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to my marriage. Then I was in a safe haven, and there I remained for twenty[-one] years,' (Prothero, Life of Dean Stanley, ii. 127).
As soon as the prince finally settled down to his new life he regarded it as his duty (as The prince's public position. he wrote in 1850 to the Duke of public Wellington) to 'fill up every gap which, as a woman, she would naturally leave in the exercise of her regal functions, continually and anxiously to watch every part of the public business, in order to be able to advise and assist her at any moment, in any of the multifarious and difficult questions or duties brought before her, sometimes international, sometimes political, or social, or personal.' He claimed to be of right ' the natural head of her family, superintendent of her household, manager of her private affairs, sole confidential adviser in politics, and only assistant in the communications with the officers of the government.' At the same time he was, he pointed out, 'the husband of the queen, the tutor of the royal children, the private secretary of the sovereign, and her permanent minister.' The defect and danger of such a claim lay, according to the constitution of the country, in the fact that the prince was under no parliamentary control, and his description of himself as the queen's permanent minister was inexact. Substantially, however, the statement truthfully represented the prince's functions and occupation during his career as Queen Victoria's consort. But a large section of the public never willingly acquiesced in his exercise of so much activity and authority. Until his death he had to run the gauntlet of a galling and unceasing public criticism, and the queen, despite her wealth of domestic happiness, was rarely free from the sense of discomfort and anxiety which was bred of a consciousness that many of her subjects viewed her husband with dislike or suspicion. But from 1841 to 1861, the date of his death, the fact is unassailable that Prince Albert had as good a right as the queen to be regarded as the ruler of the British realm.
On the queen's marriage the Duchess of Kent at once removed from the royal palace, Changes in the palace. and the Baroness Lehzen soon afterwards retired from the queen's service. These changes in the royal household disposed of checks which might have seriously limited the development of Prince Albert's influence. The supersession of both mother and gouvernante was effected without friction. The curmudgeonly king of Hanover declined the queen's request to give up to the Duchess of Kent his apartments in St. James's Palace which he never occupied, and thereupon the queen rented for her mother Ingestre House, Belgrave Square, at 2,000l. a year ; but on the death of the Princess Augusta in September, Clarence House, St. James's Palace, was made over to her, together with Frogmore Lodge at Windsor. Hardly a day passed without the exchange of visits. As a rule, the duchess both lunched and dined with her daughter. The Baroness Lehzen left England in October 1842 for her native country of Hanover, finally settling with a sister at Bückeburg (cf. Bloomfield, Reminiscences, i. 215). For many years the queen found time to write her a letter once a week, an interval which was subsequently lengthened to a month at the baroness's own considerate request ; the correspondence was maintained until the baroness's death in 1870. Stockmar alone of the queen's early confidential attendants retained his position after her marriage ; until 1857 he spent the autumn, winter, and spring of each year with the queen and Prince Albert, and occupied rooms in their palaces. On every domestic or public ques- tion that arose both the queen and prince looked to him for private guidance.Amid the festivities which celebrated the early days of married life general alarm was First attempt on the queen's life, 10 June 1840. caused by an attack on the queen's life. The outrage had no political the queen's significance, and served to increase her popularity. On 10 June a brainless potboy, Edward Oxford, fired two shots at her from a pistol as she was driving through the Green Park from Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park Corner. She was unhurt, and to all appearance unmoved, and after making a call at her mother's house to assure her of her safety, she continued her customary drive in Hyde Park. The lad was arrested and was mercifully pronounced to be insane. Addresses of congratulation were presented by both houses of parliament. On 12 June 1840—two days after the incident a concert was given at Buckingham Palace under Costa's direction, and the queen herself took part in no less than five numbers, singing in a duet with Prince Albert, and in a trio with Signors Rubini and Lablache, and in three choruses. A week or two later a magnificent reception was accorded her at Ascot. Next month the approaching birth of an heir to the throne was announced, and, in accordance with the queen's wish, a bill was passed constituting Prince Albert regent in case of her death, provided that he did not remarry a catholic and that he resided in the country. Prince Albert, by the advice of Stockmar, and with