Queen Victoria: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

41
DISRAELI

'He is full of poetry, romance & chivalry. When he knelt down
to kiss my hand wh[ich] he took in both his -- he said:
"In loving loyalty and faith."

ONE OF THE ORDEALS which the Queen found most trying was the inescapable and constant tribulation of having to grow accustomed to new men in her Cabinet, for she had always hated change and clung to old friends with an almost passionate intensity. Six months after her husband's death she had asked Lord Clarendon to warn Lord Derby, the Leader of the Opposition, that her mind was so strained that a change of Government might well be 'more than her reason could stand'.

She also contrived to ensure that her Household remained comparatively stable, even though this eventually entailed being served by increasingly elderly men, several of whom were deaf. General Grey, the Queen's Private Secretary, was still in office when he died aged sixty-six in 1870. Henry Ponsonby, who succeeded him, remained Private Secretary until he suffered a stroke in 1895 in his seventieth year. Sir Thomas Biddulph, Keeper of the Privy Purse, was also in his seventieth year when he died at Abergeldie Mains near Balmoral; and Sir James Clark was well over seventy when he was treating the Prince Consort in his last illness. Sir Arthur Bigge, Ponsonby's successor, later Lord Stamfordham, remained the Queen's Private Secretary until her death.

Changes in her household were nearly always opposed, often successfully. When at the age of forty-one, in November 1863, Lady Augusta Bruce decided to marry -- and had accepted the 48-year-old Canon Arthur Penryn Stanley of all people -- the Queen did not trouble to hide her

-314-

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Queen Victoria: A Personal History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Author's Note and Acknowledgements xv
  • Queen Victoria's Prime Ministers xviii
  • Part One - 1819-1861 1
  • 1 - The Family 3
  • 2 - The Parents 9
  • 3 - The Child 17
  • 4 - Conroy 25
  • 5 - Progresses 30
  • 6 - Uncles 41
  • 7 - The Young Queen 53
  • 8 - Melbourne 60
  • 9 - Coronation 70
  • 10 - The Hastings Affair 76
  • II - A Pleasant Life' 85
  • 12 - A Headstrong Girl 90
  • 13 - German Cousins 98
  • 14 - Prince Albert 107
  • 15 - The Bridegroom 111
  • 16 - Honeymoon 120
  • 17 - Robert Peel 130
  • 18 - The Prince and the Household 137
  • 19 - Royal Quarrels 148
  • 20 - Osborne 157
  • 21 - Travelling 165
  • 22 - Balmoral 175
  • 23 - The Prince of Wales 183
  • 24 - Palmerston 193
  • 25 - Chartists 199
  • 26 - Pam is Out 204
  • 27 - The Great Exhibition 210
  • 28 - Scenes 216
  • 29 - Crimean War 221
  • 30 - Napoleon III 230
  • 31 - The Princess Royal 238
  • 32 - Indian Mutiny 248
  • 33 - The German Grandson 256
  • 34 - Death of the Duchess 264
  • 35 - The Disappointing Heir 268
  • 36 - Death of the Prince 276
  • Part Two - 1861-1901 283
  • 37 - The Grieving Widow 285
  • 38 - Seances and Services 293
  • 39 - Princess Alexandra 298
  • 40 - The Recluse 307
  • 41 - Disraeli 314
  • 42 - John Brown 321
  • 43 - The Royalty Question 331
  • 44 - The Princely Pauper 338
  • 45 - Typhoid Fever 342
  • 46 - Maids-Of-Honour 349
  • 47 - Secretaries and Ministers 353
  • 48 - Regina Et Imperatrix 360
  • 49 - The Half-Mad Firebrand 367
  • 50 - Golden Jubilee 379
  • 51 - Die EnglÄnderin 384
  • 52 - The Daughters 391
  • 53 - The Sons 396
  • 54 - The Grand Children 414
  • 55 - Would-Be Assassins 420
  • 56 - Holidays Abroad 428
  • 57 - Death of Brown 440
  • 58 - The Munshi 446
  • 59 - Diamond Jubilee 455
  • 60 - Life at Court 461
  • 61 - Dinner Parties 468
  • 62 - Books 477
  • 63 - Bookmen 481
  • 64 - Failing Health 484
  • 65 - Death 492
  • 66 - Funeral and Burial 495
  • References 503
  • Sources 523
  • Index 535
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