AND THE HOUSEHOLD
But you see, properly speaking, it is not our fault;
for the Lord Steward lays the fire only
and the Lord Chamberlain lights it.'
'REALLY WHEN ONE IS SO HAPPY, blessed in ones home life, as I am,' the Queen wrote not long after Sir Robert Peel came into office, 'politics (provided my country is safe) must take only 2nd. place.' Already George Anson had noted that 'Her Majesty interests herself less and less about politics' and that 'her dislike is less than it was to her present Ministers'. 1
Victoria soon came to regard Peel far less unkindly and was able to recognize his great qualities. To be sure he was still rather stiff and irritating on occasions; but he could talk 'very interestingly, and strongly recommended himself to her by entertaining a high opinion of Prince Albert's character and attainments. He saw to it that the Prince, who now had keys to Cabinet boxes, was sent all important Government papers so that he could go through them with the Queen and explain to her any points she did not understand. Peel also made it possible for the Prince to be present when Ministers had audiences with her; indeed, on occasions, the Prince saw Ministers alone on the Queen's behalf, with her approval, and held receptions for her since, so she said, 'presentations to him should be considered the same as to me'.
He wrote memoranda for her, drafted letters, took decisions, became, in effect, not only a highly competent and extremely hard-working private secretary, but an adviser of exceptional, indeed unique influence, intent,