'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