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The Bedchamber crisis
occurred in May 1839 after Whig politician Lord Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, PC, FRS was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary and Prime Minister . He is best known for his intense and successful mentoring of Queen Victoria, at ages 18-21, in the ways of politics...
had resigned as Prime Minister. Queen Victoria invited Tory politician Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...
to form a new government. Peel 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 accepted the invitation on the condition that Queen Victoria dismiss some of her ladies of the bedchamber, many of whom were wives or relatives of leading Whig politicians. The Queen refused the request, considering her ladies as close friends and confidantes, not as objects of political bargaining. Peel, therefore, refused to become Prime Minister and Melbourne was eventually persuaded to stay on as Prime Minister.
After Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, the Queen no longer relied on her ladies as companions. In the 1841 general election, Peel's Tories gained a majority and Peel replaced Melbourne. Perhaps on the advice of Prince Albert, Victoria made no attempt to block Peel's request to replace the Whig ladies of the bedchamber with Conservatives.
The Bedchamber Crisis was depicted in the 2009 film The Young Victoria
The Young Victoria is a 2009 period drama film based on the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, and her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The film was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by screenwriter Julian Fellowes. Graham King, Martin Scorsese, Sarah, Duchess of...