
some certain assurance to go upon. But if after wait- 
ing, perhaps, for three years I should find that the 
Queen no longer desired the marriage, it would place 
me in a very ridiculous position, and would to a certain 
extent ruin all the prospects of my future life." 

The Whigs seemed to take this matter quite philo- 
sophically, but the Tories had not a good word to say 
either of Leopold or of Albert. Thus The Times in 
December, 1838, said : " There is no foreigner who sets 
his foot in England less welcome to the people 
generally, or looked at with more distrust or alienation 
than Leopold, the Brummagem King of Belgium, 
who is nothing better than a provisional prefect of 
France, on whose ruler his marriage has made him 
doubly dependent." 

In Paris it was regarded as a most extraordinary 
thing that the Queen had not married long before, and 
having decided that she was not going to marry her 
Prime Minister, the gossipers in the salons suggested 
that Queen Victoria was not to be allowed to marry at 
all, as Lord Melbourne feared he might so lose his 
influence. "Therefore, his anxiety is to keep Her 
Majesty single." They added that if, however, the 
country insisted on their Sovereign's marrying, Prince 



232 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Albert of Saxe-Coburg was being trained for the 
honour, under the especial guidance "of that moral 
gentleman, Stockmar." 

A month later, that is to say in January, 1839, the 
following jubilant paragraph appeared in The Sun : 

' The country will learn with delight that the most 
interesting part in the Speech from the Throne, to both 
Houses of Parliament and the country at large, will 
be the announcement of Her Majesty's intended 
marriage. The happy object of Queen Victoria's 
choice is Prince Albert, son of the reigning Duke of 
Saxe-Coburg, and cousin of Her Majesty. Prince 
Albert is handsome and about twenty-two years of 
age" 

The Times asked next day if someone had not been 
hoaxing the editor of The Sun. " We suspect so, though 
we do not profess to have any knowledge on the 
subject." 

The Morning Chronicle Melbourne's paper re- 
plied : " We are authorised to give the most positive 
contradiction to the above announcement." 

The comment of The Age upon the matter was of the 
" I told you so " type, and then it proceeded to libels 
and defamation. " Prince Albert is known to be a 
youth of most untoward disposition. ... As far as we 
can learn, Prince Albert is suspicious, crafty, and, like 
his uncle, Leopold, never looks anyone full in the 
face. 

' Yet this is he who is to be ' the happy object of 
Queen Victoria's choice.' Choice^ indeed ! The 
Baroness Lehzen has acted well upon the instructions 



LADIES AND LOVERS 233 

given her by Leopold just before good King William's 
death ; and the virtues, beauty, worth, and amiabilities 
of this young Prince have been dinned hourly in the 
Royal Ear. 

" We think Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg intellec- 
tually and morally most unfit to be trusted with the hap- 
piness of our young Queen ; and because he belongs to 
a family which is either Protestant or Papist as it suits 
their interest; thus Albert's father is a Protestant, his 
uncle Ferdinand is a Papist, and his son is Papist 
Connubial King of Portugal; Leopold is anything, 
Protestant to an English princess, Papist to a French 
princess. And we object to Prince Albert because he 
is being thrust upon the Queen, who is in such a state 
of vassalage, induced by the cunning influence of the 
Baroness Lehzen, as to be publicly talked of in the 
salons of Paris as the mere puppet of her uncle 
Leopold." 

This tirade and mass of exaggeration was followed 
by the publication of a spurious letter supposed to 
have been addressed to the editor by the young Prince 
Albert : 

"Sare, I sail addresser you in Anglaish, cos vy? 
Cos in honnare of de countray in vich I vas vant to 
be second rang personne. Ver well. Terefore if the 

Q vas like me to mari her, Cot tarn, Sare, vat am 

tat to you eh ? Am you her modare ? Ver well, ten ; 
vat rite you to objet to 'tis alliance eh? Noting: 
von tarn noting. Terefore, Sare, I vos appy to troubel 
you to hold fast your tam tongue. La Baronne tell 
to me tat her M 's modare hab not objection : 



234 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

terefore, vy should nobody else hab now? Vy sail 
you play him debbil vid dis littel projet ob my uncale 
and Stockmar, and odare some ver tere amis? It vos 
ter most tamnable ! I say dat, Sare ! Terefore, you 
will be pleas to co to de debbel ! I am, Sare, 

"ALBERT FRANgOISE AUGUSTE CHARLES EMANUEL." 

As a matter of fact, the announcement was prema- 
ture, and the Queen had two serious troubles to endure 
before she sought refuge in matrimony, one being the 
Bedchamber trouble already dealt with, and the other 
the Lady Flora Hastings scandal. 

What had really started the belief that the marriage 
was settled was the fact that two of Leopold's con- 
fidential hommes d'affaires, Monsieur Van Praet and 
Baron de Diestrau, came over to England in January, 
and were said to have had interviews with Melbourne, 
to have seen much of Lehzen, to have been agreeable 
to Sir James Clark and Sir Henry Seton, and to have 
gone back to Brussels " to report progress concerning 
the chance of planting another young Coburg in 
England." 

Prince George of Denmark also came to London in 
1839, bringing with him an enormous household, in- 
cluding a Master of the Horse, a Master of the Robes, 
six Lords of the Bedchamber, and eight grooms of the 
Bedchamber, all among the first people of his country. 
He, too, was supposed to be looking for a wife, but 
he did not find one in England. 

From that time on, the Queen, who was said " to 
be caricatured here, charivaried there," had to see her 
name daily in the papers coupled with that of some 



LADIES AND LOVERS 235 

young man or other, Albert's name recurring often. 
Lord Alfred Paget, the second son of the Marquis of 
Anglesey, then in his twenty-third year, figured fairly 
frequently as a love-sick swain, who wore Her 
Majesty's portrait over his heart and under his shirt 
front and, the better to assert his love, hung her 
miniature round the neck of his dog. The Satirist of 
January, 1838, asserted that "Her Majesty must be 
married soon, or there will be the devil to pay," and 
went on to say, " She must be an extraordinary little 
creature to turn people's brains in this fashion. A 
swain has forced his way into Buckingham Palace 
declaring himself to be * a shepherd sent from Heaven 
to look after the Royal lamb.' There are plenty of 
wolves in sheep's clothing already looking after her, 
and Her Majesty's present shepherd will have plenty 
to do to keep them out of the fold." 

One paragraph ran as follows, commencing with a 
quotation from another paper : * ' Her Majesty having 
received from Germany a delicious cake, sent it as a 
present to the Princess Augusta.' This is doubtless 
one of those delicate attentions which ' my nephew 
Albert ' has been instructed to despatch from Coburg 
through the medium of the dearly loved Baroness 
Lehzen. It would have been cut up for Twelfth 
Night at the Palace, but as Lord Melbourne could not 
secure the character of the King, he refused to take a 
slice, so the cake was sent off to the good-natured 
Princess." The italics are mine. 

As soon as Victoria's accession had seemed near, 
the thoughts of madmen seemed to turn to her, and 



236 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

from time to time one such would go to some Royal 
residence that he might be crowned King, or receive 
his rights, or secure a wife. One day in May, 1837, 
a man named Captain John Wood, of the loth Regi- 
ment of Foot, was found sitting on the terrace at 
Kensington Palace, where the Duchess often break- 
fasted. A policeman requested him to go away, but 
he said he had a right to be there, as he was the real 
and rightful King of England, and the person at 
Windsor was only the Duke of Clarence. He told 
the magistrate, before whom he was taken, that his 
proper name was John Guelph, and that he was a son 
of George IV. and Queen Caroline, being born at 
Blackheath, adding that the Royal family knew all 
about it. He seemed perfectly sane, and being 
admonished, went away. 

For some time after her accession a Scotch suitor 
would make special journeys to Windsor to see Queen 
Victoria, sometimes standing all the morning at the 
door of St. George's Chapel that he might watch her 
leave after service. Then he would walk on the 
terrace in the afternoon that he might have the plea- 
sure of bowing to his liege Lady. 

One, who was undoubtedly a lunatic, climbed some 
iron gates in the Park, and walked across to the Castle, 
demanding admittance as King of England. "Very 
well, your Majesty," said the porter, "be pleased to 
wait till I get my hat." He then took him to the 
Castle and handed him over to the police. He was 
named Stockledge, and was in a large way of business 
in Manchester. On being questioned as to his motive, 



LADIES AND LOVERS 237 

he said he was like all other men who wanted wives 
he was looking after one. 

A third was less peaceable, for he got into the 
gardens of Buckingham Palace declaring he would 
kill the Queen, and was sent to prison. Two days 
after his release he went to Windsor and tried to enter 
the Castle by breaking some panes of glass. What 
became of him I do not know. Another man who 
tried to get into the Palace early in 1838 was rather 
mixed in his ideas, for he insisted on seeing the Queen, 
the Duchess of Kent, or O'Connell, "who is as good 
as any ! " 



CHAPTER X 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S DISLOYAL SUBJECTS. 

"We have lordlings in dozens, the Tories exclaim, 

To fill every place from the throng", 
Although the curs'd Whigs, be it told to our shame, 
Kept us poor Lords in waiting too long." 

Contemporary Verse. 

ALL through this period we get pleasant glimpses 
of the young Queen passing some at least of her time 
in a girlish way. She was a girl, surrounded by a bevy 
of girls, and was very fond of dancing, for which 
exercise she did not always wait for the presence of a 
band in the ballroom. Count von Billow was once 
staying at Windsor, being given rooms which were 
directly under the Queen's apartments, and one after- 
noon he could hear Victoria singing and playing the 
piano. On telling her at dinner what pleasure he had 
enjoyed, she looked very concerned, for, as she later 
confessed to Lord Melbourne, she had been dancing 
about her sitting-room with her Ladies in Waiting, 
and had "been quite extravagantly merry." She 
would have small impromptu dances at Buckingham 
Palace, which were kept up sometimes till dawn. 
Georgiana Liddell, Lady Normanby's sister, went to 
one of these, and when the dance was over the youth- 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 239 

ful Queen went out on to the roof of the portico to 
see the sun rise behind St. Paul's. The Cathedral 
was distinctly visible, also Westminster Abbey, which, 
with the trees in the Green Park, stood out against 
a golden sky. 

Most of the Liddell sisters played and sang well, 
and the Queen was anxious to hear the voice of the 
youngest of them all (and there were many, no fewer 
than seventeen brothers and sisters). Georgiana, in 
fear and trembling, sang one of Grisi's favourite airs, 
omitting a shake at the end through pure nervousness. 
The Queen noticed this, and turning to Lady Nor- 
manby asked, "Does not your sister shake, Lady 
Normanby ? " " Oh, yes, Ma'am," was the reply ; 
" she is shaking all over." 

Sometimes, perhaps, Her Majesty was thoughtless 
in satisfying her desire for pleasure; at least, Thai- 
berg, a celebrated musician, thought so on one occa- 
sion. He was frequently commanded to play before 
the Queen, and one evening she gave him five subjects 
to perform. The next day someone congratulated him 
on his triumph. " Triumph ! " he exclaimed; "a fine 
triumph to be nearly killed." 

The Queen often arranged concerts, and I have 
come across an announcement of a concert which she 
might have organised, full of satirico-political allu- 
sions. The parenthetical additions have been inserted 
by way of elucidatory notes : 

" The Vicar of Bray." By Lord Palmerston. (An 
allusion to his love of office.) 

" Pray, Goody, please to Moderate." By Lord 



240 THE COURT OF QUEENJVICTORIA 

Holland. (Lady Holland was noted as an untiring 
talker.) 

" The Beautiful Boy." By Lord Morpeth. 

"I that once was a Plough-Boy." By Baron 
Stockmar. (In allusion to his supposed low origin.) 

"An old Man would be Wooing." By Lord Mel- 
bourne. 

" Buy a Broom ! " By Baroness Lehzen. (Another 
allusion to low origin.) 

Cf We are all nodding." By Lord Glenelg. 

" Oh, what a row ! " By Lord Durham. (He was 
noted for his hot temper, and he was then scarcely 
out of the Canadian turmoil.) 

" The Laird o' Cockpen." By Sir J. Campbell. (A 
Scotsman who was then English Attorney-General.) 

" I'm a very knowing Prig." By Sir James Clark. 

" The King of the Cannibal Islands." By King 
Leopold. 

I do not know the reason for Lord Morpeth singing 
of a beautiful boy, but Sir James Clark seems to have 
justified by some of his actions the song chosen for 
him. 

Though Victoria had been Queen for nearly two 
years, she still to judge from various accounts pre- 
ferred simplicity in dress, and one story is admiringly 
told of her which, to an unbiassed mind, is open to the 
suggestion that she did not show politeness or good 
taste. The Duchess of Sutherland gave a great ball 
at Stafford House in honour of the Queen, and, that 
she might further show the respect she felt for her 
Royal mistress, she wore a most magnificent dress and 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 241 

glittered with diamonds. Her Majesty went "in a 
simple muslin embroidered in colours," and, on shaking 
hands with her hostess, said : 

";I come from my house to your palace." This 
sounds too affected or too rude to be true, but it is 
given by Lady Dorothy Nevill in " Under Five 
Reigns." 

Victoria's simplicity seems occasionally to have 
degenerated into carelessness, for I have come across 
different remarks upon the way in which she wore her 
shoes down at heel remarks always accompanied 
with a suggestion that there was something wrong with 
her feet, though that was tempered with the addition 
that she walked gracefully. 

When Lord Durham set England a-talking by his 
autocratic actions in Canada, and was, through the 
demands of the Opposition, recalled, the Duchess of 
Kent must have felt grief at this second failure in the 
little circle of her close friends. If all that has been 
said was true, she relied very largely upon the advice 
of Lord Durham before he became Ambassador to 
St. Petersburg, for she was then in the habit of trust- 
ing implicitly in her brother. I have seen a report of 
a speech made by a Mr. Wilks, the Liberal Member 
for Boston in 1836, part of which ran: "Never was 
there a more excellent and amiable being than the 
Duchess of Kent. She consulted Lord Durham (he 
was the great man of the neighbourhood), by Leopold's 
desire, upon everything that belonged to the political 
opinions of the Duchess and the Princess. He was 
asked to prepare replies and to acknowledge com- 

B 



242 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

munications, and everything breathed a spirit of attach- 
ment on their part to the constitutional rights of the 
people." As Lord Durham was looked upon as the 
leader of the Radical party, it is hardly to be wondered 
at that the Tories disliked him and thought him a 
dangerous influence. 

Lady Durham had been made one of the Ladies of 
the Bedchamber at the accession of Victoria, drawing 
from the Princess Lieven the opinion that the Queen 
could not have a better or a nobler woman ; but when 
her husband came back from Canada the Countess 
resigned her post, much to the Queen's sorrow, for she, 
too, was fond of the Durhams. Early in her reign she 
had given Lady Durham apartments at Windsor in 
which she could reside permanently, and when she 
was in waiting invited her always to bring her little 
girl, "the most charming child," to remain with her. 
Durham died in 1840, while still a young man. 

Victoria was very fond of children, and would 
always, if possible, have some staying at the Palace, 
spending a part of each day playing with them. She 
once instructed Lord Melbourne to invite Lord and 
Lady John Russell to stay three days with her, saying 
that she "would be delighted to see Lady Russell's 
little girl, and would be very happy if she would bring 
the baby also." Poor little Lady John ! not many 
months later another baby brought death to her ! 

Occasionally the newspapers spoke of the Queen in 
lighter vein, and this paragraph appeared in 1838 : 
" Could anything have been less expected than to see 
her present Majesty, a lovely young female, encourag- 
ing the practice of snuffing by allowing herself to be 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 243 

named patron of certain snuff-shops ? ' By Special 
Appointment Snuff Manufacturer to Her Majesty 
Queen Victoria ' ! What next ? " 

This second story appeared in a contemporary book 
of reminiscences. An Irish check-taker at the Zoo- 
logical Gardens told a friend that the Queen had come 
once to the gardens incog. 

" Why," said his friend, " it is odd that we never 
heard of it." 

" Not at all, not at all," replied Pat, " for she didn't 
come like a Queen, but clane and dacent like any other 
body." 

During the year of 1839 the spite against Melbourne 
became stronger and led to absurdly wild statements ; 
indeed, the whole agitation was the result of an acute 
and semi-public hysteria. His popularity with the 
Queen had led the Tory papers more or less to with- 
draw their support of the Crown, thus giving rise to 
annoying episodes, not only in political, but in social 
life. It was asserted that Victoria v/as surrounded 
with people of bad character, and though all the world, 
even the journals which delighted in scandal, had 
acclaimed the acquittal of Melbourne in the Norton 
case, the mud of the past was diligently scraped up 
and flung over him, with the evident desire that some 
of it would stick on the Queen. The Morning Herald 
remarked, " It is one of the unfortunate signs of the 
times that we see so many persons of known immoral 
character selected for office." To this another paper 
added a list of a dozen people who were supposed to 
be unfit, about many of whom no evidence of being 

R 2 



244 THE COURT OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

worse than their brothers remains. Of course, the 
person who heads the list is " Lord Melbourne, dinner 
eater and private secretary." He is followed by the 
Marquis of Headford, who, many years earlier, had 
been convicted of adultery with his wife's sister. The 
Marquis of Anglesey was a third, and I suppose it 
would be difficult for anyone to hold a brief for the 
particular line of Anglesey lords which Iwas extin- 
guished so dramatically a few years ago. Lord 
Palmerston had his place in the list, as it was whis- 
pered that Lady Cowper, Melbourne's sister, had long 
been his mistress. Some time after her widowhood 
she married Palmerston in December, 1839 of 
which event Princess Lieven says : " She wrote to me 
on the subject, and such a simple, natural, good letter, 
so full of yearning for that happiness and comfort and 
support which every woman needs, that I am quite 
convinced she is right in what she does." Lady 
Cardigan, in her recent book of reminiscences, adds to 
this : " She was a perfect hostess, a charming woman, 
and an ideal helpmeet. At one of her parties her son 
(by Lord Cowper) was presented to a foreign ambas- 
sador, who, not understanding, looked at him and at 
Lord Palmerston, saying, 'On voit bien, m's'u, que 
c'est votre fils, il vous ressemble tant.' ' 

Upon the publication of this list of evil doers, other 
journals took up the cry, and indignant paragraphs, 
similar to the following, appeared on all sides. 

" Is there a father in the Empire who would endure 
such a person as Lord Melbourne to be perpetually 
by the side of a young girl? Lord Melbourne may 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 245 

smile, because he had cast aside manly generosity, but 
we tell him that if loyalty is becoming dull, and sneers 
are taking the place of blessings; if, where the land 
would honour, it begins to censure, and where it would 
pay homage it passes an unwelcome jest; and if, as 
the result of all this, hearts grow cold, and regard only 
as a Ministerial puppet one who even yet is the object 
of love, he will have to thank his own selfishness for 
the blight he will have thus brought upon the Crown." 

The Glasgow Constitutional published an effusion 
upon the indifferent Prime Minister, and in consider- 
ing these articles we must remember that if Melbourne 
had been a Tory he would have received praise and 
approbation from these very papers, while the 
quiescent Whig journals would probably have been 
ladling out abuse. " Even his private conduct is in 
some respects national property, and by acceptance of 
high office, even his personal character becomes no 
longer altogether his own, but is intimately associated 
both with the nation and its head. It is therefore a 
fair subject both of observation and comment, and the 
time has now arrived when these are imperiously called 
for. His present demeanour has led to most invidious 
remarks. It has become too notorious to escape the 
most unobservant eye, and whispers of suspicion have 
been poured into the dullest ear." 

Disloyalty and disrespect began to be shown openly 
for the Queen. Greville, the cynic and pessimist, con- 
stantly informs us that her people no longer cared for 
her. In 1838 Her Majesty was at Ascot, and was 
only tolerably received by a great concourse of people ; 



246 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

there was some shouting, but not a great deal, and few 
hats taken off. " This mark of respect has quite 
gone out of use, and neither her station nor her sex 
secures it; we are not the nearer a revolution for this, 
but it is ugly. All the world went to the Royal stand, 
and Her Majesty was very gracious and civil, speaking 
to everybody." 

In March of the next year Greville shows how this 
antipathetic feeling had increased. " The great 
characteristic of the present time is indifference, no- 
body appears to care for anything; nobody cares for 
the Queen, her popularity has sunk to zero, and loyalty 
is a dead letter; nobody cares for the Government or 
for any man or set of men. . . . Melbourne seems to 
hold office for no other purpose but that of dining at 
Buckingham House, and he is content to rub on from 
day to day, letting all things take their chance. 
Palmerston, the most enigmatical of Ministers, who 
is detested by the Corps Diplomatique, abhorred in his 
own office, unpopular in the House of Commons, liked 
by nobody, abused by everybody, still reigns in his 
little kingdom of the Foreign Office, and is impervious 
to any sense of shame for the obloquy which has been 
cast upon him, and apparently not troubling himself 
about the affairs of the Government generally. 55 

Harriet Martineau adds her testimony to this state 
,of affairs when she notes that "some rabid Tory 
gentlemen have lately grown insolent, and taken in- 
sufferable liberties with the Royal name. 55 This dis- 
loyalty was indeed recognised and justified to their 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 247 

own satisfaction by the Tories themselves ; in alluding 
to Lord Melbourne one of their organs asserted : 

" If he sees tEe virtuous of the land avoiding the 
Palace Halls and Court receptions as they would a 
pestilence if he sees even common respect withheld 
from one whom, but for his despicable policy, we 
should reverence and love if he discovers that cold 
loyalty towards the wearer of the Crown in these days 
puts the Crown itself in jeopardy he will then, per- 
haps, see the full extent of the scorn and loathing with 
which he is regarded by everyone not lost to the 
proprieties, decencies,, and modesty of social life." 

The Age, probably the most virulent of all Mel- 
bourne's paper enemies, published an open letter to 
him, saying that he was exposing the highest personage 
in the land to be the jest of the vicious and a source 
of pity to the well-disposed. " Do you think it likely 
that any other young lady who had a father or a brother 
to protect her would allow a person of notorious 
gallantry to be constantly whispering soft nonsense in 
her ear? Why, then, should the highest lady in the 
realm, who, in fact, belongs to the country at large, 
be subjected to what would not be allowed in any 
private family? ... If you affect not to know it I tell 
you plainly that ever since the Coronation, the enthu- 
siasm of the people for their young Queen has been 
sensibly decreasing, owing solely to the bad advice 
of her Ministers. . . . However unpalatable it may be, 
I again tell you that your constant attendance on the 
Queen is unconstitutional, indecent, and disgraceful; 



248 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

whatever motive you have, it is impossible to justify 
it. I defy you to name an instance of any Prime 
Minister acting as you have done ; and considering the 
age and sex of the Sovereign, I denounce it as unmanly 
and unprincipled. Lolling on your couch at the 
Palace, you may pretend to despise these unvarnished 
truths; but that you are conscious of your unwarrant- 
able conduct was plainly evinced by the passion you 
flew into when Lord Brougham so admirably twitted 
you with it." 

That Melbourne allowed Robert Owen, the re- 
former, to be presented to the Queen was, some months 
after the event, used in passionate eagerness against 
him. The Duke of Kent had known Owen, and at 
the time of his death had been arranging to visit his 
co-operative settlement at New Lanark, near Glasgow ; 
for the Duke agreed with Owen's principles, so much 
so that he took the chair at a meeting which was called 
to appoint a committee to investigate and report on 
Owen's plans to provide for the poor and to ameliorate 
the conditions of the working class. Owen's ideas had 
enlarged during the ten years which had intervened, 
and he was in 1839 keen upon education, the disuse 
of arms, the alteration of ecclesiastical law, &c. 
Wishing to present a petition to Her Majesty, he 
approached Melbourne, who told him that the right 
method of procedure was to attend a levee. This the 
reformer did, in regulation white silk stockings, buckle 
shoes, bag-wig, and sword. He presented his petition, 
no one noticed his presence or gave a thought to it 
until, some time later, some speaker holding Socialistic 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 249 

views won notoriety. This caused the Bishop of 
Exeter to present to the House of Lords in January, 
1840, a petition of his own, demanding that legal pro- 
ceedings should be taken against any person who 
spread Socialistic views, and attacking Melbourne for 
having allowed such a man as Owen to approach the 
Queen. There was a certain bitterness about this, 
which was later intensified by Victoria's attitude upon 
education. 

The Government had, by a majority of two only, 
voted a sum of money for the support of National 
Education, and the Lords, under the plea of defending 
the National Religion, prayed the Queen that she 
should give directions that no steps should be taken 
with respect to the establishment of any plan of general 
education without giving them an opportunity of con- 
sidering such a measure. 

From time immemorial, education, that is to say 
knowledge, has been regarded as the sworn enemy of 
religion ; the Catholics were afraid of the influence of 
the Bible ; the Protestants were, and are, equally afraid 
of the influence of thought; both believe that religion 
can be killed by knowledge. One of the greatest of 
olden philosophers affirmed practically that the 
ignorant person could not be good, that goodness, 
which should be synonymous with religion, could not 
exist without knowledge. This really seems to be the 
more sensible view; the ignorant child eats poisoned 
berries, the child who knows avoids them ; the ignorant 
man debases his body and his mind without realising 
what he is doing ; the man who knows enough to fore- 



250 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

cast events has at least that safeguard against destruc- 
tion. It is not too much to say that those who believe 
that ignorance is the best preserver of religion do no 
honour to real religion, which is an attitude of mind 
and not an outward conformity to this or that view or 
creed. 

However, this is a digression. The act of the Lords 
was an encroachment upon the function of the Com- 
mons to deal with money Bills, and thus was, as the 
historian says, " an attempt to overstep the limits which 
the Constitution laid down." The Queen, in her 
answer, expressed regret that the Lords should have 
taken such a step, adding that it was with a deep sense 
of duty that she thought it right to appoint a Com- 
mittee of her Privy Council to superintend the dis- 
tribution of the grant voted by the House of Commoas. 

Two sermons preached about this time before Her 
Majesty, which made something of a stir, were a sign 
of the independent way in which she was regarded 
by dignitaries of the Church. In one, her chaplain, 
Mr. Percival, dealt with recent history, for he made his 
discourse take the form of an attack upon Peel, or 
someone believed to be Peel, who, he said, had sacri- 
ficed his conscience to political objects in consenting 
to Catholic Emancipation. The other was more per- 
sonal to Queen Victoria, for Hook nephew of 
Theodore Hook, and afterwards Dean of Chester 
announced that the Church would endure, " let what 
might happen to the Throne." On Victoria's return 
to Buckingham Palace Lord Normanby politely in- 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 251 

quired whether Her Majesty had not found it very 
hot in church. 

" Yes," she replied, " and the sermon was very hoi 
too." 

The disaffection among the Tories was the result 
entirely of their exclusion from office, and it spread 
all over the country. At a dinner at Shrewsbury the 
company refused to drink the health of the new Lord 
Lieutenant (the Duke of Sutherland) because Lady 
Sutherland was at the head of the Queen's ladies. 
Greville said that the leaders of the party were too 
wise and too decorous to approve of such conduct, and 
that it was caused by the animus of the tail and the 
body. James Bradshaw, the Tory M.P. for Canter- 
bury, made a speech at that town remarkable for being 
a personal attack of the most violent and indecent kind 
on the Queen, "a tissue of folly and impertinence," 
which was received with shouts of applause at a Con- 
servative dinner, and reported with many compliments 
and some gentle reprehension by the Tory Press. 
Others followed, and indeed the party which thought 
itself injured did its very best to prejudice Her 
Majesty against itself. Upon this, Edward Horsman, 
the Whig Member for Cockermouth, made a speech 
in his constituency, in which, alluding to Bradshaw's 
Victori-p picks, he said that Bradshaw had the tongue 
of a traitor and the heart of a coward. Six weeks 
later Bradshaw, who had probably been made in 
various ways to feel his position keenly, sent a chal- 
lenge to Horsman. George Anson, Melbourne's pri- 



252 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

vate secretary, and brother of Lord Lichfield, acted 
as Horsman's second, and Colonel Gurwood, the editor 
of Wellington's Despatches and his confidential friend, 
seconded Bradshaw. There was much indignation 
over this, not only among the Whigs, but among the 
respectable Tories, for Gurwood had just been 
appointed to the Governorship of the Tower, being 
thus given both a pension and a place. His excuse 
for going out with Bradshaw was that he had never 
read the offending speech, upon which Greville re- 
marks : " As Gurwood is a man of honour and veracity, 
this must be true; but it is passing strange that he 
alone should not have read what everybody else has 
been talking about for the last two months, and that 
he should go out with a man as his second on account 
of words spoken, and not inquire what they were." 
When George Anson offered to show him the speech 
he declined to read it. 

The two men met, shots were exchanged, and no 
harm 'done, and then Gurwood asked if Horsman 
would retract. " Not until Bradshaw does, or apolo- 
gises," was Anson's answer. 

Bradshaw seemed miserable and upset, and saying 
that he could not live without honour, expressed him- 
self ready to say anything that the two seconds agreed 
upon. So George Anson drew him up an apology. 
Horsman took back his words, and the matter ended. 

At Ascot, in 1839, as the Queen's cortege drove up 
the racecourse it was greeted with silence, only broken 
by occasional hisses. Poor little Queen ! to have come 
to this in two years ! This reception led to silly 



DISLOYAL SUBJECTS 253 

reports with if they were true sillier action behind 
them. The papers all got hold of some version of 
the same affair, and the substance of the article that 
appeared in The Morning Post was that Lady Lich- 
field had told the Queen that two of the most prominent 
among those who had thus annoyed Her Majesty were 
the Duchess of Montrose and Lady Sarah Ingestre; 
and, further, that those two ladies were informed 
whether officially or not is not said that the Queen 
knew of their action. The Duchess and Lady Sarah 
immediately saw Lady Lichfield, who denied that she 
had said anything about them, and on pressure gave 
an explicit denial in writing. When a Ball at Bucking- 
ham Palace followed 'the Ascot festivities, the two 
suspected of hissing discovered that they were out of 
favour; so the Duchess went to the Palace and re- 
quested an audience of Her Majesty. After being 
kept waiting for two hours, the Earl of Uxbridge told 
her she could not be admitted to an audience, as only 
Peeresses in their 'own right could demand such a 
privilege. Upon this, her Grace insisted that the Earl 
should take down in writing what she had to say and 
lay her communication immediately before the Queen. 
So the matter rested, until the Duke of Montrose 
thought it needful to open a correspondence with 
Melbourne on the subject. Then on July 5th The 
Times published a denial of part of the report, one 
which by no means exonerated the two accused ladies. 
"We are authorised to give the most positive denial 
to a report which has been inserted in most of the 
public papers, that the Countess of Lichfield informed 



254 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the Queen that the Duchess of Montrose and Lady 
Sarah Ingestre hissed Her Majesty on the racecourse 
at Ascot, and there could have been no foundation for 
so unjust an accusation." Thus Lady Lichfield was 
practically cleared, but the other two suspects were 
" where they were " ; and the Queen ? She remained 
under the unspoken imputation of being pettish and 
injudicious. But in those days she had not learnt the 
wisdom which came to her later, and when her dignity 
was wounded she was often too angry to use any tact, 
and would let the wound fester until it caused much 
ill-will. 



CHAPTER XI 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 

"It is really horrible that any family should be reduced to 
thank God for the blessing of depriving them of one of its 
dearest members." Lady Sophia Hastings. 

" I think everyone should own their fault in a kind way to 
anyone, be he or she the lowest if one has been rude to or 
injured them by word or deed, especially those below you. 
People will readily forget an insult or an injury when others 
own their fault, and express sorrow or regret at what they 
have done." Queen Victoria. 

IT was in 1839 that the most sad and regrettable 
event in the personal story of Queen Victoria's reign 
took place, the affair known as the Lady Flora 
Hastings Scandal. Lady Flora, who was the eldest 
daughter of the Marquis of Hastings and of Lady 
Hastings Countess of Loudoun in her own right had 
been Lady in Waiting to the Duchess of Kent since 
1834. Her name occurs as attending the Duchess at 
all Royal functions, and there was a feeling of real 
affection between her mistress and herself. In 1839 
she was thirty-three years of age, a woman who had 
proved her uprightness and sincerity, yet, because of 

dissension at Court, because of the curious friction 

255 



256 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

between the Queen and her mother, she was subjected 
to the bitterest calumnies. 

Ever since her accession the gulf between the Queen 
and the Duchess had been widening, and there can 
be little doubt that Lehzen on the one hand and 
Conroy on the other were the people who, willingly 
or otherwise, were the cause of this. Victoria seems 
to have put the Baroness so high in her regard as to 
give her the place which the Duchess, with every 
justice and right, should have held. This was shown 
publicly as well as privately, for I have seen a para- 
graph in one paper of the day, that is to say of January, 
1839, commenting upon the fact that the Queen had 
been three times to the theatre, accompanied on each 
occasion by the Baroness Lehzen, but not at all by 
the Duchess. The two Royal ladies lived, it is true, 
in the same house, and the Queen's mother attended 
the Royal dinner table, and sat in the drawing-room 
afterwards with her daughter's guests ; but beyond that 
they were drifting towards a real and painful separa- 
tion. The stories of Lehzen's rudeness to the Duchess 
were not without foundation, and her spite against the 
Conroy family had in no way abated; thus, as Lady 
Flora was friendly with the Conroys and was regarded 
as one of the " set " around the Duchess she also was 
not much in favour. 

In all quarrels there is some exaggeration, and some 
imagination as well as some truth; there is also 
generally great difficulty in justly deciding who is to 
blame; therefore it was only natural at the time that 
there should have been many who believed the 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 25? 

calumnies against Lady Flora in spite of all the evi- 
dence in her favour. But to-day it is quite certain 
that she is fully exculpated, that she alone comes out 
of the trouble with honour. 

Lady Flora returned from Scotland early in the year 
to her duties about the Duchess, feeling very unwell ; 
so much so that she consulted Sir James Clark, 
physician both to the Duchess and to Her Majesty. 
The medical treatment and the exercise prescribed did 
her good, the swelling in her body subsided, and she 
thought she would soon be quite well. But this 
enlargement of her figure had given rise to a certain 
suspicion in the mind of the physician, which he was 
not man enough to mention delicately or professionally 
to his patient. He thought about it first, and then 
went to Lady Portman, one of the Queen's ladies in 
waiting, and told her what he believed. Hearing such 
a thing from the doctor who had been in attendance 
upon Lady Flora made the suggestion a fact to Lady 
Portman. 

The story goes that she confided in Lady Tavistock, 
who thought it her duty to repeat the information to 
Lord Melbourne, and eventually some or all of them 
laid the matter before the Queen. What share 
Baroness Lehzen bore in this little plot for the way 
in which it was guarded from the persons really 
interested gave it the semblance of a plot it is not 
easy to say, but later she was accused of being the 
centre of offence. It is probable that advice was all 
she tendered, but if that is so it was very bad advice, 
and it led the young Queen, who should have been 

s 



258 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

above all meannesses, to do that which should and did 
cost her passionate regret and many tears. In the first 
instance, she was impulsively harsh and suspicious; 
when it was proved that there was no cause for either 
harshness or suspicion, she was just as repentant and 
eager to make amends. But when in the bitterly dis- 
turbed state of society the scandal grew out of hand 
and some signal mark was needed from her to clear 
Lady Flora's honour, all her kindliness froze. She 
would neither take the blame nor allot it, but treated 
the whole affair with a stony silence. This was a 
terrible mistake ! If only she could have put into 
practice the bravery of her own words, quoted at the 
head of this chapter, how much better it would have 
been ! 

Once the idea of Lady Flora's indiscretion was in 
Her Majesty's mind, her only, absolutely her only, 
honourable course would have been either to see Lady 
Flora herself, or, if that seemed too difficult, to consult 
her mother, the Duchess of Kent. But the Queen 
w r as so blinded by her advisers or by her prejudices 
that she took the whole matter into her own hands, 
and sent Sir James Clark to interview Lady Flora. 
The following is part of a letter written about Lady 
Flora on March 7th by the Marchioness of Hastings 
to her son-in-law, Captain Charles Henry. 

" Sir James Clark, shocking to tell, accused her of 
being privately married, and you can imagine her 
indignation and horror. She flatly denied it, and then 
this ambassador said that nothing but a medical 
examination by himself and another would ' clear her 




LADY FLORA HASTINGS. 




THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 259 

character and satisfy the ladies of the Court.' From 
her he went to the Duchess (of Kent), who resented 
the insult instantly. He was followed by Lady Port- 
man, who was deputed by the Queen to desire she 
would not appear before her till 'her character was 
cleared' by this most revolting proposal. The dear, 
dear Duchess could not make up her mind to this; 
Flora desired it. Two persons have been named as 
those suspected of her shame, Sir John Conroy, who 
has been like a father in his care of her, and Lord 
Headfort, evidently as a cloak to the attempt which 
was to separate Flora and the Duchess's old and 
attached servant from her. Flora persisted, and the 
Speaker (?) and Sir John Conroy both said she was 
right, and the Duchess at last gave a reluctant consent. 
Flora named Sir Charles Clarke in addition, and the 
strongest medical opinion he and Sir James Clark 
could sign was given, to the confoundation of those 
wicked persons who could so act. Flora wrote to 
Hastings (her brother), who went up alone, and has 
behaved with a judgment and spirit which is a cheer 
to me in so much misery. He went to Lord Mel- 
bourne, and insisted on his thorough disavowal of 
having anything to do with it ; and asked an audience 
of the Queen. Lord Melbourne at first refused, but 
Hastings insisted, and Hastings very respectfully 
but very decidedly pointed out to Her Majesty the 
fallacy of such advisers, ' be they who they may,' who 
could recommend such a course to her. Sorry am I 
to say Lady Tavistock does not stand clear of wicked- 
ness and vile gossip at least, but Lady Portman took 

? 2 



260 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the messages, after a man was sent to make the base 
attack on my poor child. The Duchess kept by her, 
and refused till ample reparation was made to go either 
to dinner or in the evening. To-morrow I will send 
you part of her dear letter about my darling Flo. I 
dare add no more. The Queen sent for Flora, the 
tears were in her eyes (I am glad they were so), and 
expressed her sorrow. She (Flora) took it rightly, but 
added, ' I must respectfully observe, Madam, I am 
the first, and I trust I shall be the last, Hastings ever 
so treated by their Sovereign. I was treated as if 
guilty without a trial/ She took it very well, and has 
been markedly kind to her since. Sir James Clark 
has been dismissed by the Duchess." 

This letter from the Duchess of Kent was sent to 
the Countess of Loudoun : 

"Buckingham Palace, $ih March, 1839." 

" MY DEAR LADY HASTINGS, 

"Our beloved Lady Flora will tell you all 
the dreadful things that have occurred here; I will 
only say that no mother could have defended a 
daughter more than I have done her. She is of all her 
sex that being that most deserves it, and she stands on 
the highest ground. This attack, my dear Lady 
Hastings, was levelled at me through your innocent 
child. But God spared us ! 

" Believe me, the hour will come when the Queen 
will see and feel what she has been betrayed into. 
When your first feeling of indignation subsides, for 
mine knew no bounds, you will in your nobleness of 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 261 

soul view with scorn all these proceedings. I cannot 
say more. I have stood by your child and your house 
as if all was my own. Believe me, with the truest 

affection and esteem, 

"Your devoted friend, 

"VICTORIA." 

Lady Flora's first letter on this matter, written to 
her sister and brother-in-law, runs as follows : 

" MY DEAR CHARLES AND SELINA, 

" Though I know neither of you would ever 
believe (were the Angel Gabriel to reveal it to you) 
anything evil of old Flo, I must not let you hear from 
others the horrible conspiracy from which it has pleased 
God to preserve me. It is evidently got up by 
Lehzen, who has found willing tools in Ladies 
Tavistock and Portman and Sir James Clark; evi- 
dently ultimately directed against the Duchess (of 
Kent), though primarily against me. The means em- 
ployed were to blacken my character, and represent me 
to be I can scarce write the words ! with child ! I 
have no time for particulars to-day, but will write you 
fully to-morrow. I have come out gloriously. I 
underwent as they demanded, and the Queen urged 
by them did also, the most rigid medical examination, 
and have the fullest certificate of my innocence, signed 
by Sir James Clark and Sir Charles Clarke. My 
Duchess could not have been kinder had she been my 
mother; she is one of the noblest of human beings 
Hastings came to town instantly and behaved like an 
angel, with such judgment and affection ! All my real 
friends have been very true to me and very kind to 



262 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

me. I would not write thus hurriedly, but I hear it 
has reached the Clubs, and I fear your learning it 
from another source, and being anxious about me. It 
made me very ill for two or three days, I was so 
shocked and shattered. The poor Queen was sadly 
misled in the business ; she did not know what she did 
and sanctioned; she is very sorry. I hear at the Clubs 
they have named two or three names with mine; one 
is poor Sir John Conroy's. How infamous. No one, 
thank God, however, is disposed to think ill of our 
father and mother's child, nor has my conduct been 
such as to encourage evil thoughts of me, and I am 
told people are vehement at the insult I have received." 

Lady Flora complained of the way in which this 
examination was conducted, and her maid, who was 
present, spoke of the roughness and indecency shown. 
Later, when she was delirious, she accused the doctors 
who attended her of saying she was like a married 
woman. During the preliminaries Sir Charles Clarke, 
a specialist in midwifery, said kindly, " Lady Flora's 
answers are so satisfactory that we need pro- 
ceed no further," to which "that brute, Sir James 
Clark " (to quote from Lady Sophia) answered, " If 
Lady Flora is so sure of her innocence, she can have 
no objection to what is proposed." 

There was little chance of keeping such an affair 
quiet. From club to newspaper was but a step, and 
by the loth of March Lady Adelaide Hastings, a 
sister of Lady Flora, wrote : " It is known all over 
London, and The Morning Post, though without the 
names, spoke so distinctly of the whole occurrence 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 263 

that there is no hiding it, even were there any advan- 
tage in so doing. In the whole truth there is nothing 
that is not honourable to all but the Queen, her Ladies, 
and Sir James Clark. The Duchess (of Kent), whose 
conduct has been most kind and like a mother to our 
dear sister, and who bitterly feels the insult, dismissed 
him from her household immediately. He is a wretch 
to have allowed himself to be put forward as the tool 
of those base women, and as a man and a physician 
has acted infamously. The Queen has not yet dis- 
missed him, but I think she must, at least if she has 
any regard to public opinion, which loudly calls at 
least for his disgrace. The Queen has been misled 
and duped, I think. I cannot believe that she knew 
all that was said in her name, or that the message 
Lady Portman brought us, as from her, had her real 
sanction. One would think nineteen was too young 
for a woman so to forget what was due to a mother, 
and to have so little regard for the feelings of one 
she had lived in intimacy with. You will be grieved 
to hear that Lord Harewood's daughter (Lady Port- 
man) could have acted as Lady Portman has done, 
but she acted very ill. After giving the Queen's mes- 
sage to Flora (and, observe, it was not till after Sir 
James Clark's insulting charge), she went * by com- 
mand ' to communicate it to the Duchess, on whose 
saying, ' She knew Flora and her family too well to 
listen to such an imputation of that kind on her,' Lady 
Portman insisted on asserting it, as Flora says in her 
letter, 'with a degree of pertinacity amounting to 
violence.' The Duchess refused to see her again. 



264 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

The Duchess wrote Mamma a letter full of affection for 
Flora, and praise of her conduct, and evidently bitterly 
feeling the Queen's conduct. She came and sat with 
Flora in her room that evening to try and comfort her, 
and has indeed all along been most affectionate, but 
it is a sad thing to feel that because they are so faithful 
to her, her friend and servant must be exposed to 
indignity from her daughter. It was the i6th of last 
month this took place. The Duchess and Flora stayed 
in her own apartments for a week, as she said she 
would not associate with the rest of the inhabitants of 
the Palace, till proper apologies had been made. She 
was then induced to receive their ample apologies, as 
the Minister (the Duke of Wellington, 5 * who Flora says 
has behaved kindly and like a good soldier) repre- 
sented that it would injure the Queen if she held out 
any longer.'' 

So far as this the matter was a most unhappy mis- 
take, caused by gossip and uncharitableness on the 
part of some, and by ignorance and an unnatural pre- 
judice on the part of the Queen. Had Victoria taken 
some means, in addition to that of expressing her 
sorrow, of showing that the blame was on her side, 
things would have smoothed down, and we might never 
have heard of the affair. But she did nothing. The 
watching public began to grow curious; if neither the 
doctor nor the two ladies were sufficiently to blame to 
warrant dismissal, had there been some truth in the 
charge after all? it not unnaturally asked. The two 
following extracts from letters written by Lady Sophia 

* The Duke of Wellington had no official post at the time. 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 265 

Hastings show the next stage of the scandal. They 
are hard and revengeful, and give an impression of 
being the reflex of the prevailing bitter political agita- 
tion as much as the result of the injury to the family. 

" have given up Sir James Clark as their 

physician, and many medical men have refused to meet 
him in consultation, as they, and Sir Henry Halford 
among them, say he has cast an odium on the profes- 
sion. I hear they cried out, either in the Park or in the 
Theatre, to the Queen, ' Dismiss Lady Portman/ and 
on Saturday she was hissed in the Park. I hope this 
may bring her to her senses, and make her give up 
the unfit people who are about her. The Royal Family 
have felt very properly about this. Princess Sophia 
sent Mamma a message through Dr. Doyle, who had 
seen her, expressive of her sympathy, and the Duchess 
of Gloucester spoke in the same way, both reprobating 
the conduct of the Queen. Even Lord Melbourne's 
friends say, ' It was a great oversight not to dismiss 
Sir James Clark.' The report is, he says, ' they dare 
not dismiss him for fear of his telling things.' ' 

Again : "I am so angry with the whole pack. As 
long as they thought they could keep matters quiet, and 
hide their own disgrace, they were all so amiable, and 
the Queen so gracious to Flora. Since her family 
have resented the affront, Her Majesty takes no notice, 
pays her not the slightest attention for weeks, till after 
she was so ill she had two medical men attending her 
for days, Her Majesty sends to inquire for her. The 
child's notice is worth nothing, but it shows the dis- 
gusting meanness of the clique. Lady Tavistock 



266 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

keeps rubbing against Flora at parties, following her, 
and trying to force herself on her acquaintance. None 
of them appear in the least sensible of the generous 
forbearance which has spared their public disgrace and 
conviction for the sake of their families. They go on 
as if they were injured. Oh, how I hate them ! " 

This attitude of the Queen, who was evidently deter- 
mined that she would dismiss no one, and do nothing 
that would satisfy the public that Lady Flora was 
innocent, and who resented the demand upon her that 
she should do so as much as the Hastings resented 
the charge made against a member of their family, led 
to very bad results. Before the end of March gossip 
had but one theme, and that was the probable guilt 
of Lady Flora Hastings. The talk was not confined 
to London; Paris, Brussels, and Vienna were discuss- 
ing the matter with interest; so much so that Captain 
Hamilton FitzGerald, who had married Lady Charlotte 
Rawdon, sister of the late Marquis of Hastings, wrote 
a letter to The Examiner, which was copied into all the 
other papers. It was a temperate, fair, and clear 
account of what had taken place, throwing no imputa- 
tion upon anyone ; and it included the following para- 
graph about Victoria : " Lady Flora is convinced that 
the Queen was surprised into the order which was 
given, and that Her Majesty did not understand what 
she was betrayed into ; for, ever since the horrid event, 
Her Majesty has shown her regret by the most gracious 
kindness to Lady Flora, and expressed it warmly, 
with ' tears in her eyes.' ' 

Captain FitzGerald was considerably blamed by 



THE QUEEN S TEAGIC MISTAKE 267 

various people for this letter, so much so that two 
months later an evidence of the continuance of the 
scandal, which had by that time assumed very serious 
proportions he wrote a second and a third letter, 
which he sent to the Marchioness of Hastings, as well 
as copies to Flora Hastings' brother, begging that they 
should be shown to everyone interested. They ran 
as follows : 

"Brussels, May soth, 1839. 

" I have been blamed by so many people for having 
made (as they say) an unnecessary exposure of the 
outrage inflicted on Lady Flora Hastings at Bucking- 
ham Palace that I think it necessary to explain why 
I published a narrative of the principal facts attending 
it. I was living at Brussels when it occurred ; every- 
one there knew of it before I did. On the I3th of 
March I received a letter from England giving me a 
minute detail of what had happened, from which I 
thought there could not be a doubt of her innocence, 
and that her brother had fully done his duty. I was 
soon undeceived. Letters poured in upon me from all 
quarters containing the same injurious reports. I 
found that Lord Hastings' proceedings were unknown, 
except in his own circle, and at Buckingham Palace; 
that he was abused in the London Clubs for not having 
acted with sufficient spirit, and that infamous stories 
were circulated about his sister, under the old plea of 
propagating lies with strictest injunctions to secrecy. 
Everyone except her own family are acquainted with 
them. Whenever I tried to trace them to their source, 



268 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

I was met by the same answer : ' I cannot give up my 
authority, and I must beg of you not to quote me, but 
I assure you the report is very generally believed/ It 
was said that the present was at least the second error, 
as when she left Buckingham Palace last year she was 
certainly pregnant. Bets were laid on the time when 
her situation would force her to { bolt ' from the Palace ! 
At Vienna it was believed on the 15th of March that 
she had remained an hour on her knees begging mercy 
of the Queen, and that Lord Hastings having, as a 
Peer, forced his way into the Royal presence, had 
upbraided Her Majesty, who made him no answer, but 
curtsied and retired when his tirade was over ! I imme- 
diately went to England; when I arrived in London 
I found all these reports in circulation. Lady Flora's 
family were not in town, and the generality of in- 
different people were inclined to believe them. The 
known fact that no one of the Queen's household had 
been punished for the insult she had received seemed 
to say that the Government did not think her assailants 
deserved punishment, or, in other words, that she had 
not been ill-treated by them. The inference from 
which was, that she had been favoured and spared 
from motives of humanity. Nothing seemed to me to 
prevent the complete establishment of this opinion, but 
the prompt punishment which the Duchess of Kent 
had inflicted on Sir James Clark by dismissing him 
from Her Royal Highness's household. I landed in 
the City, and remained there many days to ascertain 
what judgment the respectable and unprejudiced citi- 
zens had passed on the case. I consulted with many 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 269 

persons, and by their assistance was present at many 
discussions held by people who did not know me, at 
those respectable houses where men of business pass 
their evenings, and discuss the news and speculations. 
I found public opinion was universally against Lady 
Flora. The general idea was that 'she had been 
treated with unnecessary harshness/ that she ' should 
have been got quietly out of the way/ that ' such things 
occurred every day in palaces, people who place their 
daughters in them must take the consequences of doing 
so. 5 It was often said 'her brother would not have 
been so quiet if he had not known that more than he 
liked would have come out if the thing had not been 
hushed up/ I concluded that the opinion of the 
people at large was the same as that of the people of 
London, as they were both acted on by the same falla- 
cious evidence, anonymous statements in newspapers; 
and I was confirmed in my original opinion that it was 
the duty of Lady Flora's family to extinguish all false 
reports by publishing a full statement of the case, and 
openly challenging contradiction. I felt that Lord 
Hastings could not do himself justice in publishing 
his own acts, and that delicacy, brotherly love, and 
family pride might prevent him from being sufficiently 
accurate and minute in stating his sister's wrongs. I 
therefore determined to publish it myself. 

" HAMILTON FITZGERALD/' 

To the Marchioness of Hastings (Countess of 
Loudoun) Captain FitzGerald wrote : 

" DEAR LADY HASTINGS, The manner in which I 



270 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

find myself avoided by ' serviles ' for having exposed 
their infamy made it necessary for me to write my 
reasons for publishing. I sent Hastings a copy of it, 
and I now send you one. 1 have no idea of publishing 
it, unless unforeseen circumstances do not make it 
useful to do, but I beg of you either to show it, or 
give a copy of it to anyone you choose. My first was 
a statement of the facts, this is one of the lies of the 
infamous; the actors knew that Flora's established 
character would show off their filth, so they tried to 
sap it. I have both Lady Portman's and Lady 
Tavistock's statement of their conduct. By the former 
it appears the doctor went of his own accord to tell his 
suspicions to Lady Portman, and asked her opinion. 
This proves breach of trust, plotting, and malignity. 
Why, if he had suspicions, did he not go to the Duchess 
of Kent? No ! that would have stopped his agitation. 
Why did Lady Portman reduce an unanswerable 
examination into a doubtful consultation of physicians 
on the state of Flora's health? Because she knew it 
would have answered all the lies in circulation about 
former misconduct. But, bad as all this is, it is not 
as bad as Lady Tavistock's conduct. She says when 
she heard the reports in February she wished to have 
spoken of them to Flora, but was prevented by circum- 
stances, and it became her duty to tell the Prime 
Minister of them. What, I should like to know, pre- 
vented her speaking to Flora? It could be nothing 
but a combination having decided that neither Flora 
nor her Royal Mistress should be informed of what 
was going on. Lord Melbourne, having been informed 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 271 

of it, should either have stopped it, or informed the 
Duchess of it, if he believed the report. I think Lady 
Tavistock's short note would convict her and Lord 
Melbourne before any court in London." 

Of course, these letters present the case from one 
side; the pity is that nothing remains in the way of 
evidence upon the other. The Queen seems to have 
thought that the private expression of her sorrow was 
sufficient. She did not realise, or she chose to ignore, 
that her very position made the matter a public one, 
and that the whole country was talking about and 
discussing the probability of Lady Flora's guilt. 
Either she herself had taken too great a part in the 
humiliation of Lady Flora to allow herself to show 
displeasure to anyone without being unjust, or she was 
obstinately determined to do and say no more to clear 
her mother's friend and servant, or she was screening 
one of her own people. Lady Flora's reputation 
would probably have suffered all through a long life 
had she lived, because of the Queen's silence and dis- 
regard, but the illness which had afflicted her early in 
the year returned, and she died in July. 

Of this the Tories, who were, as has been said, in 
an excited, disaffected state, made great capital. Their 
papers announced the illness of Lady Flora, but 
ignored the mention of any specific disease; she was 
raised to the position of a martyr that the Queen might 
be the more effectually denounced. " Poor girl ! the 
wound has not been healed, and the calumniated lady 
is sinking under a blow inflicted by the yet unpunished 
slanderers, who still seek the favour of the Sovereign 



272 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

in the very Palace where the victim of their fiendish 
and indelicate malignity is lying with breaking heart 
and bowed down spirit. She has borne up nobly 
against the flood of demonised falsehood which nab 
been let loose upon her; now Nature can no longer 
sustain the contest, and the body is prostrated by the 
agony of the mind. We dare not trust ourselves to 
speak as we feel, but this we will say, that if Lady 
Flora Hastings die, her death will fling a blight upon 
the Palace, which Royal banquetings will never over- 
come, and regal smiles never make to pass away." 

This is but a sample of many articles and para- 
graphs. The Baroness Lehzen, though her name had 
not publicly appeared in the trouble, was regarded 
generally as the most obnoxious person about the 
Court, probably because she was never known to give 
counsel, and yet was believed to be always whispering 
in the ear of the Queen. 

Lord Tavistock and Lord Portman both wrote to 
the papers in defence of their wives, the former deny- 
ing that Lady Tavistock had taken any part in the 
Flora Hastings trouble; the latter asserting that Lady 
Portman did, on that painful occasion, neither more 
nor less than her duty towards the Court, towards Lady 
Flora Hastings herself, and towards the people of 
England, to whom, while in waiting upon her 
Sovereign, she was constitutionally responsible. Lord 
Portman, however, went further than this, if news- 
paper correspondents are to be believed. On the 3rd 
of April he took the chair when the Guardians of the 
Blandford district dined together; and on his wife's 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 273 

health being drunk he in his reply alluded to Lady 
Flora Hastings, saying that the conduct of Lady Port- 
man required no vindication, as a few months would 
testify. 

With such hardness as this around her, one under- 
stands that the Queen may also have grown somewhat 
hard; yet even if Lady Portman did not credit the 
doctors' certificate, the Queen could not have ignored 
it. It is only possible to think that she did not under- 
stand what the results of her own inaction must be ; yet 
from the beginning there were many who would have 
echoed Greville's biting comment on the affair had 
they heard it : 

" It is certain that the Court is plunged in shame 
and mortification at the exposure, that the Palace is full 
of bickerings and heart-burning, while the whole pro- 
ceeding is looked upon by society at large as to the 
last degree disgusting and disgraceful. It is really 
an exemplification of the saying that kings and valets 
are made of the refuse clay of creation; for though 
such things sometimes happen in the servants' hall, 
and housekeepers charge stillroom and kitchen maids 
with frailty, they are unprecedented and unheard-of in 
good society, and among people in high or even in 
respectable stations. It is inconceivable how Mel- 
bourne can have permitted this disgraceful and mis- 
chievous scandal, which cannot fail to lower the 
character of the Court in the eyes of the world. There 
may be objections to Melbourne's extraordinary 
domiciliation in the Palace, but the compensation 
ought to be found in his good sense and experience 

T 



274 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

preventing the possibility of such tricasseries as 
these." 

In June, Lady Flora suffered from what was 
regarded as a bilious fever, from which she seemed to 
be recovering; but it returned, and the vomiting 
weakened her so much that her physician Dr. 
Chambers suggested that some relatives should 
come to stay with her at the Palace. So her sister, 
Lady Sophia, went, and was there until all was over; 
and so filled with bitterness was she at the treatment 
given to Lady Flora that she would not have a bed 
prepared for her, but rested when necessary on the 
sofa. 

Lady Portman was said to be in great distress of 
mind during the last illness of her victim, but it was 
not sufficient to prevent her from amusing herself in 
the gay world, and she seems to have made some 
remarks which aggravated the injury which she had 
done. Lady Selina Henry, another sister, wrote while 
Flora was ill : " In a letter from Sophia to me there 
is a speech of Lady Portman's repeated so gross that 
she must be a beast; Flora says, ' As for Ladies 
Tavistock and Portman, I can never open my lips to 
them again/ I think she knows this horror that Lady 
Portman has said." 

Lady Tavistock seems to have felt some compunc- 
tion in having interfered, for the day before Flora died 
her doctor received the following clumsy and ineffec- 
tive note from Lord Tavistock : 

"Spring Gardens, July ^fh, 1839. 
" DEAR DR. CHAMBERS. If you see a favourable 




LADY PORTMAN. 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 275 

opportunity, Lady Tavistock wishes much you would 
say a kind word for her to Lady F. Hastings, towards 
whom she has not only never harboured an unkindly 
thought, but has been deeply interested in her well- 
being. She has been greatly distressed by the cruel 
and unfounded attacks that have so long been made 
upon her in some newspapers, and it would afford her 
pleasure to be able to convey a message of kindness to 
your patient, if you think it could be done without dis- 
turbing her ; but you will, of course, exercise your own 
judgment and discretion about naming the subject to 
her. Yours truly, TAVISTOCK." 

Dr. Chambers took this letter to Lady Sophia 
Hastings, who returned the following answer : 

" If I would have given the message, it is now 
beyond her comprehension, but you may say if it 
would be any consolation to Lady Tavistock I refer 
her to the Bishop of London." In telling her mother 
of this reply, Sophia adds, " I hear Princess Sophia 
was enchanted when Lady Cornwallis told her this 
yesterday. She is very anxious to know if anything 
of regret had been expressed." 

As to this matter of regret, though it was expressed 
for the death of Flora Hastings, it was, as far as I can 
find out, only once connected with any allusion to the 
scandal. The Queen sent for Dr. Chambers and saw 
him alone, though the Baroness was in the next room. 
Her Majesty seemed much subdued, and after thank- 
ing him for the report he had sent, expressed her sorrow 
that suffering had been added to bodily illness. Lady 
Sophia commented upon this : 

T 2 



276 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

"I told him I was very glad Her Majesty should 
have appeared to feel, and that she had done me the 
honour to enquire for me this morning. The Duchess 
of Gloucester was very much displeased she had not 
done it before, tho' I believe she sent down that sad 
Friday morning, when I was collecting poor Flora's 
things, and I have an indistinct idea of sending some 
answer, or Reichenbach (Lady Flora's maid) did for 



me. J) 



A State ball arranged for Friday, June 28th, was 
postponed because of " the melancholy state of Lady 
Flora Hastings,' 5 and a Royal banquet arranged for 
July 4th, the day on which Lady Flora died, was also 
countermanded. The Countess of Loudoun wrote 
some impassioned letters to the Queen, which eventu- 
ally drew from Lord Melbourne the response that the 
Queen had acknowledged the unhappy error to Lady 
Flora, and it was not intended that any other step 
should be taken. This decision was, most unfor- 
tunately, adhered to. It may be that Melbourne, 
always praised for his generosity of mind, may have 
urged a different course upon his Royal mistress, and 
that she, swayed by less wise counsels or by her own 
pride, would not heed him. But it seems never to 
have been acknowledged by the Court that the terrible 
publicity given to the affair, which had been eagerly 
seized upon in the interest of party by the Press, had 
altered the whole matter, and that action of some sort 
was imperatively demanded. Lord Melbourne, who 
hated rows, who was inclined to concede too much 
rather than too little to obtain peace, and who was one 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 277 

of the justest and kindest of men, must have suffered 
torment through this period. 

If only Her Majesty had been royal enough and 
wise enough to have made public the affair from her 
point of view, and, if she shrank from ruining a man 
like Clark by dismissing him, have boldly said that 
she could not do it, this matter would not have re- 
mained to burden her thoughts with shame; but she 
wrapped herself in an inadequate covering of dignity, 
trying to believe the antiquated saying that a Queen 
can do no wrong. As a matter of fact, Dr. Clark 
entirely lost his reputation with the public over 
this matter, and there is something pathetic in the 
request Victoria made to Albert before their marriage : 

" I have a request to make too, viz., that you will 
appoint poor Clark your physician; you need not 
consult him unless you wish it. It is only an honorary 
title, and would make him very happy." Whether the 
Prince did this I do not know. To the end of the 
Queen's life this tragic affair must have pained Her 
Majesty; and she certainly wished it to be forgotten by 
everyone, for never anywhere is there given any men- 
tion of it. It is ignored in most of the " lives " of 
Her Majesty, and every scrap of allusion to it is with- 
drawn from her own letters and writings; she herself 
later wrote of destroying most of the letters which 
belonged to that, " the most unsatisfactory " period of 
her life. It must not be forgotten that the deepest 
injury of all was inflicted by those who were the first 
to make this matter public, that is to say, by those who 
first reported it, for unworthy reasons, in the public 



278 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Press. Many mistakes as bad as this have been made 
and atoned for in private, and the sense of injury 
has disappeared; but when all the world knows of a 
shameful thing, then the atonement should be public. 

When Lord Hastings paid the doctors and nurses, 
his money was returned with the information that hand- 
some fees had been received. Lady Flora's maid 
showed him a brooch and a banknote for 50, which 
she offered to put in the fire ; this he advised her not 
to do, so she banked it. Though it is not asserted in 
so many words, it is implied that the Queen had taken 
this way of showing her compunction. The presents to 
the maid had been conveyed to her through Viscountess 
Forbes. Lady Sophia, anxious as she was all through 
to show the keenness of her resentment, secured 
another note of the same amount, put it in an envelope, 
and returned it through the same channel. Of Lady 
Forbes, Sophia writes bitterly in the following letter, 
in which she also emphasises the painful position of 
the Duchess of Kent : 

" I found Dr. Chambers knew nothing accurately 
of Sir James Clark's conduct, so I told him the real 
state of the case; and as at Harewood and at Lord 
Tavistock's they had not told him the facts, I did. 
I parted from him with more feeling of regret than I 
did from anyone else. I saw the poor Duchess of 
Kent, who is f floored/ I think. She was very kind to 
me, and about all of us ; but she is beat down, she can 
fight no longer, and she will soon be completely under 
orders. I saw Fanny Forbes (Viscountess Forbes) and 
cleared my mind to her of her conduct. I cannot say 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 279 

that there was much good feeling in her going to the 
Opera every night, tho' the Queen told her she 
need not; and tho' she came in when she came back, 
her flighty, flirty, lively manner, just out of the world, 
jarred horribly with one's feelings. When one night 
she came in with a jaunty step, we had just kept Flora 
from a fainting fit, and had sent off for Mr. Merriman, 
as he had told us such an attack might at any time 

prove fatal. When Mr. M came I said, ' Thank 

God it is only a fainting fit, 5 and he said in such a 
melancholy way, ' Only a fainting fit, Lady Sophia, 
and who could tell how that might end ? ' And Lady 
Forbes says she loved Flora like a sister, and anxiety 
and watching has afflicted her health ! She offered to 
give back the hair Reichenbach gave her [after Lady 
Flora was dead], but will not take out that given her 
by the Queen. I told her that hair was probably 
false, as I could not trace how the Queen got it, but 
that she did not care for. The Duchess of Kent did 
not give it, for I asked her." 

To remove entirely any lingering feeling of doubt, 
Lady Sophia caused a post-mortem examination to be 
made, that a definite name might be given to the illness 
which brought about her sister's death, and she writes 
thus of it to her mother : 

" I have to hope, my beloved mother, that I shall 
not be so unhappy as to incur your displeasure, or to 
have added to your agony, but if it be, on me be the 
blame, for no one suggested it to me. I proposed it to 
Hastings, and indeed it was due to the medical men 
who have been so very attentive, and that was an 



280 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

' examination.' It took place at 6 o'clock yesterday 
evening, as late as it was possible. One was proposed, 
but Chambers would put it off to a later hour. I left 
her at once when he came, having wished her good- 
bye, and put round her neck the locket with your and 
Papa's hair, and I said that I trusted to him that it 
remained there. He burst into tears, and promised 
me. John remained the whole time out of respect 
while the surgeons were there, and it was only a slight 
operation, no uncovering, nothing to wound the feel- 
ings, not so bad as Sir James Clark. She was merely 
uncovered over her stomach, as if it were a wound in 
her side. John put the locket on her the last thing with 
his own hands, and he, Charles, and Hastings are at 
the Palace every night and day, and Reichenbach and 
the nurse sit up. Every respect is shown. God bless 
you. I am late." 

There were five doctors present at the examination, 
Drs. Chambers, Holland, and Merriman, Sir A. 
Cooper and Sir B. Brodie. The last officiated, and 
it was found that Flora Hastings died from enlarge- 
ment of the liver, which, pressing downwards, produced 
enlargement of the abdomen and inflammation. 

It was curious that The Times, then devoted to 
Tory influence, should have struck a different note 
from the other Tory papers, and have asked, somewhat 
pertinently, though much to the anger of the Hastings 
family, " Did the Ladies of the Bedchamber cause the 
liver complaint of which Lady Flora Hastings died?" 

The death of the maligned lady brought public 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 281 

indignation up to fever-heat, and the Queen wisely 
remained in her Palace, for to be hissed in the street 
is worse than to be forced to sit silently under a parson 
who has licence to outrage all one's cherished ideas. 
At the Opera one night someone asked the box-keeper 
if Her Majesty would be present, and the man replied : 

" Oh, no ; she dare not come ! " 

As for the Ministry, it was deeply depressed at the 
whole occurrence, and Lady Cowper told someone that 
her brother, Lord Melbourne, felt that its tragic ending 
was the worst blow the Government had so far 
received. 

Lady Flora was buried at Loudoun by her own wish, 
for she had said, " I do not think I shall ever look 
upon Loudoun again, and I wish to be taken there. 
Under other circumstances I should have said, ' let the 
tree lie where it falls/ but as it is I wish to lie there." 

At four o'clock in the morning of Wednesday, July 
1 2th, the coffin was removed from Buckingham Palace. 
The Guards and Life Guards were under arms all 
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to show 
respect to the dead woman, but there was also a tre- 
mendous body of police, who accompanied the sad 
procession as far as Temple Bar, where they gave place 
to the City police. This was done, Sophia Hastings 
was told, to prevent the Queen's carriage from being 
pulled to pieces, of which she says, "which I never 
expected." The fact that the Royal carriage was to 
follow was kept so secret that the rest of the Royal 
family did not know what to do. The whole matter 



282 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

had been so turned to party uses that they did not 
like to show this public mark of respect if the Queen 
did not set the example. The Duchess of Gloucester 
found out in time, and she vexed the Duke of Cam- 
bridge very much by not letting him know. Princess 
Sophia was the only one who followed her own wishes 
irrespective of the actions of her niece, saying con- 
temptuously of the others that they were but time- 
servers to care what the Queen did. 

Though the hour of the start had been given as six, 
there was a great and silent crowd collected to watch 
the carriages pass at four o'clock, hats being lifted all 
along the route. Many comments of a strong nature 
were uttered; thus one respectable-looking man 
pointed with his stick to Her Majesty's carriage, 
saying, " What is the use of her gilded trumpery after 
she has killed her?" A policeman hearing this, went 
up and looked the man in the face, probably hoping 
to recognise or to remember him. Another man was 
heard to say, " Ah, there's the victim, but where's the 
murderer?" Sophia Hastings, who retailed these 
incidents with relish, said of the drive through London : 
" Not one thing pained me ; the feeling was respect to 
her, and compassionate respect to myself, and total 
absence of bustle, noise, or any confusion. Even at 
the wharf you might have felt in a chapel, and I am 
told many were disappointed " (probably that there was 
no disturbance). 

The following letter was sent by the Duchess of 
Kent, three weeks after the calamity, to Lady Selina 
Henry : 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 283 

"Buckingham Palace, July 2jth, 1839. 

"Mv DEAR LADY SELINA, My servant returned 
only the day before yesterday, or I would have written 
to you sooner to enquire how your excellent mother 
was after that most sad ceremony. I feel quite sure 
it is not necessary I should tell you how sincerely I 
felt for her, for you, and your sisters on that melan- 
choly day. Also your poor sister Sophia; I fear she 
was very unwell on that day. Your and my severe 
loss appears to me still a dream ! Alas ! a very pain- 
ful dream. I shall be very much obliged to you and 
your sister Adelaide to let me know how you are all. 
I heard from your dear sister Sophia to-day that your 
mother is still at Loudoun. I hope she will soon be 
able to go near the sea. Be so good as to give her 
my most affectionate regards, also to remember me 
most kindly to your sister, and to give my compliments 
to Captain Henry, who I am sorry I did not see before 
I left town. I was really not in a state to see him. 
Your dear sister Sophia was not very well when she 
left town, but I hope the change of air and scene will 
be very beneficial to her. I hope, my dear Lady Selina, 
you will not quite forget the friend of our beloved 
Flora, and believe me always to remain, 

" Your very sincere friend, VICTORIA." 

Lady Hastings died six months after her daughter. 
Sir James Clark did his best to prove himself innocent 
of all harshness and indiscretion, but the attempt was 
not very satisfactory. He retained the Queen's favour 
until he died, in 1870. Lady Portman also held Her 



284 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Majesty's friendship until 1865, when her death 
occurred. As for Victoria, she never, as has been 
said, broke her silence, and something like general 
hatred was felt for Baroness Lehzen, who was believed 
to have been her adviser all through. As Sir Sidney 
Lee says in his Biography of the Queen, however 
cogently Victoria's attitude might be explained, the 
affair " came near proving a national calamity through 
the widespread hostility which it provoked against the 
Court." 

Urged by some members of his family, the Marquis 
of Hastings sent a full account of all that had occurred 
to the Morning Post, his letter occupying eleven 
columns, and in this Melbourne was entirely excul- 
pated, also Baroness Lehzen, but it did not elucidate 
the name of the person with whom the first suggestion 
arose ; many believed the Queen's youthfully autocratic 
ways were at the root of the offence, while others did 
their best to distribute the blame. 

Lady Flora was the author of many pretty verses, 
and her collected poems were published after her 
death. The following, " Lady Flora Hastings' Be- 
quest," which was found among her papers, was not, 
however, included in the collection : 

" Oh, let the kindred circle, 
Far in our Northern land, 
From heart to heart draw closer 
Affection's strength 'ning band; 
To fill my place long- vacant, 
Soon may our loved ones learn ; 
For to our pleasant dwelling 
I never shall return. 



THE QUEEN'S TRAGIC MISTAKE 285 

Peace to each heart that troubled 
My course of happy years ; 
Peace to each angry spirit 
That quenched my life in tears ! 
Let not the thought of vengeance 
Be mingled with regret; 
Forgive my wrongs, dear Mother ! 
Seek even to forget. 

Give to the friend, the stranger, 
Whatever once was mine, 
Nor keep the smallest token 
To wake fresh tears of thine, 
Save one, one loved memorial, 
With thee I fain would leave ; 
'Tis one that will not teach thee 
Yet more for me to grieve. 

'Twas mine when early childhood 

Turn'd to its sacred page 

The gay, the thoughtless glances 

Of almost infant age; 

'Twas mine through days yet brighter, 

The joyous years of youth, 

When never had affliction 

Bow'd down mine ear to truth. 

'Twas mine when deep devotion 
Hung breathless on each line 
Of pardon, peace, and promise 
Till I could call them mine ; 
Till o'er my soul's awakening 
The gift of Heavenly love, 
The spirit of adoption 
Descended from above. 

Unmarked, unhelped, unheeded, 
In heart I've walked alone; 
Unknown the prayers I've uttered, 
The hopes I held unknown. 



286 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Till in the hour of trial, 

Upon the mighty train, 

With strength and succour laden, 

To bear the weight of pain. 

Then, Oh ! I fain would leave thee, 
For now my hours are few, 
The hidden mine of treasure, 
Whence all my strength I drew, 
Take, then, the gift, my mother; 
And, till thy path is trod, 
Thy child's last token cherish, 
It is the Book of God." 



It is interesting to know that Sir James Clark was 
a Navy doctor, who by the friendship of King Leopold 
was placed in the household of the Duchess of Kent 
in 1834, and as Navy doctors have no practice among 
women, he could have known very little about the 
matter when he so rashly judged Lady Flora 
Hastings. For the last ten years of his life he lived 
at Birk Hall, Bagshot Park, which was lent him by 
the Queen. By those who knew him he was regarded 
as an estimable, upright man. 



CHAPTER XII. 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE. 

"The noble Duke knows he is a Protestant; all England 
knows he is a Protestant ; the whole world knows he is a 
Protestant. " Melbourne. 

" There is no prohibition as to marriage with a Catholic. It 
is only attended with a penalty, and that penalty is merely 
the forfeiture of the Crown." Brougham. 

WHEREVER the blame of the Flora Hastings affair 
lay, it must be admitted that with it and the Bed- 
chamber squabble the Queen had had a nerve-breaking 
time. If the people had shown in a vague way before 
that they were passing judgment upon her, they now 
did not fail to announce that the judgment was a thing 
assured. Her Drawing Rooms and Levees were 
almost deserted; there were whispers that she was 
running heavily into debt. " It is probable that before 
1841 the help of a now powerful house will be 
required." 

" She's not in debt tho' some have said it, or 
If, why then I'm not a creditor." 

was a couplet that it was pretended was the work of 
Sir John Conroy. 

In addition to this there were rumours that the split 



288 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

between the Queen and her mother was complete, that 
disputes constantly took place, and that the Duchess 
was feeling anew the slights put upon Sir John Conroy : 
' There are insinuations that the Duchess of Kent is 
malignantly enraged at the removal of Sir John 
Conroy, and that there are deep dissensions between 
mother and daughter," is one paragraph of many. 
When we remember that the animus against Sir John 
was believed to be one of the reasons for showing so 
much indelicate harshness to Lady Flora Hastings, it 
is easy to understand that the Duchess would have 
liked to bring the matter of Conroy to a head once 
for all. 

Melbourne had been gravely troubled by Victoria's 
display of temper and self-will over the Bedchamber 
question, and reports were now current everywhere of 
scenes of bad temper at the Palace ; " even noble 
dames can brook no longer the rebuffs and contumely 
to which they are exposed." " Tudor tempest bursts," 
was the expression used by one journal. 

At the end of August Leopold and his Queen came 
to England, staying at Ramsgate, and it was asserted 
that the visit had the express purpose of an attempt to 
reconcile the Queen and the Duchess of Kent, though 
before the King of the Belgians went away it was said 
that both he and Lord Melbourne were suffering from 
the Queen's unevenness of temper ; to which was added 
the news that the Duchess intended to go abroad for 
a time. 

Poor little Queen ! When we private people have 
gone through a period of shock and trouble, so that 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 289 

our nerves are all a-j angle, we indulge our little tem- 
pest-bursts, are rude to those about us and let the 
trouble wear itself away, without more than half-a- 
dozen people knowing or caring about it. But this 
imperious and wilful girl could utter no word that was 
not reported outside; in spite of her youth she was 
expected to be perfect, and when she proved entirely 
human and sometimes wrong-headed, the whole nation 
talked of it as a crime. 

Only a year and a bit had passed since she had said 
that she would not marry for two or three years, yet 
now she was wondering where to look for sympathy 
and support. Of course, it was not the helpful hand 
of a husband that she needed, she was quite sure of 
that, and yet subconsciously this solution must have 
presented itself to her mind; so much so that a little 
earlier she had felt it necessary to impress once more 
upon her uncle that she did not mean yet to take the 
important step. It was in the midst of the indignation 
which followed Lady Flora Hastings's death that she 
wrote again to Leopold on this subject, probably in 
answer to a letter from him urging the marriage. She 
said that she was anxious that the family should under- 
stand that even if she should like Albert she would 
make no final promise during that year and would not 
marry for two or three years. She spoke of her youth, 
her great repugnance to change her position, and the 
fact that no anxiety was shown in the country for her 
marriage. The following paragraph is natural in one 
who had been practically disposed of in her childhood 
and who for two years had had a husband urged on 

u 



290 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

her with a faint but unremitting pressure by her 
uncle : 

" Though all the reports of Albert are most favour- 
able, and though I have little doubt I shall like him, 
still one can never answer beforehand for feelings, 
and I may not have the feeling for him which is 
requisite to insure happiness. I may like him as a 
friend, as a cousin, and as a brother, but not more ; and 
should this be the case (which is not likely), I am very 
anxious that it should be understood .that I am not 
guilty of any breach of promise, for I never gave any. 
I am sure you will understand my anxiety, for I should 
otherwise, were this not completely understood, be in 
a very painful position. As it is, I am rather nervous 
about the visit (a suggestion that the young Princes 
should come to England), for the subject I allude to 
is not an agreeable one to me. 53 

Leopold was wise enough to put no further pressure 
upon her, but to leave circumstances to do their work. 
There can be no doubt but that the Queen was very 
lonely and ill at ease just then. She had lost the 
confidence of the nation, and her pride stood in the 
way of her setting herself right with it. By her own 
acts she had alienated her mother, with whom, as a 
matter of fact, she showed no signs of renewing the lost 
intimacy; she had clung to the people accused of 
wrong behaviour in the Hastings affair, yet the sight 
of them constantly reminded her of her humiliation; 
and through prejudice she had turned her back upon 
a vast number of delightful people, whose only sin 
was to hold different political views from herself; 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 291 

in truth, there seemed to be no real comfort 
anywhere. 

When the King and Queen of the Belgians went to 
Windsor after their stay at Ramsgate, and Leopold 
saw how matters stood, he came to the conclusion that 
it was time for him to act ; thus on his return home he 
instructed his two nephews to go and pay the promised 
visit to England. 

Gossip about Victoria's marriage was always ready 
when other excitements failed, and it was now said that 
Prince Albert had refused to accept the position of 
husband to his cousin, and that the Camarilla had 
failed in its object, and was now bending its energies 
to the keeping of the Queen unmarried, its method 
being to harp on the fate of Princess Charlotte, in the 
hope that that would deter her from making any matri- 
monial arrangement. Which, of course, was all non- 
sense. The Prince was preparing for his visit, and 
Victoria was preparing a way for herself which should 
at least halve all her troubles, even though it meant 
also submitting her own autocratic will. 

In the summer of 1839 Stockmar gave an interesting 
criticism of the character of Prince Albert, which I 
reproduce, for it is by no means the judgment of one 
who flatters : 

" The Prince bears a striking resemblance to his 
mother, and, differences apart, is in many respects both 
in body and mind cast in her mould. He has the same 
intellectual quickness and adroitness, the same clever- 
ness, the same desire to appear good-natured and 
amiable to others, and the same talent for fulfilling this 

U 2 



292 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

desire, the same love of espiegleries and of treating 
things and men from the comical side, the same way 
of not occupying himself long with the same subject. 

" His constitution cannot be said to be a strong one, 
though I believe by careful attention to diet he could 
easily strengthen it and give it stamina. After exert- 
ing himself, he often for a short time appears pale and 
exhausted. He dislikes violent exertion, and both 
morally and physically tries to save himself. Full of 
the best intentions and noblest designs, he often fails 
in carrying them into practice. 

" His judgment is in many subjects beyond his years, 
but, up to the present time, he has not shown the least 
possible interest in political matters. Even the most 
important events of this kind never, even at trie time 
of their taking place, induce him to read a newspaper. 
He has, as it is, a perfect horror of all foreign news- 
papers, and says that the only readable and necessary 
paper is the Augsburger Allgemeine, and even this he 
does not read through. In the matter of les belles 
manieres there is much to desire. This deficiency must 
be principally laid to the account of his having in his 
earliest years been deprived of the intercourse and 
supervision of a mother and of any cultivated woman. 
He will always have more success with men than with 
women. He is too little empresse with the latter, too 
indifferent, and too reserved." 

As a matter of fact, Prince Albert was too reserved 
with men as well as with women, and to this must be 
attributed the fact that he was never really popular in 
England. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 293 

The Morning Post of August 22nd made a prema- 
ture announcement of the marriage : " A matrimonial 
alliance is about to take place between Her Britannic 
Majesty and His Serene Highness Prince Albert 
Francis/' &c. Even in those days it seems that the 
newspapers were so eager to be first with their news 
that they sometimes went a long way ahead of events. 

It was not until October loth that Albert and his 
brother arrived at Windsor, the Prince presumably not 
knowing what his fate was likely to be, but resolved 
to tell the Queen that if she did not then make up her 
mind he would no longer be able to await her decision. 
This pronouncement must have been caused by the 
intelligent tutorial instructions of Leopold, for Albert 
had only then just attained his twentieth birthday, and 
could scarcely have feared a life of obscurity if his 
cousin declined to take him as her husband. 

On the 1 4th of the month Victoria gave a ball, and 
at that she openly showed him a sign of her preference 
by taking some flowers from her bouquet and offering 
them to him. There being no buttonhole in which to 
place them, Albert took out a penknife, cut a hole in 
his uniform, and fixed the flowers over his heart. The 
next day the Queen sent for her cousin to come to her 
private room, and there to quote Albert's words when 
writing to his grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha she declared, " in a genuine out- 
burst of love and affection, that I had gained her whole 
heart, and would make her intensely happy if I would 
make the sacrifice of sharing her life with her ; for she 
said she looked on it as a sacrifice; the only thing 



294 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

that troubled her was that she did not think she was 
worthy of me. The joyous openness of manner in 
which she told me this quite enchanted me, and I was 
quite carried away by it." 

Both the young people poured out their hopes to 
Stockmar, who was in Germany at the time. " Albert 
has completely won my heart," wrote the Queen, " and 
all was settled between us this morning. ... I feel 
certain he will make me very happy. I wish I could 
say I felt as certain of my making him happy, but I 
shall do my best." Albert enthused : " Victoria is so 
good and kind to me that I am often puzzled to believe 
that I should be the object of so much affection. . . . 
More, or more seriously, I cannot write. I am at this 
moment too bewildered to do so." 

But even in this matter of the heart Victoria's sense 
of her exalted position never left her. When talking 
to the Duchess of Gloucester about making the declara- 
tion before Parliament, the old lady asked her if it 
was not a very nervous thing to do, upon which she 
answered, " I did a much more nervous thing a while 
ago. I had to propose to Albert." Then she went on 
to explain that of course it would not have been pos- 
sible for him to have proposed to the Queen of Eng- 
land; "he would never have presumed to have taken 
such a liberty." 

This is almost too good to be true, but as it is given 
in the Peel papers it may be regarded as reliable. To 
have loved a man and to have spoken of him in this 
way seems incredible ; only a very young and inexperi- 
enced person could have done it, for the lover does not 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 295 

weigh etiquette against an honest expression of love. 
However, Her Majesty was truly young in her love and 
in her love-making, and had much to learn concerning 
the inner sentiments of life. That she learned it all 
through we believe, for we are told that her love for 
the man whom her uncle chose for her deepened and 
widened, so that her marriage was as happy as the most 
kind-hearted could have wished. 

It is not to be wondered at that a girl brought up in 
such a guarded, reticent atmosphere as the Queen had 
been should be unduly reticent all through her days. 
The curious thing is that the impression she made upon 
all whom she met was that of absolute frankness ; yet 
she had for eighteen years been accustomed to hide 
her thoughts and her emotions, to suppress all ten- 
dency to confidences, and it can scarcely be wondered 
at that in a matter which was very personal her secre- 
tiveness should reassert itself. It is impossible not to 
feel sorry that Melbourne should have been the person 
against whom she armed her mind in this case. The 
Queen did not speak to him of her marriage, neither 
by consulting him nor telling him of her intentions. 
He knew nothing but the report given in the Morning 
Post, and the talk of the clubs and the streets. At last 
he spoke to her, telling her that he could not pretend 
to be ignorant of the reports going about, nor could 
she ; that though he would not presume to ask her what 
she intended to do, it was his duty to tell her that if 
she had any intentions it was necessary that the 
Ministers should know them. She replied that she 
had nothing to tell him. A somewhat doubtful state- 



296 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ment, for she had already written to Leopold, asking 
him to keep her cousins from arriving before the 3rd of 
October, as she would have a number of Ministers at 
Windsor on that day, who, if they saw the Coburgs 
arrive, might say the Princes had come "to settle 
matters" 

A fortnight after Melbourne spoke and a day before 
her proposal to the Prince she told him that the matter 
was settled. These little evidences of haughty inde- 
pendence raised many apprehensions in the minds of 
those who served her, for they asked, "If she will deal 
thus with a Minister whom she likes, what will she do 
when those are in power whom she does not like ? " 

It is, of course, quite arguable that Victoria wished 
to have the opportunity, like other girls, of making up 
her mind in quiet and of having her little romance to 
herself. But she was not like other girls ; and she did 
not forget what she considered the duties of her posi- 
tion when proposing to Albert, yet when those duties 
clashed with her inclination she allowed sentimentality 
to prevent her performing them. 

The reports that Melbourne feared the loss of his 
power if Victoria married, and therefore was doing his 
best to induce her to keep single, were not confined to 
the gossip of London and Paris. There were many 
who wondered how Melbourne would behave if he saw 
before him the probability of the loss of his influence, 
as an introduction to the loss of his position. One of 
these was the Duke of Wellington, his great rival in 
personal weight at Court. Wellington felt that the 
genuineness of Melbourne's devotion would be tested 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 297 

by such an event, for the old general knew that if, from 
personal or party motives, Melbourne wished to put off 
the Queen's marriage, he could easily find specious, 
in fact almost unanswerable, reasons for such a course. 
Then if Victoria really made her choice, pretexts would 
be easy for causing delays. Thus our Prime Minister 
was watched with curiosity or malice from all sides. 
What will he do ? Will he think of himself ? Will he 
act the good father's part? Will he feel disappointed 
that he is not the chosen man ? Such were the questions 
prompted by those who knew much, little, or nothing, 
and these questions were asked everywhere, while the 
wags of the Press announced that the Devil's Tower at 
Windsor had been assigned to him as a residence. 

But Melbourne had watched the Queen with some- 
thing more than affectionate criticism ; he saw that she 
had grave faults which, if not trained into virtues, 
would lead her into evil, and he knew that outside 
influence would never be strong enough to counteract 
them. Gravely and anxiously he talked over all the 
possibilities of the matter with King Leopold. He 
felt that Albert, a young, untried man, .who knew 
nothing of public business, and had practically no 
knowledge of the world, might be a great danger in 
himself, yet on the other hand he thought it very pos- 
sible that the union might be all the more successful 
because of the youth of the two, and that Victoria's 
influence would probably complete and strengthen the 
character of the young Prince. Melbourne had been 
assailed on every side for his residence in the Palace, 
for .his untiring devotion to the Queen,, yet it was his 



298 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

pride to be recognised as being the faithful and affec- 
tionate friend of Her Majesty. He knew well enough 
that he would be giving his own power into the hands 
of another, yet his sole desire was to do the best he 
could for his Queen and his country. It was natural 
in these circumstances that he should wish to know 
the Queen's intentions in the matter, and when he re- 
ceived the news on the i4th of October, the day before 
Victoria's momentous interview with Albert, his natural 
sweetness of disposition showed itself ; for he said : 
" I think your news will be very well received every- 
where ; for I hear that there is an anxiety now that it 
should be, and I am very glad of it. You will be 
much more comfortable; for a woman cannot stand 
alone for any time, in whatever position she may be." 

Of Melbourne in this instance Leopold said to the 
Queen, he " has shown himself the amiable and excel- 
lent man I always took him for. Another man in his 
position, instead of your happiness, might have merely 
looked to his own personal views and imaginary in- 
terests. Not so our good friend; he saw what was 
best for you ; and I feel it deeply to his praise." 

The Queen wrote to all her Royal relatives to impart 
her great news, and in writing to the Dowager Queen 
there was a curious mistake made by her secretary in 
addressing the envelope. Lord Howe, at his private 
residence, received a letter addressed to Lord How, 
the envelope being whitey-brown inscribed " per rail- 
road." He supposed it to be one of many letters he 
was in the habit of receiving from people who wanted 
money or subscriptions, or permission to dedicate some- 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 299 

thing to him, or something equally unimportant, and 
very nearly threw it into the fire. However, he thought 
better of it, and opened the curious missive to dis- 
cover a letter from Queen Victoria announcing to 
Queen Adelaide her approaching marriage; it was 
written by her own hand, was instinct with kindness and 
affection, and " as full of love as Juliet ! " Said Sir 
Robert Peel, in commenting on this, " I suppose some 
footboy at Windsor Castle had enclosed and directed it 
to Lord How. If it had been disregarded, and had thus 
remained unanswered, what an outcry there would have 
been of neglect, insult, and so forth and not unjustly." 
When Daniel O'Connell heard the news he made 
an extravagant speech at Bandon before the engage- 
ment, as a matter of fact in which he said : " We 
must be we are loyal to our young and lovely 
Queen God bless her ! We must be we are 
attached to the Throne, and to the lovely being by 
whom it is filled. She is going to be married ! I 
wish she may have as many children as my grand- 
mother had two-and-twenty ! God bless the Queen ! 
I am a father and a grandfather; and in the face of 
heaven I pray with as much honesty and fervency for 
Queen Victoria as I do for any one of my own progeny. 
The moment I heard of the daring and audacious 
menaces of the Tories towards the Sovereign l I 
promulgated, through the press, my feelings of de- 
testation and my determination on the matter ! Oh ! 
if I be not greatly mistaken, Pd get in one day 500,000 
brave Irishmen to defend the life, the honour, and 
1 The Bradshaw incident and others. 



300 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the person of the beloved young lady by whom 
England's Throne is now filled ! Let every man in 
this vast and multitudinous assembly stretched out 
before me, who is loyal to the Queen and would 
defend her to the last, lift up his right hand ! (The 
entire assembly responded to the appeal.") There are 
hearts in those hands. I tell you that, if necessity 
required, there would be swords in them ! (Awful 
cheering)" Thus reported the Annual Register of 
that date. 

This sounds absurd and high falutin', but it must 
have warmed the heart of the young lady. However, 
if some people welcomed the marriage, there were 
others who foretold from it national calamity. I have 
shown how keenly the ultra-Tories hated the idea of 
another Coburg alliance, and as soon as the matter 
was assured the whole Papist scare recommenced. 
Society people were filled with disdain for the Prince's 
birth and position " a younger son of a petty and un- 
distinguished German Duke " ! Albert was also 
accused of want of knowledge, want of manners, want 
of morals, and, in fact, a general poverty in all that 
made a good man ; besides this greatest crime of all- 
he was said to be a Whig ! Thus the Queen had by 
no means regained her popularity with the disaffected 
of her people, and all the bitterness of feeling against 
her came out when the necessary arrangements were 
being made for Albert's reception into English life. 

It is not difficult to see that with her sense of Royal 
infallibility the Queen was likely to show little tact, 
and indeed she made such extravagant demands for 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 301 

her prospective husband that dismay was felt even by 
her warmest supporters. 

However, the first thing for her to do was to announce 
to her Privy Council, which was summoned to Bucking- 
ham Palace for the 23rd of November, her decision 
to accept Prince Albert as her husband. There were 
eighty-three Councillors present, among them being the 
Duke of Wellington, who had just alarmed the country 
by having a serious attack supposed to be paralytic 
on the previous Monday, and the results of which were 
visible in a slight twist of the right corner of his mouth, 
and some constraint in using the left arm. When all 
the Privy Councillors were assembled, the doors were 
thrown open, and the Queen, dressed in a plain morn- 
ing gown, wearing a bracelet in which the Prince's 
portrait was set, was handed in by the Lord Chamber- 
lain. She bowed to her Councillors, sat down and 
said, " Your Lordships will be seated." Then she un- 
folded a paper and read, with " a mixture of self- 
possession and feminine delicacy," her declaration, 
which ran : 

" It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with 
the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Deeply 
impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which 
I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision 
without mature consideration, nor without feeling a 
strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty 
God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and 
serve the interests of my country." 

She read, we are told, in a clear, sonorous, sweet- 
toned voice, but her hands trembled excessively, 



302 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

though her eyes were bright and calm, neither bold nor 
downcast, but firm and soft. Several times she looked 
towards the Duke of Wellington, for he was still ill, 
and she had been anxious about him ; and when it was 
all over she wrote in her journal : " Lord Melbourne I 
saw, looking at me with tears in his eyes, but he was 
not near me. ... I felt that my hands shook, but I 
did not make one mistake. I felt more happy and 
thankful when it was over." In a letter to Prince 
Albert she wrote : " I wish you could have seen the 
crowds of people who cheered me loudly as I left the 
Palace for Windsor. I am so happy to-day ! Oh, if 
only you could be here ! " 

For three months Victoria's emotions alternated 
between happiness and annoyance, for she could by no 
means get all she desired for her beloved Albert. The 
political animus against herself made the Opposition 
captious, and they and the Lords behaved like naughty 
children, finding fault with everything. From the very 
first, from the day that it was known that Albert of 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was coming to England as the 
Queen's husband, the Prince's character was calum- 
niated and his prospects treated with contempt. Our 
enmity to the German race, begun when we were 
obliged to see our Throne filled with Germans for 
even the later Georges were more German than 
English and continued with something of the rancour 
of a conquered nation, as one German alliance after 
another took place ; which has been fed of late years 
by commercial jealousy, and by a latent fear of what 
our cousin the Kaiser might do ; this enmity was gain- 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 303 

ing strength seventy years ago, and found its whole 
expression in diatribes against the young man who, 
being one of the most amiable people in existence, had 
been forced into his position as surely as a Japanese 
tree is forced into its pigmy development. This may 
sound exaggerated, but it is true nevertheless. From 
his boyhood Albert was educated, moulded, pruned, 
into the shape morally and mentally that seemed 
most suitable for the Consort of the Queen. There 
was no escape for him, and so carefully had he been 
prepared that he did not even think of escape. It has 
always been held that England did very well for the 
poor, undistinguished Prince who was allowed the 
supreme honour of marrying England's Queen; and 
to make him feel how magnanimous they had been, 
the English people and the newspapers comported 
themselves as the street boy now bears himself when 
he feels that a foreigner is pressed upon his notice. I 
once had two French servants, who often together took 
my children out, but they never appeared in the street 
without the youth of the neighbourhood pelting them 
with ribald remarks and sometimes with stones. In 
this way did the vulgar among the well-bred treat 
Albert, and some of them did it even to the time of his 
death. 

The first stone thrown was one picked from the 
Declaration which Her Majesty made before Parlia- 
ment, in which no mention had been made of the 
Prince's religion. At once the most lying and libellous 
articles were written, asserting that Albert was a 
Catholic, and, if not, that he belonged to a sect which 



304 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

made it impossible that he could ever take the Com- 
munion in the English Church; and if he could bring 
himself to do that his religious beliefs were of that light 
type that he could be a Catholic to Catholics, but for 
the sake of his advancement he could also be a Pro- 
testant to Protestants. To this was added that at 
heart he was an infidel and a radical evidently inter- 
changeable terms with these violent supporters of a 
man who stood for the most prejudiced and retrograde 
views, Ernest, King of Hanover. There seems to 
have been little doubt that he was at the bottom of the 
reports about Albert; he still hoped to be King of 
England, or at least to know that his son would wear 
its crown; and it was at the time an open secret that 
he was doing his best to upset the marriage. 

The angry and younger Tories needed little goad- 
ing, and they acted as a spur to their leaders. One feels 
really sorry that such a man as the Duke of Wellington 
should have led the attack in the House of Lords. 
The Duke knew as everyone knew that Albert was a 
Protestant, yet he and Peel, chafed by the events of 
the past year, felt that some stratagem must be em- 
ployed to discredit the Ministry. " It proceeds from 
the boiling impatience of the party, indoors and out. 
The Tory masses complain that nothing is done ; and 
so, to gratify them, an immediate assault is resolved 
upon." Peel suggested to Wellington that some hos- 
tile movement must be made against the Government, 
adding, "It might be ungracious to cause conflict in 
an address congratulating a Queen Regnant on her 
marriage." The Duke agreed with this, yet took the 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 305 

first opportunity which came along of sinking his 
loyalty to the Crown in party politics and personal 
feelings. After some acrid speeches and many 
columns in the papers, this quarrel, which was entirely 
one of bluff, was soothed by Baron Stockmar's affirma- 
tion that the Prince was a Protestant who could take 
Communion in the English Church as though he were 
in his own Lutheran Church. Greville, a good Tory, 
says of this : " The Duke moved an amendment, and 
foisted in the word Protestant a sop to the silly. I 
was grieved to see him descend to such miserable 
humbug, and was in hopes that he was superior to it." 
As the Queen said in a letter to her uncle, " There was 
no need to affirm such a fact, as by law it was impossible 
that I could marry any but a Protestant." 

This made a certain amount of stir, but not sufficient 
to satisfy the rank and file of the Tory party and the 
men who desired office ; so it was unfortunate that the 
next Bill before the House should be one concerning 
the allowance to be given to the Prince. Here a new 
element came in, our delightful English snobbery. 
Had Albert come to us as a millionaire, his life would 
have been one of roses in our midst, but his total 
income then was about 2,500, and he had only a small 
estate in Germany. Was not this enough justification 
for putting him in his place? Tories and Radicals 
alike thought so, and when it came to considerng the 
income suitable for a Prince Consort they practically 
said so. The sum asked for as an allowance was 
50,000 a year. This had been given to the husband 
of Queen Anne, to the Queens Consort of George III. 

x 



306 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

and William IV., and to Prince Leopold when he 
married the Princess Charlotte, but as soon as it was 
suggested in Parliament that Queen Victoria's husband 
should have the same amount an outcry was raised. 
So far as can be judged from all the arguments put 
forward, this was simply an indication that at that 
moment a feminine Sovereign could be treated with 
less consideration than a King. Had it been a Queen 
Consort for whom provision was needed, it is certain, 
to judge by the Parliamentary speeches, that the sum 
asked for would have been granted, and it is also 
certain that had the Queen chosen George of Cam- 
bridge, neither the Duke of Wellington nor any other 
leader of the Opposition would have opposed the 
proposal. Even the frivolous Prince of Orange would 
have been accorded more favour. However, fortu- 
nately for England, Victoria was not intending to make 
her simple-minded cousin King, and the Prince of 
Orange had found no favour with her, also fortunately 
for England and for her. 

An amendment was proposed by Joseph Hume, the 
Radical, allowing the Prince the magnificent income 
of ,21,000 a year, whereupon Colonel Sibthorp, who 
was, as Sir Sidney Lee says, " a Tory of a very pro- 
nounced kind, who warmly championed every insular 
prejudice/' moved another amendment to make the 
sum stand at ^30,000. 

This was carried by a junction of extremes, the 
Tories and the Radicals ; a year earlier the former had 
been as insistent in their demands that the Coronation 
expenses should be increased by a tremendous amount 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 307 

that Royal dignity should be sustained. Now so bitter 
was their feeling against the Government that they 
were ready to strike the Queen over Melbourne's head. 
Victoria wrote of this : " It is a curious sight to see 
those who, as Tories, used to pique themselves upon 
their excessive loyalty, doing everything to degrade 
their young Sovereign in the eyes of the people. Of 
course, there are exceptions." 

Stockmar says that after the division he met Mel- 
bourne on the staircase of the House, and that the 
Prime Minister said to him, " The Prince will be very 
annoyed with the Tories, but it is not only the Tories 
who have lessened his income; there were beside 
Radicals and some of our own people who voted 
against him." It was said that the less honest Whigs 
did this because they thought that as the whole blame 
of the proceedings would fall upon the Tories, the 
reduction of the Prince's income would widen the 
breach between the Queen and the Opposition. Both 
the Whigs and Tories of the baser sort were ready 
to go to any dishonourable length in their desire to 
secure or to hold power, only those who had for long 
been out of office went a little further than their oppo- 
nents and cried their sentiments in a very much louder 
voice, and thus we hear more about them. Melbourne 
at least proved himself an honest man, and he was 
guilty of that stupidity which is much the same thing 
as wickedness; he knew the spirit of the politicians, 
yet he did not take necessary precautions, while he 
seemed always ready to take unnecessary risks : 
" There is no doubt that all will go through easily," 

x 2 



308 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

was his feeling, and so he allowed matters to slip into 
public discussion and recrimination. 

Leopold was enraged. " The whole mode and way 
in which those who have opposed the grant treated the 
question was so extremely vulgar and disrespectful, 
that I cannot comprehend the Tories. The men who 
uphold the dignity of the Crown to treat their 
Sovereign in such a manner, on such an occasion ! " 
Prince Albert may well have been irritated on his part, 
and of him his uncle said, "he does not care about 
the money, but he is much shocked and exasperated 
by the disrespect of the thing, as he well may." 

The third trouble was the Naturalisation Bill, which 
included the question of Precedency. 

All through her life Victoria was a sentimentalist, 
and no sooner did she really feel herself in love with 
Albert than her impulse was to kiss his feet. This 
young man had spent years travelling from one town 
to another in Europe, seeking the education which 
would best enable him to fill his position as Prince 
Consort; he had, in fact, rarely been at home, to judge 
by Leopold's accounts of his doings. Yet as soon as 
he offered to settle down in England, Victoria began 
to see in him a martyr, one who was sacrificing his 
family and his country to live with her in an alien land, 
and she regarded it as her real duty to compensate 
him for the terrible expatriation from which he would 
suffer. Leopold wanted Albert to be made a peer; 
Victoria went a good step further, she desired that he 
should be made a King-Consort. The Ministers 
listened and hesitated, but Melbourne pointed out that 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 309 

for the Legislature to make a King would be to infer 
that the Legislature could unmake a King. Precedent, 
he said, was the only thing to accept as guidance, and 
Prince Albert must take the same position as Prince 
George of Denmark, and he ended emphatically with : 

" For God's sake, Ma'am, let's hear no more of it ! " 

This was one of the times when the Queen was angry 
with Melbourne; how could he compare the stupid and 
insignificant husband of Queen Anne with her Prince ? 

Failing the highest dignity, she was against Albert's 
being made a peer, writing to him on that subject : 
" The English are very jealous of any foreigner inter- 
fering in the government of this country, and have 
already in some of the papers (which are friendly to 
me and to you) expressed a hope that you will not 
interfere. Now, though I know you never would, still 
if you were a Peer they would all say, the Prince meant 
to play a political part." 

It is doubtful whether, in spite of her ambition for 
him, Victoria had any desire that the Prince should 
take part in any way in the important art of govern- 
ing. She intended to marry, but she was really quite 
innocent of a wish to receive a partner in her legisla- 
tive duties as well as a partner in her home. 

When the Naturalisation Bill was introduced, Lynd- 
hurst watched the case, as it were, for the King of 
Hanover, and he objected very much to the Bill as 
framed, for it gave Albert the precedence next the 
Queen for life. Thus, had he survived Victoria, he 
would still have taken precedence of the Heir-Pre- 
sumptive. The Royal Dukes and their party wanted 



310 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to give Albert precedence only over Archbishops and 
Dukes, excepting Dukes of Royal blood and other 
peers of the realm as the Queen should deem fit and 
proper. This had the difficulty of giving precedence, 
not only to the Royal Dukes, but to Prince George 
of Cambridge and Prince George of Cumberland when 
their fathers died. In this dispute Lord Lyndhurst 
and Lord Ellenborough were bracketted together as 
the impossibles. Greville saw the latter at his door 
one day, and asked what he was going to do about the 
precedence. 

" Oh, give him the same which Prince George of 
Denmark had : place him next before the Archbishop 
of Canterbury." 

" That will by no means satisfy Her Majesty ! " 
replied Greville, at which Ellenborough tossed up his 
head, saying, 

" What does that signify ? " 

It would have been a curious thing to see the Queen 
enter a room, followed first by all the Guelphs, and 
at a distance by the humble and devoted husband. 
This was naturally not acceptable, so the whole idea of 
precedency was dropped, and the Bill became one of 
naturalisation only. The Dukes of Cambridge and 
Sussex, " who both wanted an increase in their in- 
comes," would have given way, but Ernest of Hanover 
affirmed contemptuously that he would not stand below 
any " paper royal highness." Charles Greville studied 
up the law on this matter, and wrote a pamphlet proving 
that the Queen could grant her husband by Royal 
Warrant what precedence she chose without appeal to 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S LOVE 31 1 

Parliament. This unfortunately only applied to his 
position in her own dominions, and as long as he lived 
foreign Courts would only recognise the Prince accord- 
ing to his birth, thus making a tremendous difference 
between his rank and that of his wife. This explains 
such incidents as that when he once went to Boulogne, 
the Kings of Portugal and Belgium, who were there, 
both took their departure before Prince Albert arrived, 
that he might be the greatest man in the place. Before 
the Queen and Prince had been married a month we 
find the old Duke of Cambridge agitated like any 
society woman as to whether he could accept an invita- 
tion to meet the Prince ?nd the Queen at the Queen 
Dowager's, because what were they to do about pre- 
cedence if he went? As the law an old Act of the 
time of Henry VIII. stood, Lyndhurst and the Duke 
of Wellington told him he had no choice but to give 
precedence to the Prince. So the knotty point being 
settled, the Duke felt himself able to accept the 
invitation. 



CHAPTER XIII 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

" Her Court was pure ; her life serene ; 

God gave her peace ; her land reposed ; 
A thousand claims to reverence closed 
In her as Mother, Wife, and Queen." 

Tennyson. 

PRINCE ALBERT was firmly convinced that Queen 
Victoria was injudicious in her partisanship of the 
Whigs, and he desired to begin his career in England 
on an independent basis as far as the political parties 
were concerned; therefore he desired to choose for 
himself his secretary and other officials likely to be 
near him. His engagement was a short one, but it 
was full of troubles, as, indeed, most engagements are, 
for that is, I think, the least satisfactory part of the 
whole marriage arrangement. Thus he seems to have 
been really and thoroughly annoyed when he found 
that George Anson, who was Melbourne's secretary, and 
who was described as " a tried, discreet, and sensible 
man, high-bred in feeling as in bearing, capable with- 
out prompting of giving good advice when asked, and 
incapable of the folly of making a suggestion when it 
was not wanted," had been selected by Victoria to fill 
th y e post of private secretary to himself. There was 



312 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 313 

considerable correspondence between the Royal lovers 
on this subject, part of which is given in the Letters 
of Queen Victoria. The Prince's letters are not in- 
cluded, but the Queen's tell the story. Here is a 
paragraph from one : 

" It is, as you rightly suppose, my greatest, my most 
anxious wish to do everything most agreeable to you, 
but I must differ with you respecting Mr. Anson. . . . 
What I said about Anson giving you advice, means 
that if you like to ask him, he can and will be of the 
greatest use to you, as he is a very well-informed 
person. He will leave Lord Melbourne as soon as he 
is appointed about you. With regard to your last 
objection that it would make you a party man if you 
took the secretary of the Prime Minister as your 
Treasurer, I do not agree in it; for, though I am very 
anxious you should not appear to belong to a party, still 
it is necessary that your Household should not form a 
too strong contrast to mine, else they will say, c Oh, we 
know the Prince says he belongs to no party, but we 
are sure he is a Tory ! ' Therefore it is also necessary 
that it should appear you went with me in having some 
of your people who are staunch Whigs ; but Anson is 
not in Parliament, and never was, and therefore he is 
not a violent politician. Do not think, because I urge 
this, Lord M. prefers it; on the contrary, he never 
urged it, and I only do it as I know it is for your good. 
v . I am distressed to tell you what I fear you do not 
like, but it is necessary, my dearest, most excellent 
Albert. Once more I tell you that you can perfectly 
rely on me in these matters." 

In a later letter, the Queen pointed out that it was 



314 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

absolutely essential that Albert should have an 
Englishman at the head of his affairs. 

However, the two months rolled away, and the 
marriage morning dawned with the loth of February, 
Albert arriving in London on the 8th. He, poor 
thing, had hoped for a real honeymoon, and was 
gently chided for desiring so much : " You forget, my 
dearest love, that I am the Sovereign, and that busi- 
ness can stop and wait for nothing. Parliament is 
sitting, and something occurs almost every day, for 
which I may be required, and it is quite impossible 
for me to be absent from London, therefore two or 
three days is already a long time to be absent. 5 ' 

The morning of Monday, February loth, was 
stormy : " What weather ! I believe, however, the 
rain will cease," scribbled Victoria to her bridegroom 
before they met that day; and, in spite of the torrents 
of rain and gusts of wind, a countless multitude 
thronged the streets and the Park to see the bride 
go from Buckingham Palace to the chapel in St. 
James's Palace and back, and then, after the break- 
fast, to Paddington on the way to Windsor, where the 
Royal pair were to spend four days. 

Said the Sage of Chelsea concerning this event : 
"Yesterday the idle portion of the Town was in a 
sort of flurry owing to the marriage of little Queen 
Victory. I had to go out to breakfast with an ancient 
Notable of this place, one named Rogers, the Poet 
and Banker; my way lay past little Victory's Palace, 
and a perceptible crowd was gathering there even 
then, which went on increasing till I returned (about 
one o'clock); streams of idle gomerils flowing from 




Photo] 



H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT. 
From the Painting by Winterhalter in the National Portrait Gallery. 



(Emery Walker. 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 315 

all quarters, to see one knows not what perhaps 
Victory's gilt coach and other gilt coaches drive out, 
for that would be all ! It was a wet day, too, of bitter 
heavy showers and abundant mud. . . . Poor little 
thing, I wish her marriage all prosperity too. ... As 
for him (Prince Albert) they say he is a sensible lad; 
which circumstance may be of much service to him; 
he burst into tears on leaving his little native Coburg, 
a small, quiet town, like Annan, for example; poor 
fellow, he thought, I suppose, how he was bidding 
adieu to quiet there, and would probably never know 
it more, whatever else he might know." 

Carlyle and Rogers seem to have discussed the 
Queen and all that had happened, for the former adds 
in amused fashion : " He (Rogers) defended the poor 
little Queen, and her fooleries and piques and pettings 
in this little wedding of hers." 

It is said that of all the Tories the Queen only sent 
a personal invitation to one to be present at the cere- 
mony, and that was her old friend, Lord Liverpool. 
The Royal pair returned to Buckingham Palace on 
the 1 4th, and the Queen held a Levee on the i9th, 
when Albert stood by her side to receive the guests. 

The marriage of the Queen made it necessary to 
rearrange the apartments in Buckingham Palace, and 
those which had been devoted to the Duchess of Kent 
were done up in splendid style for the Prince. 

The King of Hanover had retained some apart- 
ments in St. James's Palace for his own use, but had 
never returned to them since he left England ; and it 
was considered, not without reason, that he might be 
willing to give up the rooms to the Duchess of Kent. 



316 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

However, Ernest had not yet lost hope; he could not 
prevent the marriage, it was true, but the Queen might 
die, there might be no children, something might still 
happen to give him his heart's desire and set him on 
the Throne of England. Therefore, he felt it ad- 
visable to retain the rooms for his possible use in an 
emergency, and he wrote a curious letter about pro- 
ceedings in England, implying that such terrible things 
were happening here that it would probably be 
necessary for him to return and save the situation. 

So the Queen rented Ingestre House, Belgrave 
Square, at a cost of two thousand a year for a short 
time. When somewhat later Princess Augusta died 
the Duchess was transferred to Clarence House, St. 
James's Palace, and was given Frogmore at Windsor 
as a residence. Thus ended for her any influence in 
great matters which she may have hoped to exercise 
upon her daughter, and thus also ended the deplorable 
friction which had made her so very unhappy. It was 
very possible that some of the Queen's disregard for 
her mother a disregard which was never shown in 
social matters or in outward filial conduct existed 
really only in the mind of the Duchess, for it is usual 
for the person who feels slighted to exaggerate the 
offence. From this time forward, however, we hear 
of no further friction; indeed, Prince Albert seems 
to have acted as mediator, and to have championed 
the cause of his mother-in-law. Sir John Conroy 
lived in Berkshire, and one day in May, 1840, there 
appeared in a Berkshire paper an allusion to Royal 
affairs. If Conroy caused this to be inserted it only 
goes to prove the truth of the report : " Prince Albert, 



EARL\ MARRIED LIFE 317 

having unravelled the mysterious web with which 
certain intriguantes had contrived to embarrass and 
annoy the Duchess of Kent, has expressed his detesta- 
tion of their acts, and at the same time has avowed 
his determination to restore that amiable and ill-used 
lady to her proper station, influence, and suitable 
residence. 35 

It is interesting to note that Victoria was quite well 
aware of the matrimonial project so long nursed by her 
uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, for in November, 1839, 
when writing to Melbourne to give an account of a visit 
which the Cambridges paid her, she said, in a some- 
what mixed style : " They were all very kind and civil, 
George grown but not embellished, and much less 
reserved with the Queen, and evidently happy to be 
clear of me." 

At the end of December, in writing to Albert she 
said : " I saw to-day the Duke of Cambridge, who has 
shown me your letter, with which he is quite delighted 
and, indeed, it is a very nice one. The Duke told 
Lord Melbourne he had always greatly desired our 
marriage, and never thought of George ; but that / do 
not believe." 

At that time three of the sons of George III. were 
alive, and three daughters. The Queen had an 
affection for all but the King of Hanover, and did 
her best to make her uncle Sussex's life easy, 
though he was just at this period in a fractious 
mood, being jealous of the rights of "the family/' 
He had made two illegal marriages, the second being, 
as has been said, with Cecilia Underwood Lady 
Buggin a daughter of the Earl of Arran, and widow 



318 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

of an attorney-knight, though disliking the plebeian 
name which marriage had bestowed upon her, she had 
taken that of her mother as soon as she was widowed. 
She attracted the Duke of Sussex and lived with him as 
his wife for years, then in 1840 he came to the deter- 
mination of going through the ceremony of marriage. 
Whether it was an access of virtue or prudence which 
caused this long-delayed decision it is difficult to say, 
but he put it forward as a plea for an increase in his 
allowance. This naturally caused criticism of an 
adverse kind, it being generally thought and said that 
these two had lived long enough together to know the 
amount of their joint expenses, and that marriage 
should not increase them. One paper advocated com- 
pliance with the Duke's demand on the ground that 
Cecilia would "not add a flock of locusts to increase 
the epidemic of the German pest." 

Victoria made Cecilia Duchess of Inverness, that she 
might be near her husband's rank, and sometimes 
invited her to her own table, but she was never placed 
on the footing of a relative. It was in April, 1843, 
that the Duke died of erysipelas, and desired in his 
will that he should be buried at Kensal Green. This, 
after some hesitation, was done with military honours. 
Sussex seems to have won more affection and good- 
will than any of his brothers. 

The Duke of Cambridge, who took little part in 
public life after his return from Hanover, lived until 
1850. In W. H. Brookfield's Diary is to be found the 
following description of him in 1841 : " The Duke of 
Cambridge was there to hear the Bishop (preach), and 
sate in the pew before me. Such a noise as he made 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 319 

in responses, Psalm reading, and singing, a sort of 
old Walpole with eyes. I had not caught what Psalm 
the clerk had given out, and turning to look on my 
neighbour's book for the page fidgety, restless, Royal 
Highness turns round and bawls loud enough to drown 
the organ, c It begins at the third verse the third 
verse ! ' All eyes turned on Royalty speaking to 
inferior clergy. I turned red as a radish. Royalty 
went on singing like a bull ! " 

It was with the Duchess of Cambridge that Lady 
Cardigan says she once drove to London, and the 
former took from her pocket a German sausage, and, 
cutting off slices with a silver knife, conveyed the pieces 
to her mouth with the help of the blade ! Young 
George of Cambridge married, not a Queen, but an 
actress, Louisa Fairbrother, with whom he lived 
very happily until she died in 1890 and it is said 
that he never recovered the blow caused by her death. 

Of the three daughters of George III., one was 
Princess Sophia, who went blind after being operated 
on for cataract, and who, whatever the scandal asso- 
ciated with her name, always kept the affectionate 
respect of her niece Victoria. She was one of the 
sponsors to the Queen's eldest son, and also to the 
Princess Alice. She died in 1848, six months before 
Lord Melbourne. Princess Augusta died in Septem- 
ber of 1840, and " the dear old Duchess of Gloucester," 
the last of the generation, who was looked upon by 
Victoria and her family as " a sort of grandmother," 
lived until 1857. She had always been very energetic, 
and there is an account of her calling upon the Queen, 
and reporting upon a round of gaieties indulged in 



320 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

within a day or two, parties at the Duchess of Suther- 
land's, the Duke of Wellington's, and at Cambridge 
House, and luncheon with the Duke of Sussex, fol- 
lowed with the call upon Her Majesty. 

The young Queen was naturally affectionate, and 
felt much grief at the deaths of these relatives, who 
had surrounded her all her life, yet a fuller, richer, if 
not less troubled, existence was forming about her. 
Her troubles were not of the kind which devastate, 
but of the recurring, irritating sort which neither rest 
nor sleep. Albert never did quite please the English 
people, and in her endeavour to make him acceptable 
she sometimes wounded him, and sometimes did in- 
judicious things. Her naturally quick temper induced 
Leopold to write her a grave warning before the mar- 
riage, telling her not to let a single day pass over with 
a misunderstanding between them, and pointing out 
that if such arose she would find Albert gentle and 
open to reason, so that things could be easily ex- 
plained; begging her to remember that he was not 
sulky but inclined to be melancholy if he thought he 
was not justly treated, and adding "But as you will 
always be together, there can never arise, I hope, any 
occasion for any disagreements even on the most 
trifling subjects." 

It is open to wonder whether such disagreements did 
at first arise. If so, they were so slight as not to affect 
the abiding love between the two. The satiric papers 
recorded a constant succession of them, but who is to 
believe such ? One report ran that the Prince annoyed 
his wife by contradicting her over the tea table, " and 
whether by accident or design, the Queen sprinkled 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 321 

the contents of her cup over his face, which led to an 
Estrangement for the whole evening." On another 
occasion we are told that Albert was admiring a 
bouquet which Miss Pitt, a Maid of Honour, carried, 
and while he was holding it the Queen entered, and, 
having praised the flowers, asked him whence they 
came. Then " the presence of Miss Pitt was dispensed 
with, Victoria seized the bouquet, and scattered its 
fragments over the room." Whether such incidents 
were true or not, Victoria never forgot that she was 
Queen, and to the end she sometimes unduly pressed 
that fact upon the mind of her husband. Melbourne 
said that the Queen was very proud of the Prince's 
utter indifference to the attractions of ladies, and 
when he suggested that they were early days 
to boast, she was indignant. The Prime Minister, 
watching her with his shrewd, fatherly air, saw 
with amusement, however, that she was really 
somewhat jealous if the Prince talked much even with 
any man. .What would she have said if he had fol- 
lowed George the Fourth's plan of kissing all ladies 
who pleased him on their presentation ? 

But there was one thing which gradually weighed 
more and more upon the Prince's spirits and really hurt 
him. He found himself shut out as had been the 
Duchess of Kent. The Queen did not discuss affairs 
of State with him; she carried her reticence so far as 
to cause him to make serious complaints and to need 
the help both of Melbourne and Stockmar. In this 
again is to be traced the insidious influence of Baroness 
Lehzen, who was still always in the background, but 
whose name never passed the Queen's lips in her con- 

y 



322 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

ferences with Melbourne. When that good friend 
reasoned with her about the want of confidence both 
in trivial and great matters that she showed in her 
husband, she replied that it was caused, by indolence, 
that when she was with the Prince she preferred talking 
of other and pleasanter things. Upon which Mel- 
bourne told her to try to alter that, for there was no 
objection to her telling the Prince all things. Mel- 
bourne's private opinion was that she feared difference 
of opinion. But really the Queen was the counterpart 
of the mid- Victorian husband, who thought it his duty 
to save his wife from any knowledge of his business, 
whether it worried or pleased him a rather foolish 
position for her to take up, even though she had been 
Queen for three years. 

Stockmar, in a conversation with George Anson, 
made the memorable remark, seeing how the Prince 
had fought against Anson's appointment : " The 
Prince leans more on you than on anyone else and 
gives you his entire confidence; you are honest, moral, 
and religious, and will not belie that trust. The Queen 
has not started upon a right principle." The Baron 
thought that Victoria was influenced more than she 
knew by Lehzen, and that in consequence of that 
influence she was not so ingenuous as she had been 
two years earlier. 

However, a new aspect of life had opened up for 
Her Majesty at that time, and it is doubtful whether 
she was as engrossed in State matters as she seemed 
to be, whether while she was listening to disquisitions 
upon foreign affairs, she was not dreaming of more 
personal things. She trusted her Ministers without 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 323 

question, and may well be excused if for a time she 
relied entirely upon their judgment, and had not the 
power even to explain to her young husband the argu- 
ments to which she listened. These things changed 
slowly, but for two years Albert's only share in his 
wife's work was that after many months he was allowed 
to go through official papers with her. He felt the 
position to be one of humiliation, and wrote to his 
friend, Prince William of Lowenstein, that in his house 
he was the husband and not the master. What Leopold 
had said of his nature was true, and this trouble filled 
him with melancholy. This difference between the 
Queen and the Prince, however, got abroad, and was 
commented on in light and airy fashion. It was said 
that Victoria sometimes drove her husband out in her 
pony carriage, and this was applied somewhat spite- 
fully in the following verse : 

" ' Thus to be driven ! ' exclaim some folks, 

' Prince Albert's a mere nincom. ' 
But spite of all their passing jokes 

The boy enjoys his income. 
Then why Vic drives the Prince is plain 

To any common view 
The Sovereign who holds the rei(g)n 

Should have the whip hand too. ' ' 

Yet privileges were yielded and concessions were 
made from time to time. Melbourne gave up his work 
to the Prince as private secretary ; in August, when the 
Queen prorogued Parliament, Albert sat in an armchair 
next the throne, waiting doubtless for the protest from 
the Duke of Sussex, which had been threatened, but 
which did not get uttered. When the Queen had to 
look forward to illness, the Prince was appointed 
regent, much to the disgust of the once genial and 

y 2 



324 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

fatherly Sussex, who considered that " the family " was 
being slighted by such a course, and who, in these the 
last years of his life, was not so kind to his niece as 
he had hitherto been. The next, but by no means the 
least, of the Prince's small triumphs was that he gently 
but firmly returned the Baroness Lehzen to her native 
country. 

Life had not been quite so smooth with the Baroness 
since the Queen's marriage, and there were occasions 
when she was subjected to hitherto unknown criticisms. 
The Duchess of Northumberland once sent by her 
some communication to Victoria, which was never 
transmitted, and this caused the Duchess to make a 
personal explanation to the Queen, and ask why her 
message had received no notice. This little matter, 
only one of many, being sifted, necessitated an ample 
apology from the lady behind the Throne. 

Then again the Baroness was not liked by some of 
the people who now surrounded the Queen, and in 
spite of the strict reserve which Victoria always prac- 
tised in regard to this mentor and friend of her youth, 
vague indications of this appear here and there. In 
June of 1841 the Queen and the Prince went on a 
visit to Nuneham, near Oxford, the home of the Arch- 
bishop of York, and did not take Lehzen with them, 
excusing the omission on the plea that it would be 
wiser if she remained with the baby Princess. The 
next month the Queen went to Woburn Abbey, which 
caused George Anson to note with satisfaction that this 
was the second expedition on which the Baroness had 
not been required to accompany them ; and this remark 
he followed by a review of the Prince's progress since 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 325 

his marriage, in which he mentions that the schemes of 
those who wished to prevent His Royal Highness from 
being useful to Her Majesty for fear that he might 
touch upon the Queen's prerogatives, had been com- 
pletely foiled. " They thought they had prevented 
Her Majesty from yielding anything of importance to 
him by creating distrust through imaginary alarm. The 
Queen's good sense, however, has seen that the Prince 
has no other object in all he seeks but a means to Her 
Majesty's good." 

By August of that year Prince Albert had been so 
harassed by the Baroness Lehzen that when a dissolu- 
tion was threatened he spoke of the matter to Mel- 
bourne, describing how her interference kept him in a 
constant state of annoyance, and begging Lord Mel- 
bourne to help him to get rid of her, saying, " It will 
be far more difficult to remove her after the change of 
Government than now, because, if pressed to do it by 
a Tory Minister, the Queen's prejudice would be imme- 
diately aroused." Melbourne's knowledge of the 
Queen, and his own temperament also, led him to 
deprecate any definite measures. Victoria was already 
expecting the birth of a second child, and with fatherly 
care the Prime Minister did his best to save her from 
what he knew would be a painful event, which could 
not be accomplished without an exciting scene. He 
advised the Prince to be on his guard, and patiently 
abide the result, assuring him that people were begin- 
ning to understand that lady's character much better, 
and time must surely work its own ends. So Albert 
continued loyally to bear this burden, and it was not 
until the beginning of October, 1842, that the Baroness 



326 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

was induced to go on a visit to her family and friends, 
a visit from which she never returned. 

It must not be supposed that Baroness Lehzen was 
generally disliked or was an unpleasant woman. The 
Maids of Honour always found her kind and friendly; 
if a new Maid arrived, the Baroness would go to her 
room to welcome her and to give her her badge of 
office, a picture of the Queen surrounded with brilliants 
fastened to a red bow. Greville, no great friend to 
the Prince, says that she was much beloved by the 
women and much esteemed by all who frequented the 
Court, that she was very intelligent and had been a 
faithful friend to the Queen from the time of her birth, 
and that she was sent away simply because she was 
obnoxious to the Prince. This is written with consider- 
able partiality. Lehzen may have been as faithful a 
friend as she knew how, but her views were limited. 
She fostered pride and an overweening sense of impor- 
tance in her charge, and in an eager desire to be the 
most confidential person about the Queen, she set her 
against any who might rival her influence. She tried 
her strength against the Duchess of Kent, and won; 
she did what she could against Melbourne, but she 
was incapable against his position and his knowledge. 
Then she hoped to keep the Prince at a respectful 
distance from Victoria as the Queen, however near he 
might be to her as his wife, and fortunately, though 
after a long struggle, she failed, and was packed off 
to Germany. The Queen thought she was coming 
back, but in her heart even she, infatuated as she was, 
could not but have known that the position was impos- 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 327 

sible for the man her " dearest Angel " upon whom 
she lavished such warm words of love. Thus we hear 
no more of Lehzen, except that she settled with a sister 
in a comfortable, small house at Biickeburg, covering 
the inner walls of her home with prints and pictures of 
the Queen whom she had served more lovingly than 
wisely. 

Victoria's popularity was enhanced by her marriage, 
but decreased again owing to the popular fear of 
foreigners. She was sometimes greeted with silence, 
sometimes with cries of " no foreigners ! " when she 
went to the theatres. It was a time of great hardship, 
yet the Queen gave dances and banquets, the accounts 
of which were exaggerated a hundred times as they 
percolated through the newspapers to the poor, many 
of whom were starving. We get many allusions to 
these gaieties. On January 29th, 1842, there was a 
little dance at Windsor to amuse the young Prince 
Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, with just enough ladies to 
make up a quadrille. It finished with a country dance, 
including every sort of strange figure. ' The Queen 
must have been studying some old books and concen- 
trated the figures of several centuries into this one 
country dance." 

Her Majesty was very fond of dancing, and of 
organising country dances for the evening home party ; 
and sometimes after dinner would take one of her 
ladies round the waist to polka with her. The polka, 
originally a Bohemian peasant dance and very different 
from the present-day polka, had just been introduced, 
so that it was the rage among dancers. 



328 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

"Oh! sure the world is all run mad, 
The lean, the fat, the gay, the sad 
All swear such pleasure they never had, 
Till they did learn the Polka." 

She was young, happy, and light-hearted, and her 
Court was particularly free from extravagant amuse- 
ments, yet these little frolics brought grumbles and 
troubles in their train, and in the curiously short-sighted 
ideas of economy which then obtained, her State balls 
were regarded as nothing short of criminal. For 
Victoria was accused of flinging away money while 
many of her people were starving, and her popularity 
went down to zero. Some papers printed parallel 
columns describing the fancy dresses at the Queen's 
balls, the banquets, Royal purchases, &c., in one, and 
in the other cases of death from want, of suicides, and 
of failures. When this was at its worst the Royal 
pair were making magnificent preparations for christen- 
ing the Prince of Wales, and Sir Robert Peel is said 
to have advised them to make haste and practise 
economy, advice which was good when the general 
standard of ignorance was considered, but all wrong 
from the point of trade and work. It was the Queen's 
custom when she gave a ball to tell her Equerry in 
waiting in the morning with whom she desired to dance, 
so that everything should run smoothly. She loved 
the brightness and the youthfulness which such func- 
tions brought around her, and would on occasions 
permit children to sit quietly and watch her dress. 
Thus Lady Cardigan speaks of getting introduced by 
General Cavendish sometimes to Buckingham Palace 
when Her Majesty was giving a State ball, which meant 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 329 

no less a privilege than being allowed to sit in the 
Royal dressing-room and look at the pretty young 
Queen being attired in her ball dress. " We were too 
awestruck as a rule even to whisper, but I think the 
Queen found more honest admiration in our childish 
eyes than in all the honied flatteries of a Court." Miss 
Cavendish afterwards became a Maid of Honour. 

In 1840 Victoria marked her sense of Mrs. Norton's 
innocence by allowing her to be presented at Court 
by her sister, Lady Seymour, who was the Queen of 
Beauty at the Eglinton Tournament. Mrs. Norton 
was so nervous that the Queen herself remarked upon 
it to King Leopold, who said he could well believe 
that she was much frightened having so many eyes 
upon her, some of which, perhaps, not with the most 
amiable expression. 

Mrs. Norton had many things to endure from 
her husband, the loss of her children for one, for 
though the woman was innocent, the law allowed a 
man at that time, no matter how bad he might be, the 
sole control and power over the little ones. Later on, 
when things were easier for her in this respect, scandal 
once again arose in a most unwarrantable manner, 
accusing her of selling to The Times the secret of 
Peel's intended change of attitude on the Corn Laws. 
As a matter of fact, Lord Aberdeen, influenced by 
Colonial policy, and in view of the departure of the 
mails, had imparted this bit of hidden news to Delane 
the editor, with the result that it appeared the next day 
in the columns of the paper. Speculation was rife as 
to how The Times knew, and then it was whispered by 
jealousy, for Mrs. Norton was a very beautiful and a 



330 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

very popular woman, that Delane had paid Mrs. 
Norton a large price for the knowledge which she had 
learned from one of her admirers. Later, of course, 
came the story of "Diana of the Crossways," which 
was regarded as an absolute confirmation of the scan- 
dal. George Meredith himself has emphatically 
denied that his romance was based upon anything in 
the life of Mrs. Norton, as the facts themselves, when 
known, disposed of it, but scandal dies hard. 

Fanny Kemble, too, attended a Drawing Room in 

1842 in consequence of an inquiry by the Queen as to 
why she did not come, and wrote of the event : " If Her 
Majesty has seen me, I have not seen her; and should 
be quite excusable in cutting her whenever I met her. 
' A cat may look at a king,' it is said, but how about 
looking at the Queen? In great uncertainty of mind 
on this point, I did not look at my sovereign lady. I 
kissed a soft white hand which I believe was hers; I 
saw a pair of very handsome legs, in very fine silk 
stockings, which I am convinced were not hers, but am 
inclined to attribute to Prince Albert; and this is all 
I perceived of the whole Royal Family of England." 

Prince Albert was something of a dandy in his dress, 
and the remark that " there was not a tailor in England 
who could make a coat" was attributed to him. In 

1843 ne invented, or was godfather to, a new hat for 
infantry, something like the Hessian cap introduced 
into the German service. Punch gave a picture of 
this hat, which is said not to be exaggerated, and 
devoted a column to a description of it, saying that 
" the Prince proposed to encase the heads of the British 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 331 

soldiery in a machine which seemed a decided cross 
between a muff, a coal-scuttle, and a slop-pail, making 
it necessary for the honour of the English Army that 
Punch should interfere. The result has been that the 
headgear has been summarily withdrawn by an order 
from the War Office, and the manufacture of the Albert 
hat has been absolutely prohibited." 

The Prince was credited with designing other gar- 
ments as well, on which Punch remarked that " Han- 
nibal was a great cutter-out, for he cut a passage 
through the Alps; but Prince Albert cuts out Han- 
nibal, inasmuch as His Royal Highness devotes his 
talents to the cutting out of coats, waistcoats, and 
1 things inexpressible/ ' 

A dramatic incident in 1841 made the Queen for 
the moment a popular heroine, and that was the action 
of a publican's boy named Oxford, who shot at her 
as she was driving up Constitution Hill. She and 
Prince Albert went on with their drive, altering their 
route so that they might pass the Duchess of Kent's 
house and relieve her mind of anxiety in case she heard 
any rumours of what had just happened. On return- 
ing home they were received at the Palace by a great 
crowd cheering vociferously. The next day the shouts 
of thousands met them in the Park, and the Houses 
of the Lords and the Commons tendered their con- 
gratulations in state. The State carriage of the 
Speaker was followed by one hundred and nine other 
members' carriages to Buckingham Palace, and as 
they rolled away eighty carriages of the Lords 
began to enter, Barons first, rising in rank to 



332 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Royal Dukes, all wearing their Orders, Stars, and 
Garters. 

There were those who said that this attempt upon 
the Queen's life had been instigated by the King of 
Hanover, but then give a dog a bad name and you 
may as well hang him. 

Her Majesty was acclaimed at Ascot that year, 
which greatly pleased her, part of the enthusiasm being 
probably caused by the suggestion that November 
might bring an heir to the Throne. The approaching 
birth of a Royal child was the subject of talk all over 
the country, and the not very delicate taste of the day 
allowed free speculation and comment in the daily and 
weekly papers. One devoted the top of a column to 
the subject every week, heading it : 

THE LADIES. 

Pray remember 

The tenth of November. 

It then proceeded to give news of various Court ladies 
who were emulating, or hoping to emulate, the example 
of the Queen, running something as below : " The 
Hon. Mrs. Leicester Stanhope intends to go to Brigh- 
ton in the autumn, and has retained the services of the 
celebrated Dr. Bradwell for early in November. The 
Duchess of Somerset has accepted invitations, for she 
feels sure that there are no family reasons to interfere. 
Lady Cork thinks she might as well stay in London." 
"Yes," replies the grim Lord Allen, "the London 
fogs will shelter you from observation," &c. 

Lord Melbourne was facetiously reported as giving 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 333 

a dinner-party on Her Majesty's birthday, and pro- 
posing a toast in the following terms : 

" Fill up to the brim, a bright Burgundy bumper, 
With the drain of the goblet resound the loud cheer, 
Here's luck in November, and may a braw thumper 
In the shape of a Prince glad the close of the year." 

In June the Queen seemed to have come to a rather 
uncomfortable, not to say morbid, decision; for 
Admiral Knox tells us that she felt sure that she 
should die in her confinement, and she also made up 
her mind to let the event happen at Claremont, where 
she had everything replaced just as it had been in 
Princess Charlotte's time, even to the furniture in the 
bedroom in which she died. These little plans ab- 
sorbed her thoughts, and she was constantly running 
down to Claremont. Of course, her frame of mind 
and her curious intention were the subjects of gossip 
in the streets, and gruesome caricatures were published, 
one representing Victoria lying dead in bed with a dead 
child in her arms, and November printed beneath. We 
do not hear quite so much talk about " the good old 
times" as we did in my childhood, but I really think 
we should, in the good present times, have no social 
brutality to offer which would vie with this. 

Fortunately there were many considerations which 
would necessarily defeat the Claremont House scheme, 
and the little Princess who was born just after the 
trouble in the East, making her mother laughingly sug- 
gest that Turko-Egypto should be added to her names 
first saw the light in Buckingham Palace. After the 
birth, as the Duke of Wellington was leaving the 



334 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Palace he met Lord Hill, who made the usual inquiries 
about Her Majesty and the "little stranger," to which 
the old Duke answered : 

:t Very fine child, and very red, very red ; nearly as 
red as you, Hill ! " an allusion to Lord Hill's claret- 
coloured complexion. 

The Queen made a rapid recovery, and really be- 
haved in such a healthy, normal way that the King of 
Hanover must at last have given up all hope of the 
English Throne. In the light of after events it is 
interesting to note that Victoria wrote to Leopold : 
" I think, dearest uncle, you cannot really wish me to 
be the ' mamma of a numerous family, 5 for I think you 
will see with me the great inconvenience a large family 
would be to all of us, and particularly to the country, 
independent of the hardship and inconvenience to 
myself ; men never think, at least seldom think, what 
a hard task it is for us women to go through this very 
often." 

The married life of the Queen was as methodical as 
her life had been from 1837 to 1840, but the Prince 
found the round of the Court too fatiguing and full 
of change, desiring to reduce Victoria's programme to 
greater simplicity. He thought the late hours very 
trying, and though he was a lover of music would fall 
asleep before the evening ended. Lady Normanby 
gave a concert at which wrote a Court lady to a friend 
all " sang divinely, the Queen was charmed, and 
Cousin Albert looked beautiful and slept as quietly as 
usual, sitting by Lady Normanby." I have also come 
across such comments as these : " We hear a great deal 
of the beauty and pleasing qualities of Prince Albert, 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 335 

who seems to be admired by all." Stockmar recorded 
about this time, " The Prince improves morally and 
politically. I can say with truth that I love him like 
my son, and that he deserves it." 

It is not generally realised that when he came to 
England the Prince's knowledge of English was not 
very good, and this, added to his generally reticent 
character, helped to make social life difficult for him, 
especially with men. He used to be very glad when 
Miss Spring-Rice was in waiting, as she spoke German 
fluently, so that he could talk with her of his home. 
Yet he slowly gained good will among the nobility, for 
he was known to be a good man, though he was never 
really popular with a large number. Our aristocrats 
were but just emerging from the bondage of the hard 
drinking, high gaming, loud swearing, and promiscuous 
love-making which had debased the Courts of the 
Georges and the last family of Princes, and they could 
not like a man who lived cleanly, did not swear, drink, 
bet or gamble, knew nothing of sport, and actually dis- 
liked horse-racing. The Prince was neither rash nor 
docile; he went his own way largely, and did not 
trouble enough to make friends with men, though he 
gradually attracted a few staunch loyalists of sober 
life. Between him and others there grew a barrier of 
frigid reserve, which in only rare cases was ever 
broken. The papers did all they could to accentuate 
this difference ; his inability to ride well was made the 
subject of constant comment, and his musical and 
literary tastes amused the scoffer. He tried, however, 
to please when he could, and he determined to show 
that he could ride as well as most men; but in April 



336 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

he had what might have been a very bad accident. He 
rode to a staghound meeting at Ascot, on a horse which 
was a vicious thoroughbred, and it bolted as soon as 
the Prince mounted. He kept his seat and turned 
the animal round several times in the hope of stopping 
it, but at last he was knocked off against a tree, fortun- 
ately not sustaining much injury. Later he followed 
the hunt and drove four-in-hand; but it is almost 
pathetic to realise how the Queen must have scanned 
the papers and grieved at every sneer levelled at her 
husband, while she constantly urged him to remedy 
anything which to English eyes seemed a defect. 

Indeed, the tendency all round was to press him 
into a mould, to treat him as the Mrs. Gamps of old 
thought it right to treat the heads of new-born babes : 
to press here and massage there, in an endeavour to 
present a good round even surface ; and the Queen 
was just as busy as the Press in her endeavour to work 
on the skull of Albert's habits and leanings. He had 
really no use for society in the ordinary sense ; he had 
no small talk, he could not expand or be confidential. 
But he had very definite tastes of his own ; he would 
have liked to surround himself with literary and 
scientific people, artists, and musicians ; for recreation 
he loved a game of double chess, in which he was pro- 
ficient, but even double chess every night began to pall. 
As for the rest, it had to be given up, not because the 
critics of society disapproved, but because his little 
wife had no fancy for the invasion of their home by 
intellectual people. She felt that she could not sus- 
tain conversation on abstruse subjects, and she always 
liked to be in the centre of the picture; any other 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 337 

place she would have looked upon as an insult. It is 
curious that we have had imposed upon us such ful- 
some laudations of Victoria's education, for she showed 
little evidence of superiority in that respect. She 
could speak French, play the piano, sing prettily, and 
paint a little, but none of these things really touch the 
mind, and her mind had been as neglected as were the 
minds of most of the women of her time. Thus the 
society around her knew of nothing better than small 
talk and twiddling the keynotes of a piano; and to 
this the Prince had to succumb, even at last giving 
up his chess to join the Queen's circle in a round game 
of cards ! 

They played vingt-et-un for money, everyone being 
desired to have new coins with which to play, and Vic- 
toria loved some curious game called nainjaune. They 
spun counters and rings ; Georgiana Liddell, when she 
became a Maid of Honour, wrote of this : 

" The Prince began spinning counters, so I took to 
spinning rings, and the Queen was delighted. It 
always entertains me to see the little things that amuse 
Her Majesty and the Prince, instead of their looking 
bored as people so often do in English society." 

It is wonderful that people never seemed to realise 
that there might be something more for grown-up 
people than a choice between spinning rings or round 
games and boredom. But there is something very 
attractive in the picture of this healthy young pair 
playing their childish games, wandering in the Home 
Park at Windsor, with pigeons alighting on their 
shoulders, feeding the animals and rare aquatic birds 
imported by the Prince, and showing kindness to all 

z 



338 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

their great household; the married lovers sometimes 
having tete-a-tete dinners without watchful or ob- 
sequious eyes upon them, and just beginning to take 
politics seriously. For Melbourne, the beloved tutor 
and friend, was gone, and the Queen was beginning to 
think and decide for herself, with her husband's help. 

Once a riddle, purporting to be from the Bishop of 
Salisbury, who was said to offer a reward to anyone 
who solved it, was sent to the Queen. She and her 
husband spent four days over it, and then called in 
the assistance of Charles Murray, Comptroller of the 
Household, who found out for them that the Bishop 
knew nothing of the matter, had not sent the riddle, 
and believed the whole thing to be a hoax. 

Queen Victoria seems to have been thoroughly liked 
by her Maids of Honour, of whom there were eight 
two waiting at a time for a period of three months 
and who were generally expected to be good pianists. 
Often they would be called upon to play duets with 
the Queen and Prince Consort, and one of them made 
the remark, after playing a difficult Beethoven piece, 
" It was quite a relief to find that we all played the 
last bar at the same time"; adding, " I enjoy nothing 
so much as seeing the Queen in this quiet way, and I 
often wish that those who don't know Her Majesty 
could see how kind and gracious she is when she is 
perfectly at her ease, and able to throw off the restraint 
and form which must and ought to be observed when 
she is in public." 

Victoria would say politely to one of these girls, "If 
it is convenient, come down any evening and try some 
music." " But I might come down at the wrong 




QUEEN VICTORIA. 
From a Drawing by Drummond, 1842. 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 339 

moment," answered Miss Liddell on one occasion. 
' Then I will send for you, and if you are at home you 
can come," replied the Queen. " I did laugh in my 
sleeve," commented Georgiana, in recording this, " for 
except when I go to St. George's, by no chance do I 
go anywhere." 

It was this young lady who said, on coming back to 
her duty, " Everything else changes, but the life here 
never does, and is always exactly the same from day 
to day, and year to year." She also tells us that the 
Maid of Honour's chief duty seemed to be to offer the 
Queen her bouquet before dinner each night. The 
Maids of Honour were each given a good sitting-room, 
with a piano in it, which they occupied when not on 
duty, and there was a special room downstairs in which 
they could receive guests, for such were not allowed 
in their private rooms. 

But despite the distressing sameness and stability 
at Court, these girls saw everyone who came. It was 
also one of their duties to receive any important lady, 
such as the Duchess of Kent, on her arrival, and to 
take her to her room, and the Maid in Waiting always 
sat to the left of the Queen, being generally taken in to 
dinner by Melbourne. When the King of Prussia 
came over to the christening of the Prince of Wales in 
January, 1842, he brought various Germans with him, 
among them being Colonel von Brauhitch, a young- 
looking man and a great flirt. He paid much atten- 
tion to Georgiana Liddell, and asked when he might 
be allowed to pay his respects to her. The girl 
laughed, and told him no visitors were allowed into 
her sitting-room, not even her brother. The Colonel 

Z 2 



340 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

could not believe this ; surely, surely she had mistaken 
her instructions ! Oh, but he must ask the Baroness. 
So he went off to Baroness Lehzen, who confirmed 
what Miss Liddell had said, much to his sorrow and 
disgust at the " tyranny " exercised. He went on 
paying her such marked attention that one day old 
General Neumann came up to them, saying, " But, my 
dear friend, do you forget that you are a grandfather ? J> 
Which made the flirtatious Colonel extremely indig- 
nant, as it happened to be true. 

Queen Victoria revived the old practice, so popular 
with George III., of walking on the terrace at Windsor 
on Sunday afternoons, and of allowing her loyal sub- 
jects free ingress thereto. c You never saw anything 
like the crowds of people. It was rather unpleasant 
when Her Majesty walked among them, for, though 
the gentlemen tried to give way, the people pressed up 
so, it was difficult to keep them back. I suppose it 
is right that the Queen should show herself to her 
subjects sometimes, but I am always glad when these 
walks are over." So said Miss Liddell after she 
became Lady Bloomfield. 



CHAPTER XIV 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S TORY MINISTRY 

" And statesmen at her council met 

Who knew the seasons when to take 
Occasion by the hand, and make 
The bounds of freedom wider yet 

By shaping some august decree, 
Which kept her throne unshaken still, 
Broad-based upon her people's will, 

And compass'd by the inviolate sea." 

Tennyson. 

IN September, 1841, the Queen found herself face 
to face with another political crisis, and Melbourne 
tendered his resignation once more. He went to Wind- 
sor to accomplish this dread deed, and it is said that 
he showed no appearance of depression, but seemed 
to consider the change only as it might affect the 
Queen. 

" For four years I have seen you every day," he said, 
"but it is so different now from what it would have 
been in 1839; the Prince understands everything so 
well." Indeed, he warmed the Queen's affectionate 
heart by the way he both spoke and wrote of Albert. 
" I have formed the highest opinion of His Royal 
Highness' s judgment, temper, and discretion, and can- 



341 



342 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

not but feel a great consolation and security in the 
reflection that your Majesty has the inestimable advan- 
tage of such advice and assistance. I feel certain that 
your Majesty cannot do better than have recourse to 
it whenever it is needed, and rely upon it with con- 
fidence." This made the Queen very pleased and 
proud, coming as it did from a man who was, as she 
herself said, no flatterer. 

Thenceforth Melbourne had to endure not only loss 
of occupation, but of the society of one whom he had 
grown to love as a daughter, and in whose company 
he had for years passed several hours each day. " He 
consorted constantly with the Queen on the most easy 
and delightful footing, and he is continually banished 
from her presence." 

However, he fell naturally into those habits which 
were his before his long spell of power, and ere a year 
had passed he had a slight stroke of paralysis, which 
kept him a prisoner for months. 

The resignation of the Whig Government naturally 
brought once more to the front the vexed question of 
the Bedchamber Ladies. Extraordinary care was 
taken that the Queen's susceptibilities should not be 
hurt; Melbourne, on the one hand, conferring with the 
Royal pair and with Anson and Peel, and being 
approached by the last-named with pacific suggestions. 
Peel was terribly nervous, and desirous to do nothing 
that would give pain to Her Majesty, saying, " I would 
waive every 'pretension to office, 7 declare to God, 
sooner than that my acceptance of it should be attended 
with any personal humiliation to the Queen" 



TORY MINISTRY 343 

The Mistress of the R.obes, the sweet-natured 
Duchess of Sutherland, sent in her resignation, she 
being the only person who for the future would be 
required to be of the same party as the Government, 
and she was replaced by the Duchess of Buccleuch. 
The exclusively Whig character of the Household had 
been broken soon after the crisis in 1839 by the Queen's 
invitation to Lady Sandwich, the wife of a Tory peer, 
to fill a vacant post. The Duchess of Bedford (i.e., 
Lady Tavistock) and Lady Normanby also resigned, 
and with these changes Peel was content. Thus the 
principle that the ladies about the Queen should 
belong to the governing party, and be changed when 
the party changed, was never established, and after that 
time the Queen's ladies were chosen irrespective of 
political considerations, excepting the Mistress of the 
Robes. 

Victoria was desolate at the loss of Melbourne. 
Writing to King Leopold, she said : " You don't say 
that you sympathise with me in my present heavy trial, 
the heaviest I have ever had to endure, and which will 
be a sad heart-breaking to me" and Melbourne did 
his utmost to cheer her and to insist upon her showing 
friendly feelings towards the new Government. But 
she spent the last evening on which the old Household 
remained in a sorrowful silence. " Scarcely a word 
was spoken at dinner, but later on tears and regrets 
broke forth with little restraint." 

In considering the ways of Queen Victoria during 
her early career, I am forced to recognise the fact that 
when once she really accepted an impression she could 



344 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

not let it fade. This is curiously exemplified in several 
ways, small as well as large. Thus when at the end 
of August most of the arrangements had been made for 
the formation of a Tory Administration, she somewhat 
frightened her husband by telling him that, seeing how 
the Tories had treated him nearly two years earlier in 
the matter of the annuity, he ought now to keep them 
at a distance. They would be sure to come and see 
him and to flatter him, and his part was to resist them 
and refuse to see them, at least for some time. A 
most extraordinary piece of advice ! The curious fact 
about it is that Prince Albert did not laugh at it; he 
was really troubled, and told his secretary to repeat 
this to Melbourne, and ask him to influence Her 
Majesty to different thoughts. 

Victoria's treatment of her mother and her uncle 
Leopold arose, I feel convinced, from the same limita- 
tion, aided, perhaps, by a strong dislike to appear in 
leading-strings to anyone. The articles in The Times 
could hardly have had influence enough to cause this 
dislike, which was probably the outcome of her char- 
acter, but those articles may have indicated a certain 
policy to her which she followed too rigidly. This led 
her to slight her mother and to exclude her uncle, as 
he reminded her, from the ceremonies attending her 
accession, her coronation, and her marriage. In his 
letter written in January, 1841, a slight bitterness of 
spirit and a wounded heart is shown when he says : 

" I should not have bored you by my presence, but 
the act of christening is, in my eyes, a sort of closing 
of the first cyclus of your dear life." He then reminds 



TORY MINISTRY 345 

her of his actions at her father's death, how he went 
down to Sidmouth two days before that happened, and 
how so great was the Duchess's need that she could 
not have left Sidmouth had he not been there to settle 
everything for her; and how, when the little party 
arrived in London, they were treated very unkindly by 
George IV. The copy of this letter, which is to be 
found in " The Letters of Queen Victoria," recently 
published by command of His late Majesty, ends with : 
" I wished to assist at the christening of the little 
Princess, an event which is of great importance. . . ." 
It is something of a relief to know that he was one of 
the sponsors to the Princess Royal. 

When about a year later the Prince of Wales was 
christened, a great debate arose as to who should be 
the chief godfather, and Stockmar advised the ex- 
clusion of Leopold on the ground that both he and 
the King of Hanover could not be invited, and if the 
Belgian King were sponsor the Hanoverian King would 
be very angry; so to avoid this a mutually friendly 
Sovereign was asked to stand, and the King of Prussia 
accepted the invitation, Ernest of Hanover being 
furiously angry and considering himself slighted. 
This led to an attempt at pacification when Princess 
Alice was christened, and he was then invited to be 
sponsor. He promised to fill the post, and arrived in 
London two or three days after that fixed for the cere- 
mony, "everyone asking why the King did not arrive 
or why the christening was not put off." He stayed 
some weeks, showing that he resented the fact that 
Victoria occupied the throne of his fathers, and trying 



346 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to belittle Prince Albert. During his visit Princess 
Augusta, daughter of the Duke of Cambridge, was 
married to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- Strelitz. 
All the Royalties were at the wedding, and 
there was a little amusing byplay in the vestry when 
names were appended to the register. While Victoria 
was signing the King of Hanover slipped to her side, 
intending to take the pen from her and add his name 
in front of Prince Albert ; but the Queen saw his design 
and moved quickly round the table to where the Prince 
stood, had the book passed to her there, made her 
signature, and then gave the pen to the Prince, so by 
the time Ernest had also got round the table the deed 
was done. Once while in London the King asked the 
Prince to go for a walk with him, but the latter 
objected that they might be troubled with crowds. 

" Oh, never mind that," replied the King ; " I was 
still more unpopular than you are now, and used to 
walk about with perfect impunity." 

Altogether he seems to have annoyed his niece very 
much, for she refused to go to Ascot that year, and it 
was currently reported that the reason was that she 
would have been obliged to have a house-party at 
Windsor, which would have necessitated the inclusion 
of the King of Hanover among her guests. 

While writing of christenings, I might tell the story 
of how the escort for the King of Prussia went to fetch 
him from Ostend. The squadron was under the com- 
mand of Lord Hardwick, and it had a series of adven- 
tures which ought to justify the theory of ill-luck. His 
ship was the Firebrand, and it, with several other 



TORY MINISTRY 347 

steamers and frigates, prepared to start on the Tues- 
day. Just as steam got up the Firebrand upheld its 
name by bursting its boiler. This was repaired during 
the day, and they started at night, promptly going 
aground in the darkness without getting damaged ; but 
in the fog, which was very thick, one of the companion 
steamers ran into the Firebrand and broke off its figure- 
head. The third steamer ran ashore and could not be 
moved. In defiance of the advice of the pilots, Lord 
Hardwick insisted upon pushing on to the Nore. There 
it was found that the two frigates would, though the 
reason was not given, be unable to cross the Channel, 
and the second steamer broke her paddles, so the Fire- 
brand steamed alone into Ostend Harbour at about the 
time that the King arrived there. The King decided 
to remain with the King of the Belgians that night, and 
Lord Hardwick remained on his ship. Just as he got 
to bed his cook walked over the ship's side into the 
water, and one of the sailors slipped down the ladder 
and got hold of him. Lord Hardwick rushed on deck 
in his shirt, and, shouting for a boat, threw out a rope to 
the sailor and asked if he had got the cook safe. 

" Yes," said the man, who was so deep in the water 
that it was up to his neck, " yes, I've got his head tight 
between my knees." 

Fortunately at that moment a boat took them both 
in, the cook apparently dead. However, hot blankets, 
rubbing, and the pump restored animation, and Lord 
Hardwick was the longest sufferer, as he caught a very 
severe cold. 

The economic conditions were so bad at this time 



348 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

that scarcely anything could raise the mob to en- 
thusiasm. Why should a man with an empty stomach 
throw his hat in the air and shout for joy because his 
Queen passes him in the street? It is far more likely 
that he will scowl and say, " She has every luxury ; I have 
nothing," as he would say it of any rich person. Fanny 
Kemble discoursed upon the attitude of the people 
during the visit of the King of Prussia, saying that 
the concourse was immense, but that she was much 
surprised at the entire want of excitement and en- 
thusiasm in the vast multitude who thronged and all 
but choked up the Queen's way. All hats were lifted, 
but there was not a hatful of cheers, and the whole 
thing produced a disagreeable effect of coldness, in- 
difference, and constraint. She went on to say that 
one person believed that it was nineteenth-century 
breeding which was too exquisite to allow of the mob 
shouting; and another person, who was a very warm 
Whig, thought the silence was to be accounted for by 
Paisley starvation and Windsor banquets. She con- 
cluded that when Horace Wilson was crossing the Park 
at the time that the Queen was driving through it, there 
was some, but not much, decided hissing. 

When Queen Victoria found herself compelled to 
accept Peel as her chief Minister, she did not attempt 
to break off all intercourse with Lord Melbourne, 
though great pressure was put upon her from all sides, 
and especially by Stockmar, to make her refrain from 
either seeing him or writing to him. Both she abso- 
lutely refused to do, and for a time letters passed 
constantly between them. The German Baron grew 



TORY MINISTRY 349 

almost hysterical over these letters, and did not hesi- 
tate to convey to Lord Melbourne his conviction that 
he was acting dishonourably and jeopardising the 
Queen's honour, for nothing would convince him that 
Melbourne was not basely discussing politics with Her 
Majesty, doing all in his power to undermine Peel's 
work, and nursing the prospect of a return to the head- 
ship of affairs himself. Stockmar acted always upon 
the supposition that men were evil, and Melbourne's 
honour and magnanimity had no weight with him. 
Peel, however, was more just. Before he went to 
the Queen, Melbourne sent him a message, advising 
him of the things that the Queen liked or disliked, and 
doing his utmost to help his rival to obtain the Queen's 
favour. On the receipt of this message Peel said how 
kind it was of Lord Melbourne, and, on the subject of 
the Queen's friendship for her old Minister being men- 
tioned, added that it was ridiculous to suppose that he 
could feel any jealousy, that he had full reliance on 
the Queen's fairness, and that implicit confidence was 
the wisest course. 

It is worthy of note that at the first dinner-party 
given to her new Ministers the programme of the 
evening was changed. The Queen was very gracious 
and good-humoured with Aberdeen, Peel, the Duke, 
and others. But when they went into the drawing- 
room Melbourne's chair was gone, and, instead of show- 
ing herself interested in her guests, all the Ministers 
were set down to whist, so that there was no possibility 
of conversation. Victoria herself sat at her round 
table with Lady de la Warr and Lady Portman, and 



350 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

there was practically silence. That an exchange of 
ideas, not on political matters, might have been pleasant 
to the gentlemen, did not enter the little lady's head. 

Melbourne behaved with great courtesy to Stock- 
mar, but he did not promise not to write to the Queen 
nor to answer her letters. Of all the people he knew, 
he loved her best; for four years he had been her con- 
stant companion and adviser; he had watched her with 
fatherly care through her trials, her mistakes, and her 
good fortune, and he took a pride in the development 
of character which he detected. He was ambitious 
for her, and believed that she was capable of greatness, 
and he did not in the least share Stockmar's Teutonic 
hope that the Queen would be gradually absorbed in 
the nursery and leave affairs of State to other minds. 
The letters that passed between them had little or no 
reference to State affairs, and could have in no way 
been objected to by Peel if he had seen them. 

From this time until his death there was an element 
of tragedy in the life of the ex-Premier. He was 
given by Stockmar who first instructed the Prince as 
to his decisions and what he should say, and then acted 
as the mouthpiece for the Prince's borrowed sentiments 
the alternative either of obliterating himself as a 
politician, or of banishing himself entirely from the 
Queen's friendship. A short time after the change of 
Government Victoria asked him to come and stay a 
few days at Windsor, and not knowing how this would 
be regarded, yet wishing to accept, Melbourne wrote 
to Prince Albert to know if such a visit would be 
feasible. Albert was afraid to accept the responsibility, 



TORY MINISTRY 351 

and consulted Stockmar, who wrote a memorandum 
charging the late Prime Minister with committing an 
essential injustice to Sir Robert Peel by continuing to 
correspond with the Queen, and also by asking the 
Prince to give an opinion upon this suggested visit. 

He sent Anson, who admired and loved his old 
master, to deliver this condemnation. Melbourne read 
the memorandum twice attentively with compressed 
lips. Then Anson repeated the lesson Stockmar had 
taught him in addition, saying that he had better meet 
the Queen first in general society in London, that the 
Prince thought that Melbourne's own sense of right 
should have enabled him to decide about his visit, and 
that his recent speech in the House of Lords, which 
identified him with the Opposition, added another 
impediment to his seeing Her Majesty. 

Melbourne had been sitting on a sofa, and at this 
he jumped up, striding up and down the room exclaim- 
ing " in a violent frenzy," I quote from Baron Stock- 
mar, " God eternally damn it ! &c., &c. Flesh and 
blood cannot stand this. I only spoke upon the defen- 
sive, which Ripon's speech at the beginning of the 
session rendered quite necessary. I cannot be expected 
to give up my position in the country, neither do I think 
that it is to the Queen's interest that I should." 

Melbourne continued to lead the Opposition, and 
when affairs were more settled he occasionally went to 
see the Queen, but after he had a slight stroke he 
seemed a broken man, never recovering his strength. 
In December, 1843, Georgiana Liddell wrote of him : 
" Lord Melbourne goes away to-day. He was not well 



352 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

yesterday, and had a slight touch of gout ; it always 
makes me sad to see him, he is so changed." When 
the Queen visited Chatsworth Melbourne was invited 
to make one of the guests, which gave him great 
pleasure, though it was doubtful whether the excite- 
ment was good for him, for a dreadful depression 
seized upon him afterwards, for he knew that his day 
was over, and chafed and fretted under the knowledge. 

Another man who was beginning to show many signs 
of age was the Duke of Wellington, of whom Greville 
said, I think erroneously, that " he was a great man in 
little things, but a little man in great matters." All 
through the years from about 1834 Society seems to 
have been watching for the Duke's collapse. In June, 
1838, one diarist remarked : " It is a sad thing to see 
how the Duke is altered in appearance, and what a 
stride old age has made upon him. He is much deafer 
than he was, he is whiter, his head is bent, his shoulders 
are raised, and there are muscular twitches in his face, 
not altogether new, but of a more marked character." 

Prince Albert had the good sense to make a personal 
friend of this the most remarkable man in the kingdom. 
Someone gives an account of the two pacing the garden 
together in earnest conversation, and on passing them 
being amused to find that the Duke was giving a long 
discourse about larders, " it might have been a French 
cook instead of the great hero of Waterloo." When 
the changes of administration occurred in 1841, it was 
the Duke who gave expression to Albert's desire that 
those who came into office should be of "spotless 
character." However strongly Wellington at one time 




THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. 



TORY MINISTRY 353 

opposed the repeal of the Corn Laws, he lived to be 
proud of the deed, for his death did not take place 
until 1852. 

As to the "spotless character " upon which the 
Prince insisted from the men forming the new Tory 
Administration, it naturally caused terrible mortifica- 
tion and anger among those able men who could not 
show a clean bill morally; and in spite of the excellent 
principle it contained it was likely to be a public danger, 
as it is by no means proved that the most moral man 
is also the best statesman. However, the Prince 
adhered to this all his life, thus doing much to purify 
English society, and after his death the Queen became 
much more strict than he had been on this point; 
indeed, it is doubtful whether Mrs. Norton would have 
been as kindly received in 1870 as she was in 1840. 
Lady Cardigan remarks that in 1857 "the Court was 
as narrow-minded as when poor Flora Hastings had 
been the victim of its lying slander." But there was a 
difference; in 1839 the persecution of Flora Hastings 
had nothing to do with principle, it was caused by im- 
pulse and prejudice ; in later years it became a principle 
that no woman, innocent or guilty, against whom 
slander had breathed, should set foot within the 
Palace. It was not so much a horror of sin itself as a 
conventional idea that the Court must set a good 
example, and according to the lax standard of Victorian 
times it was enough that the woman should suffer, the 
man was only banished if he were extremely and 
publicly bad. Even now our standard has risen, and 
we are beginning to think a light man as odious as a 

A A 



354 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

light woman, and are certainly not in favour of punish- 
ing one and letting the other off. 

One curious prejudice that the Queen developed 
was her strong sentiment against a second marriage, 
she herself being the child of a happy second marriage, 
and feeling a great affection for her half-sister. This 
must have arisen from the sentimental side of her love 
for her husband, making her feel that so intimate a 
union as that of marriage could only be possible with 
one person, only she translated "possible" into "moral." 
I do not think it was caused by any excess of religious 
convictions, for the Queen was not a slave to religious 
form, though she was devout. In 1844 she held a 
Drawing Room on the 2 5th of March, which was not 
only in Lent, but on the day of the Annunciation. 
" The Calverts are so shocked, and seem to think/that 
Her Majesty will come to a sense of the enormity she 
is committing as Head of the Church and put off the 
Drawing Room. However, that remains to be seen ! " 
writes a chronicler of small events. 

Victoria gradually became absorbed in her new 
Government and new Prime Minister, and by 1844 had 
forgotten the old party almost as though it did not 
exist; indeed, in spite of the desire for aloofness from 
party politics expressed by Albert, she now seemed to 
regard the Whigs much as she once had regarded the 
Tories. Thus when the Russian Emperor came to 
England, and she gave parties in his honour, she 
invited all the Tories to meet him, and made a sparing 
choice among her old friends. So Lord John Russell, 
the then most noted leader among the Whigs, was 



TORY MINISTRY 355 

left out of everything, and was never presented to the 
Emperor at all. Melbourne was, however, included, 
and the Emperor thanked him for coming to the break- 
fast and affording him the opportunity of meeting 
him. 

But as the years went, Her Majesty saw less and 
less of the man without whom at one time she seemed 
unable to exist; the letters between them became 
restricted to the briefest notes at long intervals, and 
four years after their official parting a contemporary 
noted that Melbourne could not speak of the Queen 
without tears in his eyes, and another remarked, " She 
never cared a farthing for any of the late Cabinet but 
Melbourne, and has apparently ceased to care for 
him." 

This was not really according to fact; the Queen 
always felt an affection for her old Prime Minister, 
but as she grew more experienced she realised that his 
advice, though the best he could give, had not always 
been perfect, and that she in her girlish enthusiasm had 
not always seen things in their right proportion ; thus, 
too late, she grew critical, and that somewhat altered 
her estimation of him. She also became more and 
more confident of Peel's power to help her, and had 
little time to spend in writing to the man who was no 
longer of importance. " She never forgot to write him 
on his birthday," one biographer announces triumph- 
antly, but she did more than that, though the poor 
lonely Melbourne brooded sometimes until he felt him- 
self neglected. It was unfortunate that he allowed 
his mind to dwell so much on his few years of Royal 

A A 2 



356 THE COURT OP QUEEN VICTORIA 

companionship and favour, that he found the know- 
ledge of his failing powers so painful, and that he ever 
dreamed of taking the leadership of the House again. 
When the O'Connell trial was nearing its close, he 
remarked : 

" There is not much chance of the House of Com- 
mons coming to a vote against Government; but still 
such a thing is possible, and I was kept awake half 
the night thinking, suppose such a thing did occur, 
and I was sent for to Windsor, what advice I should 
give the Queen." . . . " It kept me awake," he re- 
peated, " and I determined that I would advise her not 
to let Mr. O'Connell be brought up for judgment." 

Once the Queen's prejudice against Peel had dis- 
appeared, she felt more comfortable under his Govern- 
ment and its large majorities than she had done with 
the Whigs; and when Peel resigned at the end of 1845 
in consequence of the publication by Delane of his 
new Corn Law policy, she felt as upset, they say, as 
when Melbourne resigned in 1839. She could do 
nothing, however, but send for Lord John Russell, and 
knowing how Melbourne would feel about being left 
out she wrote to him, saying that she knew that his 
health would preclude his taking office, but she hoped 
he would come and give her his counsel. She was at 
Cowes at the time, and he replied that he could not 
face the little crossing, it would be as bad for him as 
a voyage over the ocean. However, in spite of 
Russell's gallant attempts, the somewhat overbearing 
Palmerston stood in the way of a Whig Cabinet. The 
Queen feared his foreign policy, and many of his col- 



TORY MINISTRY 357 

leagues disliked him. " Lord Palmerston is redeemed 
from the last extremity of political degradation by his 
cook," was the spiteful saying of one of his opponents. 
So Peel carne to the Queen's assistance, and she re- 
ceived him back as joyfully almost as she had received 
Melbourne in 1839. It was not the Queen's ladies 
this time, but the Queen's Foreign Minister, who 
reinstated the old Government. 

In 1842 the Queen and the Prince went on a visit 
to Scotland by boat. They were from all accounts 
charming on the journey, which was a slow one, taking 
three days ; they took great interest in the ship, dining 
on deck in the midst of the sailors, making them dance, 
talking to the boatswain, &c. But Victoria got tired 
and impatiently wanted to land ; as it was useless to do 
that before she arrived at Grantham Pier she became 
annoyed; as Greville says, her fault was impatience, 
inability to bear contradiction, and a desire always to 
go ahead. Thus as soon as she got into her carriage 
at Edinburgh, orders were given that the coachman 
should drive as fast as possible. At first they could 
scarcely move, for in its enthusiasm the crowd broke 
all bounds, pressed the soldiers out of the procession, 
and crushed close up to the carriage. When at last it 
was disengaged, the coachman went at a gallop through 
the city, the Queen being seen by no one. People had 
then, as now, been foolish enough to give great sums 
for windows and seats, the crowds which lined the 
streets had been waiting for hours, great labour had 
been spent to decorate the place, and all that a 
carriage might dash along bearing a Queen who did not 



358 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

see her subjects through a multitude of people who 
did not believe that she would have treated them so 
badly. 

Honestly I think the explanation of her motive given 
by Greville and others is wrong, and that the dash 
through Edinburgh was caused by nervousness. Pais- 
ley was looked upon as one of the centres of disaffec- 
tion, and Peel was in a state of fear about the whole 
expedition, acknowledging at the end of one day that 
"we have just completed the very nervous operation 
of taking the Queen in a low open carriage from 
Dalkeith to Dalway, sixteen miles through Canongate 
and High Street, and back by Leith in the evening." 

Thus when the street crowd hustled the soldiers and 
pressed so unceremoniously upon the Royal cortege, 
I think the whole party was inspired with fear for the 
Queen's safety, and got out of the town as quickly 
as possible. This very nearly brought about the result 
dreaded, for the Edinburgh people were very angry; 
they talked of abandoning the illuminations, and a 
public riot nearly took place. This was prevented, 
however, by the immediate arrangement being made 
for a great procession on another day. 

In 1843 the Royal pair went to visit the French King 
at Eu, Victoria's first visit to the Continent. Every- 
thing was done to please the visitors, but Lady Bloom- 
field gives an amusing account of the details. She 
says that there were curious contradictions in the 
stateliness of the arrangements made by the King for 
their comfort. The carriages sent to fetch the Royal 
party from the shore were char-a-bancs, and though 



TORY MINISTRY 359 

the first was drawn by twelve caparisoned horses they 
were large and clumsy animals. There was but one 
driver in front, and three footmen in State livery 
behind, with many outriders in all kinds of liveries on 
all sorts of horses, some of them wretched beasts. The 
chief amusement each day was to go for a picnic, 
driving for several hours to a wood or a ruin over 
unmade roads with deep ruts and huge stones, the 
folk in the char-a-bancs being bumped and shaken to 
pieces. One night the Corps de 1'Opera came from 
Paris to play before the visitors, and brought with them 
two pieces for selection, one ridiculing the English, 
and the other too improper to be acted before the 
Queen. 

It was on the 29th of May in 1842 that a second 
mad attempt was made on Her Majesty's life, and it 
needed but one instance of this sort to prove how 
courageous were both the Queen and her husband. 
She was returning from church on the Sunday, and 
the ladies in the second carriage noticed that the Royal 
carriage stopped in Birdcage Walk. On reaching the 
Palace they also noticed that the Prince looked very 
annoyed and went away with the equerries ; the Queen, 
who was quite calm and collected, going as usual up 
the grand staircase to her apartments, talking to her 
ladies, discussing the sermon and dismissing them as 
was her custom. The next day Matilda Paget and 
Georgiana Liddell remained all the afternoon expect- 
ing a summons to drive with the Queen, but none came, 
and at about six o'clock Her Majesty departed with 
Prince Albert in an open carriage. Georgiana went 



360 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

for a walk in the Palace gardens, grumbling that she 
had been kept in for nothing, but when she got back she 
was horrified to learn that the Queen had been shot 
at by a lad named Francis. In the evening Victoria 
broke off a conversation with Sir Robert Peel to say : 

"I -dare say, Georgy, you were surprised at not 
driving with me this afternoon, but as we returned 
from church yesterday a man presented a pistol at 
the carriage window, which flashed in the pan ; we were 
so taken by surprise that he had time to escape, so I 
knew what was hanging over me, and was determined 
to expose no life but my own." She added that when 
the young man had fired again that afternoon the 
report had been less loud than it was when Oxford 
fired at her, and that she should not have noticed it 
had she not been expecting it the whole time she was 
driving. 

This youth of twenty was transported, but six weeks 
later a hunchback named Bean was seen to present 
a pistol at Her Majesty, and was taken into custody, 
but there was a difficulty in that the police would not 
at first believe in the charge, and let the man go. Thus, 
when convinced that the matter was serious, they col- 
lected all the hunchbacks they could find until they 
had about sixty at the police station. Admiral Knox 
says of this in one of his letters : 

" Did you see in the papers the account of the 
attempt on the life of the Queen? You know it was 
by a hunchback boy, and I heard that when the police 
set out in pursuit of him, all the hunchbacks in the 
neighbourhood were arrested. There were no less 
than fifty or sixty assembled at the station house, and 



TORY MINISTRY 361 

they were all quarrelling and fighting, each saying to 
the other, c Now confess that you did it, and let us 
off.' I think it must have been a most absurd 



scene." 



Bean, however, was recognised, and as his attempt 
had been only of a half-hearted sort, he was sentenced 
to eighteen months' imprisonment. These foolish 
actions were really induced by a desire for notoriety, 
and they bring to mind the boy Jones who on several 
occasions was found secreted in the palace, his inquisi- 
tiveness leading to definite results and much needed 
reform. 

This boy, when about fifteen, first appeared in 
December of 1838, in the dress of a sweep, being found 
in the marble hall of Buckingham Palace at five o'clock 
in the morning. He made a dart for the door, but 
was captured in the Palace gardens. He had either 
come down a chimney or tried to get up one, for marks 
of soot were found in many bedrooms. A sword and 
some linen had been taken from one room, in another 
he had well larded himself with bear's-grease, in another 
he had broken a valuable picture of Queen Victoria 
and abstracted two letters. He told various tales, 
saying that he had lived in the Palace for months and 
had been behind a chair when Cabinet meetings had 
been held, also that he came from Hertfordshire. 
However, he was proved to be the son of a tailor named 
Jones, who lived in York Street, Westminster, and it 
was also proved that he had always stated a determina- 
tion to see the inside of the Palace. When he was 
tried the matter was regarded as an escapade, and he 
went free. 



362 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

This youth had been entirely forgotten when, eleven 
days after the birth of the Princess Royal in 1841, a 
young man was discovered lying under the sofa in the 
Queen's dressing-room, which adjoined the chamber 
in which she lay. He was short, dirty, repulsive- 
looking, and about seventeen. It was Jones again, 
who said he had entered the Palace twice by scaling 
the wall and getting in at a window, and had been 
there from Tuesday night to one o'clock on Thursday 
morning, secreting himself under different beds. He 
said he had sat on the throne and heard the baby cry. 
His punishment was three months in the House of 
Correction. Of him Samuel Rogers said he must be 
a descendant of In-i-go Jones, and The Satirist and 
other papers treated him to a few remarks, among 
them being : 

" Now he in chains and in the prison garb is 
Mourning the crime that couples Jones with darbies." 

Jones left prison on March 2nd, and on the 15th of 
that month one of the extra sergeants of police put 
on in the Palace in consequence of these incursions, 
saw someone peeping (through a glass door in the 
Marble Hall. It was Jones again, who had raided the 
pantries and carried a selection of food to a Royal 
apartment, where he had been feasting. He had 
another three months in the House of Correction with 
the addition of hard labour, and when that was over 
he was persuaded persuaded sounds better than com- 
pelled, though it sometimes means the same thing to 
go to sea. Punch gave an amusing account of his 
exploits, which ended with the following lines : 



TORY MINISTRY 363 

One night, returnin' home to bed, 

I walked through Pim-li-co, 
And twig-gin' of the Palass, sed, 

' I'm Jones, and In-i-go. ' 
But afore I could get out, my boys, 

Polliseman 2oA, 
He caught me by the corderoys, 

And lugged me right away. 

My cuss upon Lord Melbun, and 

On Johnny Russ-al-so, 
That forced me from my native land 

Across the vaves to go-o-oh. 
But all their spiteful arts is vain 

My spirits down to keep ; 

I hope I'll soon git back again, 

To take another peep." 



CHAPTER XV 

QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 

" I am born to this position; I must take it, and neither 
you nor I can help or hinder me. Surely, then, I need not fret 
myself to guard my own dignity. ' ' Emerson. 

THIS incident of an ordinary street boy getting three 
times into Buckingham Palace without being seen, 
spending hours there each time and wandering at will 
about the building, was naturally the talk of London. 
It was found that there was a space between the Marble 
Arch which then formed the entrance in front of the 
Palace and its gates which a boy could easily get 
through, but this was no excuse for the opportunity 
he seems to have had of entering the building itself. 
Extra police and watchmen were put on at night, but 
Stockmar considered the matter serious enough to 
warrant study, and he discovered a most curious state 
of things in the arrangement of the Royal Household, 
a discovery which led to a general and much needed 
domestic revolution; and in consequence, through the 
executive ability of Stockmar and the alleged economic 
spirit of Prince Albert, to years of dissension and 
discontent among the servants, great and little ; from 

which at last arose a system of domestic comfort which 

364 




BARON STOCKMAR. 



. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 365 

allowed the Queen to be mistress in her own house. 
In actual fact, the conditions under which the House- 
hold had been run would have made a splendid subject 
for a Gilbertian opera. 

The chief officers of the Household were in the same 
position and doing the same tasks as they had filled and 
done for centuries, and though all the details of their 
work had changed gradually no new rules had been 
made for their guidance. These chief officers were the 
Lord High Steward, the Lord Chamberlain, and the 
Master of the Horse. These three were also great 
officers of State, were changed with every Ministry 
between 1830 and 1844 one was changed five and 
another six times they could not reside at the Palace, 
and often could not be in the same place as the Court. 
They were chosen by the Ministers for their political 
strength and opinions, without any reference to their 
powers as good housekeepers, good organisers, or good 
masters. This led to the curious situation that the 
Masters of the Queen's Household could rarely attend 
to their duties, which had to be deputed to people who 
were perhaps incapable, or also not on the spot, and 
that in many trivial ways Victoria had no authority hi' 
her own home. There was no domestic to whom she 
could give orders, because the servants were under 
absentee masters, and neither she nor the Prince could 
ensure having a well-warmed room to live in. She 
was, in fact, so great a personage that it was arranged 
that every order to the servants should pass through 
other lips than hers, and as those other lips were 
generally miles away from the Royal domestic scene, 



366 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

the orders, if they were of a serious nature and outside 
the sphere of ordinary servants, were not given at all. 
So the Queen sat and shivered in her drawing-room, 
paid enormously for candles to light a room which 
would be in darkness when needed, and could not from 
inside tell the state of the weather because of the dirt 
on the windows. 

There was also a lack of co-operation or agreement 
among these three high officials, so that there was never 
any unity of action. This was the more absurd, as 
the labour had to be delegated or re-delegated to 
actual servants who dwelt on the spot, and who did 
not seem to have the wit to do their work in conjunc- 
tion. In no part of the Royal Household was there 
any real discipline, order, or dignity about the domestic 
work. The servants themselves often did not know 
who was responsible for certain duties, and, servant- 
like, were always careful never to do anyone's work 
but their own. The great officials themselves were said 
not to know which parts of tEe Castle or Palace were 
under the charge of the Lord Steward or the Lord 
Chamberlain. When George III. was King the Lord 
Steward had charge of the whole Palace except the 
Royal apartments ; in the next two reigns he was also 
held accountable for the ground floor, including the 
hall and the dining-rooms. But when Victoria came 
to the throne he gave over the grand hall and other 
lower rooms to the Lord Chamberlain, which seems to 
have left the mastership of the kitchen, sculleries, and 
pantries vague. 

The authority over a room conferred responsibility 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 367 

over the most trivial matters, such as the laying of the 
fire, the cleaning of the windows, the brushing of the 
carpet. This authority had no place outside the room, 
nor outside the house ; thus the Lord Chamberlain or 
his deputy might order the windows of the Queen's 
boudoir to be cleaned inside, yet it remained for the 
Master of the Horse, who had authority over the woods 
and forests, to arrange when the outside should be 
cleaned. This sort of thing was complicated by the 
fact that the housekeepers, pages, housemaids, &c., 
were required to give obedience to the Lord Chamber- 
lain, while the footmen, livery porters, and under 
butlers, being clothed and paid by the Master of the 
Horse, owned allegiance to him; and the rest of the 
servants, cooks, porters, &c., obeyed the Lord Steward. 

In contemporary writings one frequently comes 
across hints of the discomfort of the Royal palaces, the 
draughts, the cold, the bad lighting, and it is scarcely 
to be wondered at, seeing the curious arrangements 
made by Her Majesty's Ministers for her comfort. 
Victoria, feeling the cold especially one day, sent a 
messenger to Sir Frederick Watson, then Master of 
the Household, complaining that the dining-room was 
always cold. That perplexed gentleman, who either 
had no initiative or who knew that interference would 
be useless, replied gravely to the messenger : 

" You see, properly speaking, it is not our fault, for 
the Lord Steward lays the fire and the Lord Chamber- 
lain lights it. 33 

As to the lighting of the Palace, it was the duty of 
the Lord Chamberlain to buy the lamps, and see that 



368 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

there were sufficient both of them and of candles ; but 
the Lord Steward was responsible for filling, cleaning, 
cutting, and lighting them. 

Supposing a pane of glass was broken, so involved 
were the conditions for getting it repaired that it might 
be weeks before the necessary authority could be 
obtained. If the kitchen window happened to be 
smashed, the following process would have to be gone 
through. The chief cook would write and sign a 
request for the replacing of the glass, definitely de- 
scribing where it was needed; this was countersigned 
by the Clerk of the Kitchen, then it had to be signed 
by the Master of the Household; from him it was taken 
to the Lord Chamberlain's office, where it awaited his 
presence and pleasure. Having received his invalu- 
able signature, it was then laid before the Clerk of the 
Works under the Woods and Forest Department. By 
the time the workman was ordered to put in the window 
it was not improbable that months had elapsed, and 
one really wonders whether the Queen's cook did not 
resort to the time-honoured use of brown paper. 

It is true that while these anomalies were going on 
there was a Master of the Household, but then his 
authority, which was of an attenuated character, was 
confined to the Lord Steward's Department, and was 
there quite undefined; while the servants under the 
Lord Chamberlain, comprising the housemaids, house- 
keepers, and pages, were entirely outside his juris- 
diction. 

This naturally had its bad effect upon the servants, 
who were left without any real master. They went off 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 369 

duty when they chose, remained absent for hours on 
the day when they were especially expected to be in 
attendance, and committed any irregularity without 
anyone to reprimand them. The footmen, who slept 
ten or twelve in a dormitory, might smoke or drink 
there, but if anyone were the wiser, certainly there was 
no one who was in a position to remonstrate. 

It is almost impossible to imagine a worse regulated 
establishment than that of the little lady who was the 
First Person in the Kingdom, yet who had not power 
to ensure decent attendance from her servants. I 
wonder if she was quite conscious of the inconvenience 
and indignity of it all, whether she knew the straits 
to which her visitors were sometimes reduced, and 
whether she felt a pang of shame at her enforced 
position of inaction. Guests might arrive at Windsor, 
and find no one to welcome them or to show them, their 
rooms. Proper communication was not established 
among the innumerable servants; for the housemaids 
who obeyed the Lord Chamberlain, and who prepared 
the rooms, did not come into communication with the 
guests; and the footmen, who were under the Lord 
Steward, were not authorised to see to this matter; 
indeed, it was quite possible that most of the footmen 
were, in light and irresponsible fashion, seeing to their 
own business when the guests appeared. It all seems 
to have depended upon the right housekeeper being 
more or less accidentally in the right spot at the right 
moment, and she was not in the department of the 
Master of the Household. The usual course in such 
a case was to send a servant, if one could be found, 

B B 



370 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

to the porter's lodge, where a list of rooms, &c., was 
kept. It was also no unusual thing for a visitor to 
be at a loss to find the drawing-room at night. He 
or she would start from the bedroom with more or less 
confidence, perhaps take a wrong turn, and wander 
about helpless and alone, one account says for an hour, 
finding no servants to give assistance to them, and 
coming across no one of whom the way could be asked. 

When "The Boy Jones" as Punch delighted to 
name him made his surreptitious visits, the public 
blamed those on whom depended the regulations for 
protecting the Queen. But there was no responsible 
person in the Palace at the time. The Lord Chamber- 
lain was in Staffordshire, and the porters were not in 
his department; the Lord Steward was not in the 
Palace, and had nothing to do with the pages and 
other people nearest to the Royal person; nor could 
the responsibility be fixed on the Master of the House- 
hold, who was only a subordinate officer in the Lord 
Steward's department. It did not occur to any of these 
good people, nor to the Government, that something 
more was needed than the adding of an iron bar to the 
front gate or placing an extra policeman in the front 
hall ; and it was left to Stockmar to cause the whole 
arrangements of the Palace to be reconstructed. He 
advised that the three great officers of the Court, with 
their respective departments, should retain their con- 
nection with the political system of the country, but 
that each should in his own sphere be induced to dele- 
gate as much of his authority as was necessary to the 
maintenance of the order, security, and discipline of 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 371 

the Palace to one official, who should always live at 
Court, and be responsible to the three departmental 
chiefs, but at the same time be able to secure unity 
of action in the use of the powers delegated to him. 

As the abuses had been going on for many years, 
Stockmar's suggestions and interference gave rise to 
violent feeling and much bitterness, and it was some 
years before the storm subsided into calm. I have 
come across an account of King William's going to 
Ascot in 1833, when the Royal Household seems to 
have been absolutely disreputable, for all the King's 
grooms got drunk every day, excepting (seemingly) 
one man, and he was killed going home from the races. 
What an argument for the virtue of drunkenness ! The 
person who described the event added that no one 
exercised any authority over these servants, and the 
household ran riot. Favourite abuses of this kind were 
not easily abolished, but the Prince Consort accepted 
Stockmar's advice and carried his suggestions into 
effect, firmly resisting all attempts to evade them, and 
appointing the Master of the Household as the dele- 
gate of the three departmental chiefs. 

One interference in the Household led to another, 
and soon remarkable changes were made. Stockmar 
was doubtless at the back of them all, but upon the 
Prince Consort fell the odium. He had been brought 
up too economically not to know the value of money, 
and, like any other sensible person, he abhorred waste. 
There was one little matter which was particularly 
fastened upon him by his detractors. I remember an 
old lady speaking of him to me years ago with energetic 

B B 2 



372 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

scorn, and on my asking why, she replied : " Oh, I 
remember him ! He was one of the meanest of people, 
for he actually saved the candle-ends." " Well, why 
not, if he had the chance of doing it?" I asked. On 
looking up this matter I found that the great rooms 
were lit by hundreds of candles, and that some upper 
servant had acquired the perquisite of every day 
emptying all the receptacles and replacing the pieces 
by fresh candles ; further, if a room had not been used, 
the candles were changed just the same, and the 
licensed looter carried off a rich booty. Prince Albert 
enforced a rule that this should no longer be done, and 
that the candles should remain to be burnt within a 
reasonable limit. Being an economist myself, I quite 
sympathise with him. 

The lowering of salaries, however, created a tre- 
mendous furore. Thus there were about forty house- 
maids at Windsor, and the same number at Bucking- 
ham Palace, whose wages had been for many years 
^45 per annum. In the general revision this was 
reduced to 12 a year on commencing duties, with a 
gradual rise to ;i8, beyond which a housemaid could 
not go. A little book, " Sketches of Her Majesty's 
Household," published anonymously in 1848, shows 
that some of the economies were peculiarly unfair, 
as in the case of the sixteen gentlemen of 
the Chapel Royal who chanted the services, and 
who were given 73 a year each. They were re- 
quired to attend on Sundays every other month and 
on saints' days, &c. From each salary four shillings 
in the pound was deducted as land tax, which, added 
to further deduction for income tax, reduced the salary 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 373 

to 56- The same course was pursued with the 
organist, composers all getting a nominal 73 and 
other people connected with the Chapel who received 
less. Think of the violinist who had to regard himself 
as " passing rich on forty pounds a year/' minus eight 
pounds deducted as land tax ! It is a little difficult 
to realise this, for what could the land tax have to do 
with the chapel music? 

From the same source we learn the regulations im- 
posed upon the members of the Queen's Private Band, 
who were paid from the Privy Purse. Their salaries 
were reduced from 130, with supper and wine, to So 
and fyo, with no supper, in lieu of which a small sum 
was given at each nightly attendance. Sometimes a 
vacancy occurred in the State Band, which was paid 
by the State, and then a piece of very sharp practice 
was indulged in. The vacancy would be filled by a 
member of the Private Band, and as a consequence of 
this promotion the man had to play in both bands, for 
which he should have received an extra 40 for his 
services in the State Band. He duly received that 
40, but when his salary was paid him as a member of 
the Private Band he would find that the sum of 40 
had been carefully deducted before it was handed to 
him on the assumption that he had already received 
it! 

In this description of the anomalies in the Royal 
Household I have mostly given Stockmar's view of 
the case. There was, of course, another aspect, and 
the English officially gave voice to it. In 1846 the 
Earl de la Warr, who was then Lord Chamberlain, 



374 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

said that he experienced such an " extraordinary inter- 
ference in the performance of his official duties from 
parties at Court," that he determined to resign, so he 
made " Free Trade in Corn " the excuse, and the day 
after Her Majesty's accouchement the announcement 
took place. Several noblemen refused the post, and 
at last it was semi-officially announced that Sir Robert 
Peel, in consequence of the uncertainty as to the life 
of the Government, would not at present fill up the 
appointment. So Lord de la Warr was virtually 
bribed to hold office for a time that is to say, until 
Lord John Russell and the Whigs came in in July. 
One of De la Warr's sons, Mortimer West, was given 
a commission in the Grenadier Guards; another, 
Charles, was made military secretary to the Com- 
mander-in-Chief in India; and a third, Reginald, was 
gazetted Chaplain-in-Ordinary to Her Majesty. 

When Russell formed his Administration it was even 
then very difficult to fill the Lord Chamberlain's office, 
everyone shrinking from the unofficial interference of 
Stockmar and the Prince. The Duke of Bedford, the 
Duke of Devonshire, and the Earl of Uxbridge all 
declined, but Earl Spencer was at last prevailed upon 
to take the responsibility. 

The Inspector of the Palace was named Henry 
Saunders, and he gave in his resignation in March, 
1844, because of "extraordinary interference with him 
in the performance of his duties by members of the 
Household unconnected with the Lord Chamberlain's 
department " ; but Lord de la Warr persuaded him to 
remain until the Prince Consort, who was visiting his 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 375 

home, returned from Germany. Saunders was believed 
by Anson to have given information of Palace doings 
to the Press, as many things had been made public, 
particularly about the wholesale discharge of servants 
in Saunders's department, as well as other matters 
which had formed subjects of private inquiry. He was 
pensioned at the end of 1845 on 5 a year. After 
that different Inspectors were appointed for each 
Palace, to superintend the care of the furniture and 
to make arrangements for the reception of the Court 
and of Her Majesty's visitors. 

There was naturally a tremendous jealousy of the 
many German servants introduced by the Prince, and 
in 1848 it was pointed out by a newspaper that Richard 
the Second's Chamberlain was impeached for intro- 
ducing aliens into the King's Household; the writer 
advocated a similar proceeding, though he added a 
belief that the Lord Chamberlain was not really re- 
sponsible for the numerous appointments of foreigners. 

Among these foreigners was a man named Heller, 
who came to England with the Prince as courier, and 
who was appointed by the Prince in 1842 to be Page 
of the Chambers, the impression being that among his 
other duties he was to be the "overlooker" of the 
other pages. These others, being English, bitterly 
resented this, and there were frequent rows between 
Heller and the other men. Once a page named 
Kinnaird was so enraged that, in spite of Albert's 
presence, he threatened to throw Heller over the 
banisters, telling the Prince that he "would not be 
insulted by a foreigner." 



376 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

Another change made, and a very sensible one, was 
the abolition of fees for seeing the interior of Windsor 
Castle. Lady Mary Fox, a daughter of William IV. 
and wife of Major- General Fox, Surveyor-General of 
the Ordnance, was the State Housekeeper, receiving a 
residence in the Norman Tower, a salary of 320 a 
year, and all the fees from the visitors, amounting from 
1,200 to 1,500 a year. This post she held until the 
end of 1845, when she was duly compensated for 
relinquishing it. 

Various matters relating to the Household becoming 
public made the Prince very angry, and he complained 
to the Duke of Bedford of the way in which the pro- 
ceedings at Court were publicly known and discussed. 
He said that on the Continent it was the Government 
which knew r by its secret agents what its people were 
doing; while in England it was the people who knew 
what the Court was about the Court knowing nothing 
about other people's affairs. He did not seem to 
realise that this was the tax great people had to pay 
for their position, and that as the public was curious 
about them the newspapers could and did secure all the 
information there was to be had. All his life in Eng- 
land Albert hated the " fierce light that beats upon the 
throne," and his exclusiveness tended to make the 
Court unpopular with the multitude. It also led to 
trouble and annoyance among those who immediately 
surrounded the Throne, for the Prince and Queen would 
arrange very important matters in utter secrecy, news 
of which would leak into the daily papers, while the 
Queen's advisers were in entire ignorance. Thus 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 377 

when they went to visit Louise Philippe at the Chateau 
d'Eu, the Duke of Wellington and others constantly 
about the Court knew nothing of it until two or three 
days beforehand. Yet this visit must have been a 
long-laid plan, for lawyers had to be consulted as to 
the necessity of forming a Regency during Her 
Majesty's absence. Greville noted of this, " the Queen 
is to embark on Monday. . . . On Thursday I men- 
tioned it to Arbuthnot, who said it could not be true. 
He asked the Duke the same day, who told him he 
had never heard a word of any such thing." 

In this case it was not difficult to keep the matter 
quiet, as the yacht Victoria and Albert had just been 
finished and fitted up most gorgeously gorgeously is 
really just the right word and was in readiness for use. 
Concerning this yacht, by the way, there was very sore 
feeling among the officers, who found that their comfort 
had been sacrificed that the Royal flunkeys might travel 
in serenity. Thus two officers had to sleep in a little 
berth measuring seven HFeet by five, while the pages, 
who were really footmen, were given a large room with 
their berths ranged round it. The officers protested 
respectfully, and, willing to concede their dignity, im- 
plored to be allowed half the berths in the pages' room, 
the displaced men sleeping on one of the attendant 
steamers, but their prayer was not granted, as it was 
thought inconvenience might arise if all the servants 
were not together. 

* * * * ^ * 

I could write a book double this size if I included 
all the stories in which Queen Victoria figured, but I 



378 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

have come to the end of the space allotted me. Yet 
some of these stories are very tempting, among them 
being one told by Sir Robert Peel about the Lord 
Mayor, when the Royal pair went to a banquet at the 
Guildhall in 1844. It was of this event that Barham 
wrote : 

" Doctor Darling! think how grand is 

Such a sight! The great Lord May'r 
Heading all the City dandies 

There on horseback takes the air. 

Chains and maces all attend, he 

Rides all glorious to be seen ; 
' Lad o' wax ! ' great heaven forfend he 

Don't get spilt before the Queen." 

He did not get spilt as did one of the Aldermen 
seven years earlier, but he had a curious mishap. It 
was muddy weather, and he put on enormous jack-boots 
over his dandy shoes and stockings to keep them 
clean. Waiting at Temple Bar, he tried to take off 
the boots when Her Majesty was near, but they were 
too tight, and would not move. One of the spurs 
caught an Alderman's robe and tore it, so his friends 
came to his aid, the Lord Mayor standing on one leg 
while they tugged. One boot came off, and they 
started on the other, but it remained firm, the crowd 
watching in uproarious glee. When at last the Queen 
was but a few paces away, the agonised City King 
roared, " For God's sake, put my boot on again ! " 
So, backed by half a dozen friends and tugged at by 
another half dozen, he recovered the displaced boot, 
and had to wear both of them until after the banquet, 
when a less frantic effort removed them. 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 379 

When the Whigs came back to power in 1846, for 
Peel's return to office was of short duration, the Prime 
Minister, Lord John Russell, found that he had to deal 
with a two-in-one Monarch. He was never received 
alone by the Queen. She and the Prince were always 
together, and both of them always said, We. This 
was far better than the early exclusion of the Prince, 
though it naturally led at once to the assertion on the 
part of the men that while the Queen bore the title, 
the Prince discharged the function of the Sovereign. 
The Prince had devoted himself to her and to her 
country with marvellous assiduity and rectitude; 
indeed, if he had taken the work more lightly and 
interfered less in the detail of matters, he might not 
have succumbed as he practically did to hard work. 
In 1862 the Duke of Gotha said that his brother, 
Prince Albert, had killed himself with hard work, and 
that from the time he came to England he did not 
know what it was to have "a joyous day." Stock- 
mar's influence in this respect was to be deplored. 
He was like a Dutch art student with whom I once 
worked : " You paint the trees and get their character," 
she said, "but I I see all the little leafs, and must 
paint them." 

After the Prince's death Lord Clarendon wrote : 
" There is a vague belief that his influence was great 
and useful ; but there is a very dim perception of the 
modus operandi. . . . Peel certainly took the Prince 
into council much more than Melbourne, who had his 
own established position with the Queen before the 
Prince came to this country; but I cannot tell you 



380 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

whether it was Peel who first gave him a Cabinet key. 
My impression is that Lord Duncannon, during the 
short time he was Home Secretary, sent the Prince a 
key when the Queen was confined, and the contents 
of the boxes had to be read and signed by her." 

Among those who helped to form Lord John 
Russell's Government was the historian Macaulay, who 
became Paymaster-General ; under Melbourne he had 
been Secretary at War. He could talk for hours with- 
out stopping, and Fanny Kemble said of him, " He is 
like nothing in the world but Bayle's Dictionary, con- 
tinued down to the present time, and purified from all 
objectionable matter. Such a Niagara of information 
did surely never pour from the lips of mortal man ! " 
Someone else remarked that, "Macaulay is laying 
waste society with his waterspouts of talk; people in 
his company burst for want of an opportunity of drop- 
ping in a word;" and Sydney Smith also once said 
of him to Melbourne that he was a book in breeches. 
This, of course, Melbourne repeated to the Queen, so 
for a long time after whenever she saw her Secretary at 
War she went into fits of laughter. She once at Wind- 
sor offered him a horse to ride, drawing from him the 
remark, " If I ride anything, it must be an elephant " 
thus alluding to his inability to remain on a horse if 
he once mounted. After dining at the Palace in 
March, 1850, he wrote : " The Queen was most gracious 
to me. She talked much about my book, and owned 
that she had nothing to say for her poor ancestor James 
the Second. ' Not your Majesty's ancestor,' said I; 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 381 

1 your Majesty's predecessor.' I hope this was not an 
uncourtly correction. I meant it as a compliment, and 
she seemed to take it so." 

When Peel resigned office in 1846 he begged the 
Queen to grant him one favour, and that was never to 
ask him to take service again; however, his political 
ardour was too great a habit to be repressed, and he 
was speedily leading the Opposition. He fell from his 
horse in 1850, and died four days after the accident. 

As for Brougham, when office was suggested again 
to him, he shook his head, saying that now he was 
getting old, and he had nothing left for which to live ; 
but he showed great activity still in the cause of law 
reform, and took great interest in the Social Science 
Association. He died at Cannes in 1868, at the age 
of ninety. 

Lord Melbourne died twenty years earlier. He had 
refused all honours several times, begging the Queen 
not to press her intention of bestowing the Garter upon 
him. It was enough that he had lived honourably and 
done his duty, he said. His character was once 
summed up in the following couplet : 

" For a patriot too cool, for a drudge disobedient, 
And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient/' 

But as in his youth he had never sought favour, so 
in his age no one sought favour from him. The 
stirring world in which he had always lived had some- 
thing more to do than to trouble about an old and 
ailing man, and he laboured under a sense of neglect, 
chafing daily at the indifference which was shown him 



382 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

by those who for years had pressed their friendship 
upon him. In real fact he was suffering from his lonely 
state; neither wife nor child was there to give him 
company, and his only two relatives seem to have been 
his sister, Lady Palmerston, and his brother. In 
happier domestic circumstances his end would have 
been happier and his sorrows non-existent. In Novem- 
ber, 1848, he had another attack of illness, and died in 
unconsciousness at the age of seventy. He was a very 
remarkable man, more perhaps from his extreme 
honesty in a difficult position than for his great attain- 
ments, though those were sufficiently noteworthy. He 
was the most lovable man who had moved in the 
Queen's circle, one who would never wittingly commit 
an injustice to anybody. When he was dead a letter 
from him was handed to his brother, in which he left 
a command that a certain sum of money should be 
given to Mrs. Norton, to help to some extent to show 
his sorrow for the trouble which his thoughtless friend- 
ship had brought her ; and in this he solemnly declared 
that she and he were innocent of all evil in that friend- 
ship. 

Queen Victoria was now, in a sense, in calm waters ; 
she was happy domestically, she adored her husband, 
and in spite of her protest had a large family of 
children ; the terrible leakage in her income, which had 
at one time threatened her with disastrous debt, had 
been stopped, and she was growing rich, though she 
was never so rich as the malcontents would have liked 
to believe, and did in many cases believe. George 
Anson told Greville in 1847 tnat tne Queen's affairs 



QUEEN VICTORIA'S HOME 383 

were so well managed that she would be able to pro- 
vide for the expenses of Osborne out of her income, 
and those expenses would be 200,000. He also said 
that the Prince of Wales would not have less than 
70,000 a year from his Duchy of Cornwall, and 
100,000 had already been saved from it. 

Though the Queen retained for a long time her 
Whiggish sympathies, she was now well on the road to 
strict Toryism, to the end of her life showing especial 
favour to her Conservative leaders, and more or less 
ignoring their rivals. This was caused more by the 
difference in their views upon foreign affairs than by 
her sentiments on home politics, and also by her keen 
sense of the dignity of the Crown. Though when dis- 
pleased the Tories had shown themselves capable of 
dragging that dignity through the mire, yet when they 
were pleased they paid it all lip-service and outward 
homage. The Whigs, on the other hand, though in- 
clined to take Royal disfavour with more equanimity, 
were also inclined to question the doings of Royalty in 
a calmer and, therefore from her point of view, more 
deadly way. When the party in power changed from 
time to time, she parted from Russell in anger, from 
Gladstone in coldness, from Aberdeen whom she had 
detested on her accession with a pang, and from 
Disraeli in deep dejection. It is the whirligig of time 
exemplified in the mind of a woman. 

She had great Ministers to advise her in her work, 
but she was also a great Queen, for though she was no 
genius and had no surpassing intellect, she never 
shirked, she worked step by step through every diffi- 



384 THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA 

culty, she was essentially a climber, and when more 
talented people might have given up she went bravely 
on, so that, to use the slang phrase, she always got 
there. Yes, Queen Victoria was absolutely admirable 
in her conscientiousness and in her determination to do 
well. It angered her ever to be likened to Queen 
Elizabeth, who was an historical bete noire to her, yet 
she had something of Elizabeth's greatness as well as 
more than a touch of her arrogance, added to a more 
intimately personal greatness of her own, that which 
comes from recognising the importance of little things. 
This did not come to its strength until after the death 
of Prince Albert, but it began in the days when, as a 
girl of eighteen, she sat surrounded by despatch-boxes 
while her maid was doing her hair. 



THE END. 



RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LTD., BRUNSWICK ST., STAMFORD ST., S.E., AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK 



INDEX 



Abercromby, Lord, 139 
Aberdeen, Lord, 329, 349, 383 
Adelaide, Queen, i, 8 et seq., 13, 
16, 18, 24, 30, 32, 36, 39, 56, 
59 et seq., 68, 78, 94, 96, 107, 
no, 130, 160, 166, 168 
Adelbert, Prince of Prussia, 223 
Albemarle, Lord, 125 
Albert, Prince Consort, 72, 84, 
89, 92, 104, 139, 203, 229 et 
seq., 235, 277, 289, 291, 297, 
300 et seq., 312, 314, 316, 320 
et seq., 330, 331, 334 et seq., 
34 1 . 344. 34 6 > 35 2 > 357. 359' 
364* 37 1 * 374> 375. 376, 379, 

Allen, Lord, 332 

Althorp, Lord (see Spencer, 3rd 

Earl) 

Alvanley, Lord, 65, 158 
Anglesey, Marquis of, 48, 244 
Anne, Queen, 127, 214, 305, 309 
Anson, George, 251, 312, 322, 

3 2 4> 34 2 35 J > 375 3 82 
Arran, Earl of, 21 
Ashley, Lord, 71 
Augusta, Princess, 226, 235, 316, 

3 J 9 
Augusta, Princess, of Cambridge, 

226, 346 
Aylmer, Lord, 70 



Bean, the Hunchback, 360 
Bedford, Duchess of (see Tavi- 

stock, Lady) 

Bedford, Duke of, 374, 376 
Bedingfield, Lady, 57, 64, 226 
Berry, Mademoiselle de, 105 
Blessington, Lady, 174, 195 
Bloomfield, Lady (see Liddell, 

Georgiana) 

Bosanquet, Sir Bernard, 121 
Bradshaw, James, M.P., 251 
Brad well, Dr., 332 
Brandon, Lord, 149 
Brauhitch, Colonel, 339 
Breadalbane, Marchioness of, 217 
Brodie, Sir B., 280 
Brookfield, Mrs., 73 
Brookfield, W. H., 75, 318 
Brougham, Lord, 37, 41, 43, 68, 

148, 156, 165, 170 et seq., 208, 

220, 248, 287, 381 
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 107 
Brunswick, Duke of, 89 
Buccleuch, Duchess of, 343 
Buckingham, Duke of, 195 
Buckingham Palace, 126, 201, 

237, 238, 268, 301, 315, 328, 

361, 3 6 4 

Buggin, Lady Cecilia (see Under- 
wood, Lady Cecilia) 
Billow, Count von, 184, 224, 238 
Burlington, Countess of, 217 



B 



Bagot, Emily, 66 
Barham, R. H., " Ingoldsby," 27, 
199 



Calvert, the Hon. Mrs., i 
Cambridge, Duchess of, 226, 319 
Cambridge, Duke of, u, 147, 
175, 282, 310, 311, 317, 318 

C C 



386 



INDEX 



Cambridge, Prince George of, 73, 

91, 225, 306, 310, 317, 319 
Campbell, Lord, 130, 240 
Canterbury, Archbishop of, 77, 

117 
Cardigan, Lady, 66, 177, 244, 319, 

328, 353 

Carlyle, Thomas, 7, 123, 201, 315 
Carolath, Prince Edward of, 91 
Caroline, Queen, 205, 236 
Castlereagh, Lord, 128 
Cavendish, General, 187, 328 
Chambers, Dr., 274, 275, 278, 

280 

Charlemont, Countess of, 217 
Charlotte, Princess, 8, 22, 23, 90, 

91, 291, 306, 333 
Charlotte, Queen, 31 
Churchill, Sarah, 214 
Claremont, residence of Prince 

Leopold, 7, 22, 26, 72, 333 
Clarence, Duchess of (see Ade- 
laide, Queen) 
Clarence, Duke of (see William 

IV.) 

Clarendon, Lord, 379 
Clark, Sir James, 146, 203, 234, 

240, 257, 258 et seq., 283 
Clarke, Sir Charles, 259, 261, 262 
Coke, Mr., 52 
Conroy, Sir John, 37, 41, 45, 48, 

S 2 , 54. 55 72, 87, 103, in, 113, 

I2 5 J 37> MO, !43> J44> l6 9> 

184, 188, 202, 259, 262, 287, 

288, 316 

Conyngham, Lady, 2 
Conyngham, Lord, in, 117, 125, 

187 

Cooper, Sir A., 280 
Cork, Lady, 332 
Cornwallis, Lady, 275 
Coutts, Messrs., 189 
Cowan, Alderman, Lord Mayor, 

180 

Cowper, Lady, 186, 244, 281 
Creevy, Thomas, M.P., 21, 24, 

28, 39, 41, 120, 126, 142, 175, 

186 
Croker, John Wilson, 73, 136, 

219 
Cumberland, Duchess of, 31, 39, 

99, 108 
Cumberland, Duke of, n et seq., 

21, 28, 31, 99, 114, 119, 120, 



129, 131, 147, 154, 222, 227, 

304. 309> 3 J o, 3 J 5> 3 J 7> 33 2 , 
334. 345 

Cumberland, Prince George of, 
20, 73, 91, 99, 310 



D 

Dalhousie, Lord, 201 

Davys, Dr., 45 

Davys, Miss, 47, 135 

Delane, John T., Editor of The 

Times, 330, 356 
D'Este, Augustus, u, 21 
D'Este, Ellen, n, 21 
Devonshire, Duke of, 374 
Diestrau, Baron de, 234 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 383 
Dorset, Duke of, 69 
Douro, Earl of, 225 
Doyle, Dr., 265 
Duncannon, Lord, 380 
Dunmore, Earl of, 21 
Durham, Lady, 43, 135, 184, 242 
Durham, Lord, 40, 41 et seq. t 71, 

103, 113, 184, 240, 241 



E 



Edward VII., King, 84 
Edward, Prince of Wales, 83 
Egremont, Lord, 10 
Ellenborough, Lord, n, 12, 20, 

310 
Elphinstone, Lord, 76, 86, 226 

et seq. 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 364 
Errol, Lady Elizabeth (Fitz- 

clarence), 9 
Errol, Lord, 9 
Esterhazy, Prince, 197, 225 
Exeter, Marquis of, 52 



Fairbrother, Louisa, 319 
Fairburn, Lieut. -Colonel, 13 
Falkland, Lady (Fitzclarence), 9 
Fane, Lady Georgina, 66 
Feodore of Leiningen, Princess, 
5, 6, 45, 46, 204 



INDEX 



387 



Fitzclarence, Lord Adolphus, 10, 

96, 98 

Fitzclarence, Lord Augustus, 10 
Fitzclarence, Lord Frederick, 10 
Fitzgerald, Captain Hamilton, 

266, 269 

Follett, Sir William, 152 
Forbes, Viscountess, 278 
Fox, Colonel, 9 
Fox, Lady Mary (Fitzclarence), 9, 

376 



Garth, Captain, 19 
Garth, General, 19 
George III., King, 12, 20, 123, 



> 35> 34> 3 66 
e IV., 



George IV., King, i, 2, 11-14, 19, 
22, 25, 27-8, 32, 45, 80, 108, 
138, 236, 321, 345 

George of Denmark, Prince, 234, 

39 

Gladstone, W. E., 383 
Glenelg, Lord, 199, 240 
Gloucester, Duchess of, 226, 265, 

276, 282, 294, 319 
Gloucester, Duke of, 175 
Graham, Sir James, 55 
Grant-Duff, Lady, 157 
Grantley, Lord, 150, 154 
Greville, Charles, 38, 55, 63, 70, 

96, 154, 192, 209, 225, 252, 273, 

305, 3io, 326, 377 
Grey, Countess, 185 
Grey, Lady Georgiana, 142 
Grey, Lord, 20, 39, 42, 55, 60, 

134, I79> 2 M 
Gurwood, Colonel, 252 



H 



Halford, Sir Henry, 265 

Hanover, King of (see Cumber- 
land, Duke of) 

Hardwicke, Lord, 194, 346 

Hastings, Lady Adelaide, 262 

Hastings, Lady Flora, 125, 222, 
234, 257 et seq., 287-9, 353 

Hastings, Lady Sophia, 255, 262, 
264, 274-5, 2 7 8 281-2 

Hastings, Marchioness of (see 
Loudoun, Countess of) 



Hastings, Marquis of, 255, 259, 

267-8, 270, 278, 280, 284 
Hayter, Sir George, 179 
Headfort, Marquis of, 244, 259 
Heller, royal courtier, 375 
Henry, Captain Charles, 261, 

280, 283 
Henry, Lady Selina, 261, 274, 

282 

Hertford, Lady, 2 
Hesse-Philippthal, Prince Ernest 

of, 91 

Hill, Lord, 55, 334 
Holland, Dr., 280 
Holland, Lord, 174, 240 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 40 
Holmes, William, D.C.L., 17 
Holstein - Sonderburg - Beck - 

Gliicksburg, Prince of, 224 
Hook, Dean James, 250 
Hook, Theodore, 175 
Horsman, Edward, M.P., 251 
Howe, Lady, 63-4 
Howe, Lord, 60, 61 et seq., 214, 

298 

Hume, Joseph, 15, 306 
Hunnings, mad suitor of the 

Princess, 100 



I 



Ingestre, Lady Sarah, 253 
Inverness, Duchess of (see 
Underwood) 



J 



enkinson, Lady Catherine, 48 
ersey, Earl of, 125, 225 
ersey, Lady, 43, 134 
ones, The " Boy," 361, 370 
ordan, Mrs., 8 



K 



Kemble, Frances Anne, 122, 182, 
33> 348, 380 

Kennedy, Lady Augusta (Fitz- 
clarence), 9 

Kensington Palace, 25, 86, 91, 95, 
100, 102, 104, no, 118, 125-6, 
236 



888 



INDEX 



Kent, Duchess of, i et seq., 20, 
24-6, 28, 30 et seq. f 72 et seq., 
82-3, 87, 91, 94 et seq., 108, 
in, 115-6, 125, 133-4, 137* 
140-1, 143-5, 151* l6 4> l6 8, 171, 
178, 186, 188, 192-3, 202 et seq., 
223, 236-7, 241, 255, 258 et seq., 
271, 282, 288, 315, 321, 326, 

33L 339. 345 
Kent, Duke of, 24-5, 29, 37, 41, 

109, 248 

Kinnaird, royal page, 375 
Knox, Admiral, 333, 360 



Lade, Sir John, 166 

Lamb, William (see Melbourne, 
Lord) 

Lambton, John George (see Dur- 
ham, Earl of) 

Lansdowne, Marchioness of, 135, 

137 

Leader, M.P. for Westminster, 
174 

Lee, Sir Sidney, 284, 306 

Lehzen, Baroness, 4-5, 45-7, 140, 
142-3, 164, 199, 203 et seq., 
218-20, 232, 234, 240, 256-7, 
261, 272, 275, 284, 321, 324 et 
seq., 340 

Leibnitz, 117 

Leiningen, Prince of, 91 

Leopold, King of the Belgians, 22 
et seq., 31, 42, 72, 89-90, 93, 
103, 113, 138, 140, 161, 165, 
170, 179, 203, 229 et seq., 240-1, 
288-90, 296-8, 306, 308, 320, 

3 2 9 334 343 > 344-5 
Leslie, C. R., 180, 201 
Leuchtenberg, Duke of, 80 
Lichfield, Lady, 253 
Lichfield, Lord, 252 
Liddell, Georgiana, 238, 337, 339, 

351. 359,. 360 
Lieven, Princess de, 20, 168, 185, 

242, 244 

Lisle, Lady de (Fitzclarence), 109 
Lisle, Lord de, 91 
Liverpool, Earl of, 48, 160, 315 
Loudoun, Countess of, 255, 258 

et seq., 267, 269, 276, 283 
Louis, Mrs., 46 



Louis Philippe, King, 80, 206, 

358, 377 

Lyndhurst, Lady, 129 
Lyndhurst, Lord, 37, 127 et seq., 

200, 309-11 
Lyttelton, Lady, 135, 217 



M 



Macaulay, Lord, 76, 220, 380 

Maria da Gloria, Queen of Portu- 
gal, 57, 80 

Martineau, Harriet, 246 

Mary, Queen, 84 

McCarthy, Justin, 220 

McMahon, Colonel, 138 

Mecklenburg - Strelitz, Grand 
Duke of, 346 

Melbourne, Lord, 37; dismissed 
by William, 67, 113, 115; The 
Times upon, 117; at the Privy 
Council, 118; commencement 
of his friendship with the 
Queen, 125, 130; Queen's chief 
adviser, 134, 138; as private 
secretary, 140; returned to 
power, 148 et seq. ; and the 
Tories, 162, 163, 165; and the 
Queen's favours, 167, 170; rid- 
ing with the Queen, 178, 179, 
183, 184, 188; and the Civil 
List, 189; association with the 

eueen, 191 et seq. ; blamed for 
ueen's affection for Lehzen, 
206; and Bedchamber crisis, 
213 et seq. ; lines upon, 221, 227; 
and the Queen's marriage, 231, 
235,^ 238, 240, 242; spite 
against, 243 ; as scapegoat, 246 
et seq., 253 ; and the Lady 
Flora Hastings scandal, 257 et 
seq., 287; the Queen's reti- 
cence with, 295, 302 ; and the 
Tories, 307; and the Prince's 
Treasurer, 313, 317, 319, 321 ; 
and the Prince, 325 ; his dinner 
party, 332, 338, 339; his resig- 
nation, 341; the Queen's grief, 
343 ; the Prince desires his 
help, 344; continued inter- 
course with the Queen, 348 ; 
and Baron Stockmar, 350 ; 
tenderness for the Queen, 355, 
3/9 380; his death, 381 



INDEX 



389 



Meredith, George, 330 
Merriman, Dr., 279, 280 
Minto, Lord, 70 
Montgomery, Alfred, 174 
Montrose, Duchess of, 253 
Montrose, Duke of, 253 
Moore, Tom, 177 
Morpeth, Lord, 217, 240 
Munster, Lord (George Fitzclar- 

ence), 9, 167 
Murray, Charles, Comptroller of 

the Household, 338 
Murray, Lady Augusta, 21 



N 



Nemours, Due de, 224 
Nevill, Lady Dorothy, 241 
Neumann, General, 340 
Norfolk, Duke of, 127 
Normanby, Lady, 203, 218, 220, 

238, 239, 343 
Normanby, Lord, 250 
Northumberland, Duchess of, 4, 

44, 47, 74, 137, 324 
Norton, Fletcher (see Lord 

Grantley) 

Norton, George, 150 et seq. 
Norton, the Hon. Mrs., 150 et 

seq., 157, 329, 382 



O'Connell, Daniel, 4, 126, 237, 

2Q9> 35 6 

Orange, Prince of, 89, 91 
Orange, Prince Alexander of, 89, 

228 
Orange, Prince William of, 89, 

91, 225 
Owen, Robert, 248 



Palmerston, Lord, 68, 70, 178, 
179, 229, 239, 244, 246, 356 

Parris, Edmund T., 179 

Peel, Sir Robert, 69, 134, 157, 
176, 207, 210 et seq., 299, 304, 
328, 329, 342, 343, 348, 350, 
355, 356, 358, 360, 374, 378, 
379, 381- 

Percival, Rev. H. P., 250 

Pitt, Miss, 321 

Portman, Lady, 135, 217, 257, 
259, 261, 263, 265, 270, 274, 
283, 349 

Portman, Lord, 272 

Princess Royal, 345, 362 

Prussia, King of, 339, 345, 346 

Prussia, William, Prince of, 223 



Raikes, Thomas, 62 
Rawdon, Lady Charlotte, 266 
Reeve, Henry, 157, 175, 176 
Reichenbach, maid to Lady Flora 

Hastings, 276, 278, 279, 280 
Ribblesdale, Lord, 175 
Rodwell, George Herbert, 74, 

108 

Rogers, Samuel, 314, 362 
Rolle, Lord, 198 
Ros, Lord de, 35 
Rosebery, Countess of, 137 
Russell, Lady, 242 
Russell, Lord John, 67, 128, 162, 

175, 209, 210, 214 et seq., 220, 

242, 354, 356, 374> 379, 380, 

383- 

Russell, Lord William, 223 
Russia, Emperor of, 354 
Russia, Tsarevitch of, 224 



Paget, Lord Alfred, 235 
Paget, Sir Athur, 175 
Paget, Matilda, 359 
Palmerston, Lady (see Lady 
Cowper) 



St. James's Palace, 33, 73, 126 

Sandwich, Lady, 343 

Saunders, Henry, Inspector of 

the Palace, 374 
Saxe - Coburg - Gotha, Albert, 

Prince of (see Albert) 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Augustus, 

Prince of, 81, 85, 88 



390 



INDEX 



Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Dowager 

Duchess of, 72, 293 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Duke of, 89, 

2 33 
Saxe - Coburg - Gotha, Ernest, 

Prince of, 89 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Ferdinand, 

Prince of, 85, 91, 224, 233 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Ferdinand, 

Prince of, the younger, 80, 85, 

_ 2 33 

Saxe - Coburg - Gotha, Leopold, 

Prince of, 327 
Schwartzenberg, Prince Paul von, 

197 

Sefton, Lord, 167 
Seton, Sir Henry, 203, 234 
Seymour, Lady, 329 
Shafto, Robert, 174 
Sheil, Richard L., 174 
Sheridan, R. B., 150 
Shrewsbury, Earl of, 48 
Sibthorp, Colonel, 306 
Smith, Sydney, 380 
Somerset, Duchess of, 332 
Sophia, Princess, 19, 45, 265, 

275' 282, 3*9 
Sophia, Princess of Brunswick, 

166 

Soult, Marshall, 196 
Spath, Baroness, 45, 46 
Spencer, 2nd Earl, 67, 68 
Spencer, 3rd Earl, 374 
Spring-Rice, Miss, 335 
Spring-Rice, Rt. Hon. Thomas, 

67, 189 
Stanhope, Hon. Mrs. Leicester, 

332 

Stockledge, Mr., 236 
Stockmar, Baron, 138, 142, 164, 

203, 229, 230, 291, 294, 305, 

307 321, 322, 335 345 348, 

35> 364> 3?o, 373 
Strogonoff, Count von, 197, 199 
Sturge, Joseph, 132 
Surrey, Lord, 201 
Sussex, Duke of, u, 20, 30, 39, 

113, 119, 120, 135, 178, 197, 

220, 310, 317, 320, 323 
Sutherland, Duchess of, 135, 142, 

176, 216, 240, 251, 320, 343 
Sutherland, Duke of, 251 
Sydney, Lady Sophia (Fitzclar- 

ence), 9 



Tavistock, Lady, 135, 177, 217, 
219, 257, 259, 261, 265, 270, 

274. 343 

Tavistock, Lord, 272, 274 
Taylor, Sir Herbert, 19, 137, 138, 

140 

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 341 
Thackeray, W. M., 75 
Thalberg, musician, 239 
Thynne, John, 198 
Tindal, Justice, 152 



U 



Underwood, Lady Cecilia, 21, 

317 
Uxbridge, Earl of, 225, 253, 374 



Van Praet, Herr, 234 

Venables, George, 75 

Victoria, Princess, and Lady 
Conyngham, 2 ; her character 
and upbringing, 3 ; surveil- 
lance over, 5 ; first request 
as Queen to her mother, 6; 
loneliness, 7; Queen Adelaide's 
affection for, 9 ; secret enemies 
of, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25; and 
Claremont, 26; and George 
IV., 32 ; absence from Corona- 
tion of William IV., 34; at the 
opera, 39 and 40 ; at Norris 
Castle, 42, 43; at church, 44; 
governess and tutor, 44; 
Baroness Spath 's affection for, 
46 ; autumn progresses, 47 et 
seq. ; Heir-Presumptive, 48 ; 
educating for Queenship, 53 ; 
at a junvenile ball, 57, 64 ; bred 
a Whig, 71; her attainments, 
71 ; her love for Claremont, 72 ; 
appearance, 73 ; her cousins, 
73 ; love for music, 73 ; Lord 
Elphinstone's acrostic, 76; at 
Ascot, 77; confirmed, 77, 79, 
81, 82 ; and Ferdinand of Saxe- 
Coburg, 86; and Lord Elphin- 
stone, 86; rumours of suitors, 



INDEX 



391 



88 ; arrival of many young Ger- 
man princes, 88; and Prince 
Albert, 92 ; withdrawn from 
Court, 94, 95 ; a terrible birth- 
day banquet, 96, 99 ; and the 
mad Mr. Runnings, 100; 
eighteenth birthday, 102 ; 
rumours about the first Vic- 
torian Cabinet, 103 ; her 
majority and the State ball, 
107 ; deputations to, 108 ; the 
King offers an independent 
household, in; offers income 
of ;io,ooo, in ; and the quar- 
rels between the King and the 
Duchess of Kent, 112; public 
ignorance of character, 113; 
The Times advises her, 115 
Victoria, Queen, announcement 
of her accession, 117; her first 
Council, 118; Carlyle on, 123; 
a royal proclamation, 123; the 
proclaiming of, 125 ; first Levee 
and Drawing Room, 126; dis- 
like for Lyndhurst, 127; re- 
ceives deputations and pro- 
rogues Parliament, 132 ; forma- 
tion of royal household, 135 ; 
private secretary, 137 ; and 
Baron Stockmar, 139; her 
reading and education, 141 ; 
and Baroness Lehzen, 143; and 
Sir John Conroy, 144; emanci- 
pated, 146; and Lord Mel- 
bourne, 154 ; military review 
abandoned, 159; name used in 
elections, 161 ; method with her 
advisers, 164 ; thoughtfulness 
for others, 166 ; and Princess 
de Lieven, 168; and her 
mother, 169; and Brougham, 
173 ; quick temper, 177 ; recrea- 
tions, 178; Guildhall banquet, 
180 ; opening Parliament, 181 ; 
political leaning, 183 ; rumours 
to marry Melbourne, 185 ; at 
dinner, 186; her laugh, 188 ; 
need of money, 189 ; Civil List, 
190; and Melbourne, 191; her 
evenings, 193 ; Coronation, 
197; and Baroness Lehzen, 
205; Government crisis, 210; 
unpopular, suggestions of mar- 
riage, 222 ; State balls, 225 ; 
and Lord Elphinstone, 226 ; 



and Prince Albert, 229 ; mad 
suitors, 235 ; amusements, 238 ; 
simplicity in dress, 240; love 
of children, 242 ; and Mel- 
bourne, 244; public disloyalty, 
245 ; and national education, 
249 ; sermons before, 250 ; Tory 
disloyal speeches, 251 ; the Brad- 
shaw-Horsman duel about, 251 ; 
hissed at Ascot, 252 ; quoted, 
255; mother and Lehzen, 256; 
Lady Flora Hastings, 257 et 
seq. ; and Sir James Clark, 277 ; 
popular condemnation of, 280 ; 
in debt, 287 ; unevenness of 
temper, 288; loneliness, 290; 
proposes to Albert, 293 ; reti- 
cence with Melbourne, 295 ; 
Melbourne's care for, 297, 305 ; 
how regarded by her Parlia- 
ment, 306 ; wishes Albert to be 
King-Consort, 308; and the 
precedence of Albert, 309 ; and 
Albert's secretary, 313; mar- 
riage, 314, 320; reticence with 
her husband, 321 ; Lehzen 's in- 
fluence, 322 ; Melbourne's pro- 
tective care, 325 ; love of danc- 
ing* 3 2 7 ; accused of extrava- 
gance, 328 ; receives Mrs. Nor- 
ton, 329; shot at by Oxford, 
331 ; expects an heir, 332 ; birth 
of Princess Royal, 333 ; sensi- 
tiveness about Prince Albert, 
336; love of round games and 
music, 337 ; walks on terrace at 
Windsor, 340 ; loses Melbourne, 
341 ; tenacity of impression, 
343 ; at wedding of Augusta of 
Cambridge, 346 ; retains friend- 
ship for Melbourne, 348 ; dinner 
party to new Ministers, 349, 
351; goes to Chatsworth, 352; 
prejudice against second mar- 
riages, 354; and Melbourne, 
355 ; the Peel Government, 356 ; 
visits Scotland, 357; visits 
Louis Philippe at Eu, 358 ; 
second attempt on life, 359; 
household arrangements, 365 ; 
desire for privacy, 366 ; use of 
royal we, 379 ; and Macaulay, 
380 ; prosperity of, 382 ; char- 
acter, 383 
Villiers, George, 155 



392 



INDEX 



w 

Wakefield, Mr., 16 

Wangenheim, Baron, 24 

Warr, Lady de la, 349 

Warr, Lord de la, 373 

Watson, Sir Frederick, 367 

Wellington, Duke of, 2, 12, 30, 
33, 36, 62, 68, 75, 114, 115, 
120, 129, 135, 148, 155, 157, 
160, 165, 208, 209, 210 et seq. t 
220, 264, 296, 302, 304, 306, 
311, 320, 333, 349, 352, 377 

West, Charles, 374 

West, Mortimer, 374 

West, Reginald, 374 

Westmacott, Mr., 19 

Wetherall, General, 37 

Wetherell, Sir Charles, 17 

Wilkie, Sir David, 179 

Wilks, Mr., M.P., 241 

William IV., i, 2, 4, 6, 8 et seq., 
ii et. seq., 21, 22, 30, 32 
et seq., 60, 62, 67 et seq., 
73> 75. 76, 78, 80, 82, 83, 87, 



88, 89, 91, 94 et seq., 102, 105, 
107, no, 113, 115, 116, 117, 

I2 3> !34, !3 8 J 43> 147. J 53 
166, 185, 192, 196, 214, 306, 

37i 
William, Prince of Lowenstein, 

3 2 3 

Willis, N. P., 77, 82 
Wilson, Horace, 348 
Wharncliff, Lord, 69 
Winchilsea, Lord, 69 
Windsor, 69, 95, 161, 174, 236, 

238, 37 6 

Wood, Captain John, 236 
Wynford, Lord, 153 
Wynn, Miss, 118 
Wurtemberg, Prince Alexander 

of, 73 
Wurtemberg, Prince Ernest of, 

73 



York, Duke of, 23 



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