'They wished to treat me like a girl,
but I will show them that I am Queen of England.'
HE WAS, SAID THE QUEEN, capable of 'every villainy'. She and Lord Melbourne were once again, on 21 January 1839, talking about Sir John Conroy. Melbourne had remarked, apropos of the man's intimacy with the Duchess of Kent, Princess Sophia and Lady Flora Hastings, not to mention his wife, 'What an amazing scape of a man he must have been to have kept three ladies at once in good humour.' 1
Conroy, that 'Devil incarnate', had been giving trouble ever since she had come to the throne. On the very morning of the late King's death, as Lord Melbourne came out of the Privy Council meeting, he was handed a paper listing the sacrifices Conroy had made, both professionally and financially, to serve the Duchess so selflessly and the conditions which he required before he could consider retirement: they were a peerage, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, and a pension of 3,000 a year. 2 'This is really too bad! Have you ever heard such impudence,' exclaimed
Lord Melbourne as the paper fell from his hands. 3 Soon, however, he came to agree with Baron Stockmar that the man's retirement was the I only measure' which might help to improve the Duchess of Kent's relationship with her daughter who was, indeed, prepared to promise almost anything to the dreadful fellow provided he left the country; and, since Conroy protested that he was far from content with the mere baronetcy accorded him, he was given an undertaking that, if Melbourne I should continue as her Majesty's adviser', he would be raised to an Irish peerage as soon as a new creation could be made. Melbourne had hoped