Bedchamber crisis, 1839. After the resignation of Lord Melbourne in 1839 Robert Peel was summoned to form a ministry. Peel mentioned casually to the queen the changes he thought should be made to the royal household. He wanted the queen to dismiss those ladies of the bedchamber whose husbands were Whigs. Subsequently Peel received a letter from Victoria stating that the removal of the ladies of her bedchamber would be repugnant to her feelings. The queen appealed to Melbourne and, in their desire to support her, the Whig statesmen reluctantly returned to their posts. With the fall of the Whig administration in 1841 the question rose again. This time the prince consort arranged for the ladies in question to resign voluntarily and this compromise settled the difficulty.
Richard A. Smith
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