[He felt] 'Like a man restored to life after
his funeral sermon had been preached'.
'MY RELATIONS WITH HER MAJESTY are most satisfactory,' wrote Sir Robert Peel soon after his appointment as Prime Minister in September 1841. 'The Queen has acted towards me not merely (as everyone who knew Her Majesty's character must have anticipated) with perfect fidelity and honour, but with great kindness and consideration. There is every facility for the despatch of public business, a scrupulous and most punctual discharge of every public duty and an exact understanding of the relation of a constitutional Sovereign to her advisers.' 1
For her part, the Queen could scarcely have been more content with Sir Robert's subsequent behaviour. She warmly supported his policies and strongly condemned those who opposed them. His decision to increase the grant to Maynooth, the training college for Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, was eminently sensible, 'one of the greatest measures ever proposed'; and she blushed for the narrow-minded, bigoted Protestants who opposed it, 'so void of all right feeling, & so wanting in Charity'. 2 As for Mr Gladstone, who felt that he must resign over the grant since he had once written a book condemning subsidies to Roman Catholics, she quite agreed with the Foreign Secretary, Lord Aberdeen, who was alleged to have said to Gladstone, 'No one reads your book and those who do, don't understand it.' 3
She also shared Peel's belief that the time had come to reform the Corn Laws, and was outraged by those in his own party, including the Duke of Wellington, Lord Stanley and Benjamin Disraeli, who would not