Stockmar said that the new Prime Minister had shown a "fairness and delicacy, an uprightness, conscientiousness and circumspection, such as are not likely to be met with again in similar circumstances." It was known that "of all the English Ministers with whom the Prince was brought into contact . . . he preferred the stately and upright commoner" and that, in return, "Peel estimated and appreciated Prince Albert's character most truly and clearly."
It was upon these estimable grounds that Peel came closer into the life of the Court. The Queen was finally convinced that the Tories were not the knaves she thought them to be and Lord Melbourne said that Peel was a "thorough gentleman."
Lord Melbourne no longer came to dine three nights a week. The benevolent reign of the gallant old favourite was almost over; instead, George Anson and the Prince were beside the Queen. Anson commented on her "good sense" and he spoke of the cabinet ministers treating the Prince "with deference and respect." He added,
"Art and science look up to him as their especial patron ... the good and wise look up to him with pride and gratitude. "1
The Queen's own feelings were expressed bluntly when she confessed to King Leopold that if Prince Albert went to the North Pole she would go with him. 2
SIR ROBERT PEEL described Prince Albert to Lord Kingsdown as
"one of the most extraordinary young men"he had ever met. Peel was "not a little touched" by the way the Prince forgot the incident in the House of Commons, when, as leader of the Opposition, he had fought against the annuity. Not "a shade of personal soreness could be traced" in the Prince's talks with him. Stockmar alone seemed dissatisfied. He wrote to the Prince,1
"Let us but cleave devoutly but unceasingly to high thoughts and noble purpose."Stockmar accused him of vanity and weakness because, he said, his pupil was inclined to
"rest satisfied with mere talk, where action is alone appropriate, and can alone be of any value."It must have been galling, with so many signs of success, to be urged "not to spare his own flesh, but to cut into his own faults as well as other men's."