- Bedchamber Crisis
The Bedchamber crisis (May 1839) is the unofficial name for the 'crisis' that took place under
Queen Victoriaduring a change of Her Majesty's government. After the resignation of Lord Melbourne, Robert Peelwas offered the opportunity of forming a Conservative government but realised that such a government would hold a minority in the House of Commons and would be structurally weak, possibly damaging his future political career.
Peel resolved the situation by accepting the invitation on the condition that Queen Victoria dismiss her Whig-appointed
ladies of the bedchamber. The Queen refused to accept the condition, believing that her ladies were close friends and confidants, rather than pawns of ceremony. Sir Robert Peel, therefore, resigned as Premier, resulting in the return of Lord Melbourne as Prime Minister.
After Victoria's marriage to
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gothain 1840, the Queen no longer relied on her ladies as companions. In 1841, another General Electionwas held, and Lord Melbourne lost to Peel. Perhaps on the advice of Victoria's new adviser and confidant, Prince Albert, Victoria made no attempt to block Sir Robert's request to replace the Whig ladies of the bedchamber with Tories. The crisis was quickly forgotten.
Reference: The Times, Thursday, May 16, 1839; pg. 4
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