TL: King George IV

Curious that Louise didn't attend her daughter's wedding, it rather suggests she does attend her son's wedding, likely in 1837.

This would suggest she doesn't approve of the choice of her daughter's husband, but even if she similarly doesn't like her son's, it gets her more attention and maybe an attempt to her some power.

And who doesn't she like? Leopold. So that looks like we might get a Charlotte and Albert match.
 
George lost his Father,younger brother, and his mother has broken contact with him.
Geez, this kid is either going to be drowning his sorrows in wine or clinging on to the first person who shows him affection.
I hope everything works out with him.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Great chapter like always. Louise has been selfish since the beginning but this update and the last one really show how awful she is. She's even worse than the duchess of Kent.
Thank you! Fortunately there'll be a little respite for Georgie and Lottie from their mother. Unfortunately, she'll be back before too long...
Curious that Louise didn't attend her daughter's wedding, it rather suggests she does attend her son's wedding, likely in 1837.

This would suggest she doesn't approve of the choice of her daughter's husband, but even if she similarly doesn't like her son's, it gets her more attention and maybe an attempt to her some power.

And who doesn't she like? Leopold. So that looks like we might get a Charlotte and Albert match.
I love reading these guesses! All I will say is; 1837 is going to be a VERY important year in the lives of the British Royal Family. ;)
George lost his Father,younger brother, and his mother has broken contact with him.
Geez, this kid is either going to be drowning his sorrows in wine or clinging on to the first person who shows him affection.
I hope everything works out with him.
This is great to read as it's exactly what I hoped to do with George. Because he became King at such a young age, the monarch (and the man) he will become will be entirely defined by his childhood - perhaps moreso than with most people. Thanks for reading!
 
Here is what I think will happen: George falls for an Eton classmate’s sister who has also lost her father and the two fall in love and bond over a lack of love in their lives. However, Stockmar hates this and forbids George from writing her. Then, for the first time, George strikes out against Stockmar and continues to write to the girl.
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 6: Lessons to be Learned

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George V

Part One, Chapter Six: Lessons to be Learned

With the summer at an end, the Duchess of Clarence and the royal children returned to Windsor. It had always been the intention that the King should attend Eton College and to that end, he had been given private tuition by one of Eton’s teaching professors, George Cottingham, by way of preparation. This was an experiment devised by Stockmar and the late King. No member of the Royal Family, let alone a reigning monarch, had attended a public school before. [1] At this time in England, education was only compulsory in certain areas of the country with very few schools available outside of the larger towns and cities. The wealthy sent their children to fee-paying schools but there was no set age at which boarders might enrol. [2] Eton College accepted boys from the ages of 8-11 as day boarders and thereafter, as full-time boarders, but the focus was entirely on academic skill and there was little room for encouraging creativity or developing vocational talents. That being said, Eton naturally taught more than the three Rs. Boarders could expect to learn the social niceties expected of them at grand formal dinners offered by House Masters and they were encouraged to take out their frustrations and growing pains on the playing fields. Day boarders often attended for a year before moving permanently to the college during which time they were expected to have learned the strict daily routine that gave wealthy parents the security of knowing Eton would turn their sons into upstanding, disciplined young men.

George V had visited Eton before he became a day boarder and took an immediate dislike to the college. But in September 1829, the full horror of what was to become his life full-time in just 12 months came as a terrible shock. Juniors (day boarders were considered juniors regardless of how long they had attended the college) were subservient to senior boarders and thus had to act as “fags”* or servants to those in the upper years. Forced to clean, cook and run errands for the seniors, juniors were often victims of relentless bullying. Pranks were taken to extreme levels and in 1831, Sir John Carmichael-Anstruther, a young baronet, was fatally shot dead when several pupils rigged up a pistol to startle anyone who entered the dormitory. Tragically, the boys miscalculated and pistol shot the 13-year-old dead. [3] There were frequently reports of scaldings, broken limbs and even brandings when junior students failed to please seniors. Officially, such behaviour was grounds for immediate expulsion. Unofficially, the Masters tended to turn a blind eye. It was all part of the process of “making men” of the boarders.

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Eton College.

The Masters were unlikely to be shocked by violence given their proclivity to employ corporal punishment for any minor misdemeanor. Birching was held in full view of fellow pupils on a special wooden birching block over which the offender was held. House Masters alone could use the birch, House Captains had to make do with administering justice with a cane whilst Prefects were restricted to the use of their own hands to slap the poor offender in the face. This often got out of hand and boys were regularly beaten for the most harmless of crimes such as failing to make their bed properly or forgetting their schoolbooks. There was a distinct lack of home comforts too. The food for juniors was incredibly poor whilst seniors ate much better fare with House Masters or Captains. Windows were deliberately left open in junior dormitories so that the boarders had to sleep in the cold with rain or snow blowing into the room. If a junior was spotted by a Prefect on his first day and considered an easy target, he might well be given the bed closest to the window and given the gift of an “apple pie bed”. The sheets were folded in such a way that the poor boy would wake up the next morning unable to free himself and in the winter, found his bedclothes wet through. [4]

There were to be no apple pie beds for the King of course. Stockmar had decreed that the King be treated the same as any other day boarder and though the Duke of Clarence objected, he was enrolled as George Hanover. [5] Nobody at the College was to refer to him as ‘Your Majesty’ as members of the Royal Household did and there was to be now bowing and absolutely no preferential treatment. In spite of this, everybody knew who the boy was and for the first two weeks as a day boarder, far from being targeted by bullies, Georgie was completely ignored and isolated. Nobody approached him during break times and he ate his luncheon entirely alone as nobody else dared sit with him. At 5pm every day, he would be collected by Honest Billy who returned him to Windsor Castle where the poor boy sobbed as he was forced to endure yet more lessons with George Cottingham and to complete his homework for the next day. This naturally meant that Georgie saw very little of his sister and whilst Charlotte Louise had Cousin Victoria to keep her company, Georgie had nobody.

After six weeks, Stockmar was summoned to Eton by the Headmaster, John Keate. Keate had helped to provide the Royal Household with Cottingham as George’s tutor but now he had reservations about the experiment's success. George V was the first member of the Royal Family to attend a public school on the recommendation of Baron Stockmar. His father, George IV, and his uncle, the Prince Regent, had been educated in emulation of the French royal custom with tutors being brought in to teach them academic subjects and governors and sub-governors introduced to oversee “discipline and morals”. But Stockmar had felt that George V would benefit from a different type of education and that his lessons with Cottingham would prepare him well for “regular” schooling. The government were only too happy to see the proposal put into action and much was made of the King being “a normal child seeking to better himself through his academic pursuits”. Not that many “normal” children of the day had such opportunities. Queen Louise had not been keen on the idea of sending her son to Eton but she had agreed some years ago because she felt it important for him to mix with other boys of similar (though naturally not identical) backgrounds. Stockmar saw the merit in that but sadly, Georgie found himself ostracised by his classmates.

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John Keate.

Keate’s assessment of the young King was that his position made it impossible for the other boys to fully accept him as one of their own. Nobody dared play a prank on the monarch, neither did anyone seek out his friendship thinking others would accuse them of trying to ingratiate themselves with royalty. When one boarder said good morning to Georgie and accidentally called him ‘Your Majesty’, a senior put a toad in his bed. Nobody else was going to risk being tarred with the same brush. The result of this of course was that Georgie didn’t excel academically. His education had been more than adequate at home but in a strange environment confronted with boys he could neither relate to or become friends with, he simply switched off in the classroom and sat silently without reading or writing until it was time for him to leave at the end of the day. Stockmar was furious. He attributed this behaviour not to loneliness but to laziness and warned the Duke of Clarence that the King was “stubborn and arrogant”. He even asked Keate to ensure the young King was “not spared his share of beatings for bad behaviour”. Keate responded that no Eton staff member nor student would dare raise a hand against the Sovereign, even if he was a ten-year-old boy.

Stockmar refused to give up on the Eton plan. He lectured the King on the importance of study and reminded him that it had been his father’s wish that he receive a proper education. Georgie was unmoved. The Duke of Wellington recalled how, when he approached the King and asked him how he liked Eton (being an alumni himself), the young boy replied; “I hate it Sir, I hate it more than I hate anything else in the world”. It was decided to temporarily remove Georgie from Eton with a view to enrolling him for a second attempt at success in a few months’ time. Whilst Stockmar felt this an unnecessary interruption, the Duke of Clarence was concerned that the young King was becoming withdrawn. It was Prince Leopold who proposed a solution. He suggested that his nephews, Hereditary Duke Ernst and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha join the King for two terms at Eton in the new year. In this way, the King would have friends of his own age and background whom he knew and liked. The Duke of Clarence agreed but Stockmar warned that this was “tantamount to indulging slovenliness” and suggested that it would “distract His Majesty from his studies and further interrupt the process agreed by the late King to ensure a robust education”.

Georgie was delighted to be joined by the Coburg princes at Eton the following year but their presence did little to improve the situation. Though nobody dared approach the King, many boarders were willing to approach the two new arrivals from Germany whom they were unfamiliar with (having been enrolled as Ernest and Albert von Coburg). On the first day of the term just after the King’s 10th birthday, one of the seniors demanded that Prince Albert fetch him a clean neckerchief from his room. Albert refused and as punishment, a crowd of pupils watched as mud was smeared on Albert’s face. Georgie was furious at this and took it upon himself to kick the senior in the shins. Forgetting himself, the senior brawled with the young King until there was a fist-fight that resulted in Georgie being hauled before Headmaster Keate with a split bottom lip. In normal circumstances, Keate would have birched the boy before the entire college for such behaviour but he could not bring himself to do so when the boy in question was the monarch. Reluctantly, he sent the King home and summoned Stockmar once again. If a student could not be disciplined, he could not remain at the college. Keate had no option but to politely request that the King be removed from Eton “for his own sake as much as that of his fellows”.

Stockmar was livid. He had carefully plotted out Georgie’s education and Eton had always been the school of choice, not so much because of its academic credentials but because it sent a clear message to the country that the King might be a child but that he was working hard to prepare himself for adulthood (and most importantly) for Kingship. Stockmar called an emergency summit at Clarence House attended by the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Wellington, Prince Leopold, Headmaster Keate, George Cottingham and the Bishop of London. All were agreed that the Eton experiment had failed spectacularly but Stockmar was not yet ready to give up on institutional learning. “If His Majesty cannot enrol in a public school”, he warned, “How can we expect him to undertake military training later?”. In Stockmar’s view, the obvious answer was to send the King abroad for his education. The Duke of Wellington was bitterly opposed.

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A postcard of Stockmar from a portrait painted by Winterhalter.

Firstly, to send the King abroad for his studies might reflect badly on England’s public schools. Secondly, the only benefit to schooling abroad would be anonymity and even then, it surely wouldn’t take long before his identity was revealed? Thirdly, the idea of the monarch living abroad for almost five years was unthinkable and he was certain that the Cabinet would never agree. The Duke of Clarence was inclined to agree with the Prime Minister but he also saw the advantages. However, Stockmar overplayed his hand when he suggested that the King might be educated in Hanover. Queen Louise’s recent departure for Hanover had cast a long shadow. It was decided therefore that if the King could not go to school, school must go to the King. Cottingham was dismissed and new tutors were engaged from Trinity College, Cambridge and Christ Church, Oxford. The King’s routine would change dramatically with all extra-curricular activities forbidden and three hours learning a day added to his schedule. Sunday afternoons were to be the only free time allocated to him and even then, he was expected to deliver a short essay explaining that morning’s sermon to Stockmar before he could do as he wished.

After three weeks of this, Georgie longed to spend some quality time with his sister Charlotte Louise and his cousin Victoria. Seizing the opportunity of his tutor being late to class, Georgie snuck out of the schoolroom and ran along the corridor to where the two princesses were waiting for their governess to take them for a walk in Windsor Great Park. Without thinking, the three children made a break for it and ran giggling all the way out of the State Apartments and through the Gateway recently named in honour of Georgie’s father, George IV. From there, they made their way down the Long Walk and began to climb trees. When the King’s tutor arrived at the school room and found the King had absconded, he knew where to look first. He found the governess, Mrs McKay, sobbing anxiously into her handkerchief. The memory of Prince Edward’s tragic accident was all too recent and the disappearance of the royal children caused a panic that saw every member of the household dispatched to find them. They were not far from the George IV Gateway; indeed, a guard had seen them walk past and assumed it to be their day off from their lessons. The princesses were spanked and put to bed with no supper and Dash, the puppy so beloved by Princess Victoria, was not allowed to sleep in her bedroom for a week. Princess Charlotte Louise was to forego ballet lessons for the same period.

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Royal Lodge, Windsor.

But the harshest punishment meted out by Stockmar was to the King. As it had been Georgie who encouraged his sister and cousin to play truant with him, he must take full responsibility. To prevent him being distracted and tempted to repeat the experiment in the future, Stockmar decided that the King would no longer live in the State Apartments in the adjoining rooms allocated to the royal children by the Duchess of Clarence. He would be allowed to sleep there on Saturday evenings after his studies and spend Sundays with Charlotte Louise and Victoria. But for the rest of the week, the King would live at Royal Lodge with Honest Billy. Only his tutors and members of the Household would be admitted until Stockmar was persuaded that Georgie was at the academic level Stockmar believed he should be. The King was allowed to take his puppy, Jack, with him but was only allowed to spend time with the dog in the evenings. The Duke and Duchess of Clarence felt this unnecessarily harsh but Stockmar convinced them when he suggested that if the King was to continue in this vein where education was concerned, he might well end up a dunce. Stockmar’s report informed the Clarences that the King’s handwriting was “childlike”, his numeracy “poor” and his reading skill “no more advanced than it was two years ago”. Georgie’s character was described as “unreliable with a tendency towards laziness and disengagement” and his discipline was “lacklustre because he has been consistently over indulged”.

A new phase of the Stockmar System was now introduced. In later years, George V would describe Stockmar as “that old monster” and it was perhaps his own experiences at this time that saw him make a solemn promise in later life that none of his children would ever be discouraged from their interests, neither would they ever be subjected to corporal punishment or isolation from their siblings as a form of correction. George V’s daughter, Princess Victoria (1840 – 1922), later remembered how her father paid a visit to the schoolroom at Windsor once a week to ensure his children were not being treated too harshly but this did not mean he was at all indulgent of any bad behaviour. “He would withdraw special treats such as sweets or fancies at teatime”, the Princess wrote in her unpublished memoirs, “But even then, the following day one seemed to have twice as much. I never heard my father raise his voice and the most terrible punishment in his armory was to look very sad and say how disappointed he was in our poor behaviour. I believe that was enough to crush our spirits until we wept and begged forgiveness which of course, was always given freely and with affection. He was a remarkable father for the time in which he lived and I believe this was the result of those awful days he spent at Royal Lodge under Stockmar’s tyranny”.

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Honest Billy.

But there was a bright light of kindness at Royal Lodge which shone through the King’s dark schooldays. Honest Billy, the Crown Equerry, was to become a vital source of support and when he felt the King had had a particularly bad day, he would sneak him sweets or cakes from the kitchens when Stockmar had left following his afternoon inspection of the King’s schoolwork. John Lawton, the King’s tutor from Cambridge, was also kind to the boy and turned a blind eye when Honest Billy allowed Jack (the King’s puppy) to wander into the schoolroom and doze at the boy’s feet. Billy became a much-loved friend to the young monarch and in later life, George recalled that “he spent most of his wages on toys and treats for the schoolroom which he was expert in hiding from my tutors until such a time as I could recover and enjoy them”. And come rain or shine, from March 1830 onwards, Billy always ensured that every Sunday, Princess Charlotte Louise and Princess Victoria were taken to Royal Lodge in a pony and trap to visit the King. The children played together in the garden and so as to give them more time together, Billy even helped the King with his “sermon reports”, deliberately sneaking in a few minor errors so that Stockmar believed the boy had written them himself.

In June, the royal children were once again joined by the Coburg princes for a Whitsun holiday. This time, the Duchess of Clarence took them to Southend-on-Sea on the Essex coast where the first section of a new pleasure pier had been constructed. For a third farthing (1/12th of a penny), visitors could ride the horse tramway to and from the pier head and the royal children were reported as taking the journey “three times before Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Clarence had to persuade them to try another activity”. But it was also at Southend-on-Sea that the King took part in his very first official public function. Southend’s status as a seaside resort had grown with the coming of the railways and the visit of the late Princess of Wales (Caroline of Brunswick) who had taken a summer residence on the seafront. It had been decided by local officials that the parade of houses should be renamed Royal Terrace and a memorial fountain was installed on the clifftop closest to Princess Caroline’s former summer residence bearing an inscription to her. On the 6th of June 1830, George V, accompanied by his aunt the Duchess of Clarence, his sister Princess Charlotte Louise and his cousin Princess Victoria, dutifully cut a ribbon tied between two posts beside the fountain to rapturous applause from the local dignitaries assembled. The national press was delighted with the visit and even quoted the King as saying that Southend-on-Sea was “a very fine resort indeed”. Whether Georgie actually said these words is debatable but that summer, record numbers flocked to Southend-on-Sea to experience the royally approved seaside town for themselves.

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The horse drawn tramway on Southend on Sea Pier.

Stockmar was intrigued to notice that the King’s academic record was improving. He was getting higher marks than ever before and he seemed genuinely interested in the subject matter before him. Naturally Stockmar took this as proof positive that his new system had been a success and extended the arrangement. In reality, the King was happier than he had been at Eton and with a little kindness here and there, was enthused to learn. Whilst it may appear that the continuation of the Stockmar system might have been a negative influence on Georgie’s mood, his continued improvements pleased Stockmar so much that he was far more open to bending the strict schedule than he once might have been. Honest Billy and Mr Lawton invented educational trips, some of them requiring two or three days in London. The two young princesses were allowed to go even though their limited education was considered to be nearing its end. Within a year, Stockmar was even allowing the King both Saturday and Sunday away from his studies and the sermon reports became a thing of the past.

As the King grew older, his education began to focus more on the constitution and politics. Whilst he naturally was expected to remain impartial (though his predecessors had tested this requirement to the limit at times), it was seen as important that the King understand fully the way parliament worked and what the big issues of the day were. For Georgie, he could have no better resource than both the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and his opposite number, Lord John Russell. Both men were warned by Stockmar not to try to persuade the King to sympathise with their cause, they were simply to answer Georgie’s questions. Lord John Russell later said of the King; “He was a keen young man and asked very intelligent questions of me, indeed, I had to apologise on more than one occasion for I could not think of the answer to his inquiry”. The Duke of Wellington was impressed too, noting how the young King; “asked all the right questions in all the right places, a skill many parliamentarians never acquire however long they sit on the benches of the House”. Of particular interest to the King that year was the prospect of a hung parliament. It must have been awkward for the Duke of Wellington to explain a situation he was desperately hoping to avoid but nonetheless he did so, apparently giving a good enough answer to satisfy Georgie’s curiosity.

In retaliation to the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, the so-called Ultra Tories led by the Duke of Newcastle had decided to engineer a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. To affect this, a motion would be introduced in the House of Commons by Sir Richard Vyvyan, a key supporter of the Ultra Tories and a supposed “mastermind” of the Cumberland Plot. [6] Newcastle did not expect the motion to be successful but he wished to use it as a trap to force Wellington to make his peace with the Ultra Tories and at the same time, dissuade him from making any attempts at further parliamentary reform. Newcastle predicted that if the motion did not pass, Wellington would seek revenge on those who had introduced it. In the absence of a formal party system, this meant Wellington could try to convince the three trustees who selected candidates for each constituency to choose from new list ahead of the next general election which did not include Ultra Tories. But Newcastle assured Ultra Tories in the Commons that there was absolutely no chance of this because Wellington did not wish to risk a snap general election which could result in a hung parliament, or worse, a defeat for the Tories. [7]

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Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle.

The motion of no confidence in the government, introduced on the 10th of September 1830, was defeated in Wellington’s favour by 92 votes, enough for the Prime Minister to believe he need not resign. But he could not let the attempt to depose him go unpunished and despite Newcastle’s surety to the contrary, Wellington rose to his feet in the House of Lords and made a short address that would end the division in the Tory party once and for all. He would call a snap election. He felt confident that the Tories would be returned with an increased majority and he did doubted that the Ultra Tories standing on independent or rival tickets would be re-elected in any great number with his strict vetting procedure communicated to the selection board trustees. Newcastle was horrified. As he left the House of Lords, some of his fellow Ultra Tories booed and jeered him. His plan to oust Wellington had backfired and he was seen as endangering the entire party for his own petty ends.

Whilst their places in the Lords were secure, if Wellington pulled off an election victory with an increased majority, the Ultra Tories would lose their presence in the Commons entirely. When Wellington was warned that the Ultra Tory peers would override their moderate counterparts in the Commons, he replied, “We can always fit in more benches”. In other words, Wellington was minded to create a small army of peers from the moderate wing of the Tory party to outnumber the Ultra Tories. [8] That evening, Wellington made his way to Clarence House to request that parliament be prorogued. Clarence agreed and Commissioners were appointed and dispatched to the Palace of Westminster the following morning to announce that parliament had been prorogued for a period of 28 days during which time a general election would take place. [9]

Some moderate Tories were nervous that Wellington had been overzealous in his reaction to the Ultra Tories. These included the Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Huskisson, who argued publicly with Wellington after his speech in the House of Lords and stormed off to Downing Street in a terrible temper. The Prime Minister tried to reassure his supporters that the Ultra Tories posed no real threat to the Tory majority and that most would not wish to be cut off from government by representing a splinter group whose major objection was an issue which had already been put to bed. Most Ultra Tories rallied behind Sir Edward Knatchbull and decided to stand once again in the same constituencies but as Ultra Tories instead of Tories. For those who enjoyed prominent local status as landowners and employers, they knew the electorate dare not vote them out and expected to be returned to the Commons with increased majorities. Other Ultra Tories were not so certain of their prospects.

The Prime Minister intended to launch his campaign on the 15th of September 1830. He was due open the new Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which connected the two cities, by travelling on one of the eight inaugural trains. He would be accompanied by various dignitaries and notable figures of the day and crowds were encouraged to line the track at Liverpool to watch the train depart for Manchester. Also present that day was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Huskisson. The first leg of the journey was a success with crowds cheering as the Duke of Wellington’s special train, pulled by the locomotive Northumbrian (driven by George Stephenson, the so-called Father of the Railways), passed through various small towns along the route. At Parkside railway station, the train stopped to take on fuel and water. Ignoring a warning to stay inside the carriage, Huskisson took the opportunity to be seen approaching the Duke of Wellington before the crowds, no doubt hoping that rumours of their falling out could be buried at the very start of the Tory election campaign. Huskisson stepped down from the carriage into the rails below.


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Huskisson's fatal accident illustrated for The Times of London, 1830.

Huskisson was known to be clumsy. Prone to regular trips and falls, he had twice broken his arm and had never fully recovered the use of it. He was just a few weeks post-surgery as the result of another accident and had ignored his doctor’s advice to stay on strict on bed rest believing it more important that he been seen in public with the Prime Minister on friendly terms. On his way back to his own carriage, there came a shout; “An engine is approaching! Take care!”. The voice belonged to Joseph Locke, Stephenson’s assistant and a prominent engineer in his own right. He was driving Rocket, a steam locomotive of 0-2-2-wheel arrangement designed by George Stephenson’s son Robert. Realizing the danger, Huskisson panicked. He tried to cross to the other line but seemed to change his mind and returned to the Duke’s private carriage attempting to pull himself up onto the train. Locke tried to throw Rocket into reverse but it was too late. Huskisson fumbled for the door to the Duke of Wellington’s carriage but it hadn’t been latched. The result was that the door swung open and put Huskisson directly into the path of Rocket. He was hit and fell in a crumpled heap on the tracks in front of the train. His leg was mangled but amazingly, he was still alive. [10]

In the ensuing panic, Wellington helped wrench a door from a railway building. Huskisson was placed on it and taken into the carriage. The train set off without delay and at the next stop, Eccles, Huskisson was taken to the local vicarage. A doctor was called but it became clear that the situation was a grave one. The doctor could not perform a field amputation and so Huskisson was given opium and brandy to keep him comfortable in his final hours. He died at 9pm that night. Campaigning for the General Election was postponed for 48 hours out of respect. Wellington was devastated by the loss of Huskisson and in later years suffered traumatic flashbacks to the accident of which he had been the primary eyewitness. Returning to his election campaign, an advisor tried to enthuse the Duke for the hustings. He replied; “What does it matter now? What does any of it truly matter?”.

For the Duke of Wellington, 1830 marked a turning point in his political career. The final outcome of the snap election would not be clear immediately and whilst he had been confident when he called the snap election, Huskisson’s sudden and tragic death seemed to impact him greatly. Whilst the two had endured a sometimes-fractious relationship, Wellington saw Huskisson’s death as a kind of omen. His confidence faltered and he truly believed that he would be defeated at the ballot box. A note in the Duke’s diary suggests that he even considered resigning before the final result was known but was advised not to by the Duke of Clarence. As he waited to learn whether his great gamble had paid off, Wellington came to the sudden realization that he had been mistaken in believing the election to be the hardest political battle of his career. What was to follow would prove an even greater challenge.

[1] Some male members of the Royal Family had completed two or three terms at University but had never been formally enrolled to complete an actual academic year before.

[2] This came much later when education became compulsory and a standard school age was introduced.

[3] True story.

[4] Again, true. In the OTL, Prince George, Duke of Kent was subjected to the "apple pie bed" trick at Dartmouth Naval College.

[5] This was standard since the reign of George I for whenever members of the Royal Family wanted to travel incognito. It's survived to this day (i.e William Wales, Beatrice York).

[6] See Part Three of this TL.

[7] In the OTL, the situation was somewhat different because there had been an election in 1830 which saw the Tories win a plurality over the Whigs but still allowed Earl Grey to form a government when Wellington lost a motion of no confidence and resigned. Obviously here we don't have the same 1830 General Election in the same circumstances.

[8] A common-place strategy before later reforms.

[9] It should be pointed out here that general elections took far longer to arrange in the 1800s with people voting not just on one day but for weeks at a time. A month was generally considered ample time for a conclusive result.

[10] This may sound like butterflies but this is entirely accurate. The only change is that Huskisson's row with Wellington in the OTL was far more prolonged and led to him resigning from government. The situation in this TL means he would have stayed in his post and the argument has a different catalyst (the snap election).

*Not the modern-day slur but Eton parlance. Because the rich do that sort of thing apparently.
 
The Duke of Wellington recalled how, when he approached the King and asked him how he liked Eton (being an alumni himself), the young boy replied; “I hate it Sir, I hate it more than I hate anything else in the world”.
Didn't the Duke of Wellington also hate his time at Eton?
Stockmar was furious. He attributed this behaviour not to loneliness but to laziness and warned the Duke of Clarence that the King was “stubborn and arrogant”.
Stockmar: Am I so out of touch? No, it's the king who's wrong.
To prevent him being distracted and tempted to repeat the experiment in the future, Stockmar decided that the King would no longer live in the State Apartments in the adjoining rooms allocated to the royal children by the Duchess of Clarence.
Stockmar: The King ran away to spend more time with his sister and cousin. To stop him from wanting to do this again in future, I shall reduce the time he spends with them.
The children played together in the garden and so as to give them more time together, Billy even helped the King with his “sermon reports”, deliberately sneaking in a few minor errors so that Stockmar believed the boy had written them himself.
I suspect that Billy is up for the biggest honour the king can get away with, when he comes of age. Possibly Lawton too.
When Wellington was warned that the Ultra Tory peers would override their moderate counterparts in the Commons, he replied, “We can always fit in more benches”. In other words, Wellington was minded to create a small army of peers from the moderate wing of the Tory party to outnumber the Ultra Tories.
Packing the Lords? This seems like a pretty radical move for a Tory like Wellington - it was considered extreme in 1910 OTL when Asquith threatened it to force his budget through (and ultimately that led to the Parliament Act 1911 which removed the Lords' ability to veto bills).

And wouldn't he need the agreement of Clarence, as the King's regent? I think Clarence would be the one actually creating new peers.

Wellington must really be fed up with the Ultra-Tories if he's prepared to threaten that.
If a junior was spotted by a Prefect on his first day and considered an easy target, he might well be given the bed closest to the window and given the gift of an “apple pie bed”. The sheets were folded in such a way that the poor boy would wake up the next morning unable to free himself
Aren't apple pie beds just a way of making a bed so you can't get into it at all?
 
I hope the first thing George does when he gets older is to fire Stockmar because he has done nothing positive to affect George
And I hope that honest Billy gets knighted
 
Packing the Lords? This seems like a pretty radical move for a Tory like Wellington - it was considered extreme in 1910 OTL when Asquith threatened it to force his budget through (and ultimately that led to the Parliament Act 1911 which removed the Lords' ability to veto bills).

But Earl Gray suggested William IV to do this in 1832, admittedly Gray was a Whig IOTL, but the precedence was there for it occurring earlier and Grays motives ITTL as being pro emancipation and reform are probably a lot more in line with the Orange Cabinet than they were with the OTL Torys.

I could see Honest Billy getting a Viceroyship or even a safe seat in Parliament once Georgie comes of age, or perhaps he will keep him on as an Equerry in much the same way Victoria kept Baroness Lehzen on
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Didn't the Duke of Wellington also hate his time at Eton?

Packing the Lords? This seems like a pretty radical move for a Tory like Wellington - it was considered extreme in 1910 OTL when Asquith threatened it to force his budget through (and ultimately that led to the Parliament Act 1911 which removed the Lords' ability to veto bills).

And wouldn't he need the agreement of Clarence, as the King's regent? I think Clarence would be the one actually creating new peers.

Wellington must really be fed up with the Ultra-Tories if he's prepared to threaten that.

Aren't apple pie beds just a way of making a bed so you can't get into it at all?
Wellington did hate his time at Eton I believe but I think he would feel that, being so close to Windsor, if Eton is Stockmar's choice then it's worth going with the majority decision to send poor George there. On the Lords issue, I may have oversold this idea with a poor choice of words. By my calculations, Wellington would need to create 16 new peers to cancel out the Ultra Tory voice in the upper chamber. Not really a small army but I agree, still quite a radical move. It was proposed in 1832 (albeit from the opposite side) but it wasn't unthinkable.

I took the 'apple pie bed' anecdote from 'Adventures of a Gentleman's Gentleman' by Guy Hunting. There may be variations on the prank but he mentions apple pie beds in the form used here. That could be a mistake on his part though and maybe there's another name for it? Thanks for your feedback and for reading!

Poor William Huskisson, destined to die by Rocket in every conceivable reality!
I have to confess, when I first read about this incident I had to double check for real life butterflies. Poor Huskisson must have been one of the unluckiest men in history!

hey I’ve mainly been lurking in this timeline and have to say I’m really enjoying it so far.
Thankyou so much, that's lovely to hear and very much appreciated!

I hope the first thing George does when he gets older is to fire Stockmar because he has done nothing positive to affect George
And I hope that honest Billy gets knighted
Stockmar really is a terror I'm afraid. And this isn't butterflies on my part, this was his exact approach to the education of the OTL Edward VII when Prince Albert put him in charge of his education.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
I could see Honest Billy getting a Viceroyship or even a safe seat in Parliament once Georgie comes of age, or perhaps he will keep him on as an Equerry in much the same way Victoria kept Baroness Lehzen on
For those wanting a reward for Honest Billy, you won't be disappointed!
 
Thankyou so much, that's lovely to hear and very much appreciated!
Your Welcome

I have to admit I really like Honest Billy he is the sort of man you can look up to as both and officer and a person.

Though I am curious about the chapter with his majesties education and wonder if it will cause him to give support to various children's causes in the fullness of time as well as support more progressive outlooks in educatio.
 
I'm really enjoying this well-written & entertaining timeline. Looking forward to seeing what kind of man King George V becomes. The circumstances of life makes some bitter...others respond by becoming better. I'm hoping the king chooses the latter.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
I'm really enjoying this well-written & entertaining timeline. Looking forward to seeing what kind of man King George V becomes. The circumstances of life makes some bitter...others respond by becoming better. I'm hoping the king chooses the latter.
Thank you so much! Really glad to know people are enjoying this TL and that so many have stuck with it from George IV's reign.
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 7: The Innocent and the Wicked

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George V

Part One, Chapter Seven: The Innocent and the Wicked

With the young King now living at Royal Lodge, his sister Princess Charlotte Louise and his cousin Princess Victoria became ever closer forging a friendship that would last their entire lives. Unlike the King, their education was limited and took the form of three hours a day with a French governess called Louise Fillon. There were crash courses in British history, religion and naturally they learned languages (French and German) but this was the extent of their academic nurturing. Madame Fillon was charged with raising the princesses to be “kind, genteel and respectful young ladies” and etiquette was considered far more important than the philosophy and politics King George V studied. Both girls greatly enjoyed painting with Princess Victoria showing a particular flair for watercolours. Princess Charlotte Louise preferred ballet and Madame Fillon arranged for lessons to be taken with the ferocious Eugénie Renique.

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A portrait of Renique painted on a wooden door discovered at her former home in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, Valenciennes.

Renique had wowed Parisian audiences since her debut in 1800 at the Opéra de Paris but her professional career had taken something of a backseat when she met General André Masséna. Becoming his mistress, Renique could not bear to be parted from her lover (later created the Duke of Rivoli and Prince of Essling by Napoleon) and even dressed in men’s clothing so that she might accompany him to the front during the Napoleonic Wars. For a time, she enjoyed the high life in Bagneux where the Duke of Rivoli provided her with a chateaux of her own and a generous allowance to live on but by 1811, Masséna had been admonished for being distracted by his mistress and he put Renique aside. Living on the charity of her brother, the impoverished Renique would never dance professionally again but her high society contacts saw her much in demand as a teacher of ballet. In 1829, she traveled to London to teach the two Princesses but spent most of her lessons telling them gruesome tales from the battlefield instead. Princess Charlotte Louise adored her, though Princess Victoria was more than a little terrified.

Madame Fillon was quite a character too. At 66 years old, she was unkindly described by a contemporary as being “as tall as she was wide” with a deep voice and a mass of grey hair which she wore piled high on her head like a cottage loaf. She had traveled to England to become a tutor when she was widowed at the age of 50 and after serving with several prominent aristocratic families, found herself engaged by the Duchess of Clarence in 1829 to replace poor Miss Wolfe. Charlotte Louise and Victoria were hugely fond of Miss Wolfe and did not take kindly to seeing her position usurped. Madame Fillon found patience to be the order of the day as at first, the two Princesses refused to speak in her presence or do anything she asked them to. After a few days of the silent treatment, the girls did speak – but only in a language they’d invented themselves called Loplish. The rules were simple. Every other word had ‘lop’ added to the front of it whilst names of things, places or adults had to be reversed and ‘lop’ added to the end of it. Madame Fillon spoke French, German, English and had some grasp of Portuguese but the one language she never mastered, was Loplish. The girls soon relented and Loplish was abandoned with one exception. Poor Madame Fillon was forever known to the Princesses (and later to the entire Royal Household) as Nolliflop.

The Princesses soon became incredibly fond of Madame Fillon. She won them over by teaching them how to bake cakes which appalled some in the Royal Household but delighted the Duchess of Clarence. One teatime, Madame Fillon led Charlotte Louise and Victoria in bearing their efforts. Princess Charlotte Louise’s cake had failed to rise and so she had smothered it instead with whipped cream and crystallized fruits. Princess Victoria had more success with gingerbread. The Duchess of Clarence took a healthy serving of each and praised the girls for their hard work; “I have never baked anything in my life”, she exclaimed, “And yet my very pretty nieces can make delights such as these!”. She gave the girls a shilling each which in addition to their three shillings a week pocket money meant a healthy sum to spend on their regular outings. [1] These afternoon trips saw the Princesses taken first to something that considered educational such as the York Gate Collections (now the Royal Academy of Music Museum) or the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Afterwards, the girls were taken to the park to hear the band where they could buy ice creams or to a toy shop in Pimlico which sold dolls and other exciting oddments.

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Covent Garden Market, 1830.

But Madame Fillon’s outings sometimes proved to be a little chaotic. On one occasion, she took the Princesses to a matinee performance at Drury Lane and fell asleep. The young girls quickly grew bored of Macbeth and wandered out into the foyer where they discovered a small puppy which belonged to the chief usher. Determined to take the dog home to meet Dash, the Princesses smuggled the puppy into the auditorium but it quickly wriggled free and began running riot up and down the aisles and causing the audience to scream and laugh in equal measure as poor Lady Macbeth tried to wash her hands clean. On another occasion, Madame Fillon decided that it would be good for the girls to learn what it was like to live on an average poor person’s wage. Each girl had sixpence each and they were instructed to purchase what they thought they might need to feed an imaginary family for the day. But Madame Fillon didn’t take the girls to Borough Market as she intended. Instead, she accidentally headed for Covent Garden Market which at that time, was still a popular location for prostitutes to ply their trade. It was also home to bare-knuckle boxing and cock fights (these were not made illegal until 1835). The little Princesses were oblivious as to why Madame Fillon quickly took them home, abandoned the experiment and spent the rest of the day blushing and apologizing to the Duchess of Clarence for her error. The Duchess found the entire incident hilariously funny and it became one of her favourite stories to share at dinner parties. [2]

Charlotte Louise and Victoria had one thing in common; both found themselves without their mothers. Whilst Queen Louise had left England temporarily (albeit it for five years) for Hanover, Princess Victoria’s mother had been effectively exiled from England during the reign of King George IV. The Duchess of Kent had withdrawn in disgrace and was forbidden any contact whatsoever with her daughter. When her annual allowance was stopped and her finances ran dry, she was forced to sell her Palace in Coburg and moved to Rosenau with her brother Ernst. But she never recovered from being separated from her daughter and in 1825, in a frail mental state, she was admitted to an asylum at Siegburg as a patient of the German psychiatrist, Carl Jacobi. The young Princess Victoria had no portraits of her mother at all and the Duchess of Kent was never spoken of. When she asked where her mother was, Madame Fillon would change the subject or say vaguely, “She is travelling”.

For Princess Victoria, this raised more questions than it answered. When she died in 1901, her daughter, Princess Victoria Paulina (1842 – 1921) discovered a leather-bound book locked away in a wooden box in her mother’s desk. Inside were almost 200 letters written by Princess Victoria as a child her to mother, the Duchess of Kent. They were never sent and never read by the recipient but they are written as if they had been replied to. Victoria’s mother had become her imaginary friend and though Victoria was devoted to her aunt and uncle, she never quite came to terms with never forming a bond with her real parents. But whilst the Duchess was a forbidden subject, the Duke of Kent’s portrait was everywhere for Victoria to see. She was told of his army career and of his time in Canada, minor triumphs always being inflated to heroic and valiant deeds. In later life, Victoria said of her father "from all what I heard, he was the best of all" and she came to see him as a kind of saintly figure in whom she took great pride. [3]

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Princess Victoria as a child.

Princess Charlotte Victoria was led to believe much the same about her own father, the late King George IV, but whilst Princess Victoria had neither parent to reach out to, Princess Charlotte Louise’s mother was alive and well in Hanover. After her arrival at Herrenhausen in 1829, Queen Louise corresponded only with her son and even then, very infrequently. No letters ever came for Princess Charlotte Louise. To try and remedy this, the Duchess of Clarence wrote letters in Queen Louise’s name so that whenever King George got a letter from his mother, Charlotte Louise had one too. But Charlotte Louise was a bright girl and quickly realised that the handwriting was different. Eventually she told her aunt in a matter-of-fact way; “It’s quite alright Aunt Adelaide, I know Mama does not care for me”. The Duchess of Clarence was known to be a gentle and mild lady with no hint of temper to her character but this proved too much. She wrote Queen Louise a damning letter in which she accused her of being “wicked and cruel”. “If you could hear your child weep as I have to for a mother who shows her no love or kindness”, Adelaide said, “You would pray to grow wings and fly back to her without delay for she yearns for you desperately. I pray Ma’am that you will relent in this and send word to Lottie for she feels so very badly when His Majesty is presented with a letter and she is not”. Queen Louise didn’t reply.

In 1830, Princess Victoria turned 11 and Princess Charlotte Louise turned 9. For both girls, there were birthday tea parties at Clarence House. They had no friends beyond palace walls (at Stockmar’s insistence) and so the guests were limited to members of the Royal Family. Princess Victoria had always been close to her cousins but around this time, many began to notice that she was especially fond of the young King. Some had commented that something more may develop as the pair grew older but the Duke of Clarence did not wish to encourage such talk. Whilst he wanted a love match for both his niece and nephew and would probably not have opposed a marriage between the two when the time was right if it was truly what both parties desired, he believed that the childhood infatuation would quickly pass and both should be steered in different directions as they entered their teenage years. But such talk was not limited to Clarence House tea parties. In Europe’s palaces, there was no shortage of matchmakers and Queens, Grand Duchesses and Princesses spent much of their time pondering future marriages for their children. Princess Charlotte Louise and Princess Victoria had exceptionally good credentials and even at the ages of 9 and 11 respectively, portraits of the two girls were already be circulated on the continent. There was little doubt that the very best offers would come their way in time and some even referred to the princesses as “Queens in Waiting”. [4]

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A young Princess Charlotte Louise.

One person who was determined that no such conversations should take place in his presence was the Duke of Clarence. Whilst he accepted the interest there would be in his nieces from foreign courts, he refused to discuss any possible suitor until Princess Charlotte Louise and Princess Victoria had turned 15. They would then be given time to choose their own suitors from those who showed interest but neither would marry before the age of 18 and neither would be forced to marry anybody they didn’t truly love. The Duke of Clarence had become a doting uncle to his brother’s children and whilst the late King had insisted that Queen Louise should arrange the marriages of his own two children, the Duke’s only interest in marriage games at this stage was to ensure no decisions were made and no proposals entertained. They were to remain in the safety and security of his protection and whilst he acknowledged that they should be well prepared for later life, he did not seek to rush his nieces or nephew into duties and expectations beyond their years. There was a sentiment attached to his position too. He knew that the likelihood was that the Princesses would leave England when they married, something he said he “couldn’t bear to contemplate for it saddens me so that I find myself weeping at the thought”.

Stockmar was far less emotionally invested. Against the Duke of Clarence’s wishes, he kept a regular list of the births of foreign princes and princess, acquired sketches and paintings of them where possible and ranked them in order of suitability. When the time came, Stockmar would be well prepared. But if the Duke held fast to his late brother’s wishes, such decisions would fall not to Prince William or to Baron Stockmar but to Queen Louise. Whilst she rarely communicated with her children whilst she was in Hanover, we do know that she kept similar records to the ones Stockmar compiled but for very different reasons. Louise despised Prince Leopold and she believed him to be a greedy and ambitious man who had taken a keen interest in his nephews, Ernst and Albert, for the sole purpose of marrying them off to the most eligible brides in Europe. “He is selling swine as pearls”, she wrote to her sister Marie, “For only one will inherit a duchy which is little more than ten acres of the wood and there is no great fortune either. Whichever unfortunate girl marries Ernst will have to live in that dreadful bear garden of a court and as for Albert, I hear he is very shy, stutters and of course he will inherit nothing. So his poor bride will find herself little more than a housefrau eating from dirty plates. Or worse, she shall have to support him financially whilst he grows as old, fat and ugly as all the Coburgs eventually do. What do you think of that?”.

But Queen Louise was shortly to be proven wrong about Prince Leopold’s insatiable greed for power and position. Following the Greek War of Independence, a conference was held in London between the three Great Powers (the United Kingdom, France and Russia) to amend the decisions of a protocol agreed in 1829 and to establish Greece as an independent, sovereign state. The Greek Third National Assembly of 1827 entrusted the governance of the nation to Ioannis Kapodistrias who met frequently with representatives of the Great Powers to discuss the way forward for the new state. All three agreed that the only way Greece could ever be stable was if it became a monarchy and in the absence of any other obvious candidate, they were agreed on one man for the job; Prince Leopold. Offered the Greek throne in London in 1830, Leopold refused to consider the proposal seriously and rejected the offer. Two years later (and after Kapodistrias had been assassinated), the Bavarian Prince Otto took the Greek throne. But a second throne would become vacant in 1830 and this time, Prince Leopold’s answer would be a little different.

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The Belgian Revolution depicted by Gustaf Wappers.

In August of 1830, riots broke out in Brussels. Theatregoers inspired by the nationalistic opera La muette de Portici by Daniel Auber left their seats at the opera house and joined the mob. Inspired by the July Revolution in France, Brussels saw widespread uprising against Dutch rule in a push for Belgian independence. At first, order was restored by the Dutch King William I but secessionist groups proved more convincing than King William had anticipated. He sent his two sons, Crown Prince William and Prince Frederick to quell the riots in the Southern Provinces of the Netherlands (as Belgium then was) but when the Crown Prince arrived, he found no resistance and instead, he was met by the Burghers of Brussels who asked him to attend a meeting where the situation could be worked out peacefully. William agreed that the administrative separation of north and south was a logical and practical proposal but his father rejected the idea completely and ordered 8,000 troops commanded by Prince Frederick to retake Brussels. The result was a bloody street battle that lasted for three days at the end of September and the Dutch were forced to retreat to the fortresses of Maastricht, Venlo and Antwerp. By October, a National Congress had been called and a Declaration of Independence agreed.

In December, a conference was held in London bringing together representatives of Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Prussia and Russia. All were concerned that Europe could once again return to the bloodshed and chaos of the Napoleonic Wars and some were wary of the immediate and unconditional support for Belgian independence given by the French who had so recently seen a revolution of their own that had installed the July Monarchy under King Louis Philippe I, ousting the previously restored Bourbon King Charles X. All present agreed that the Provinces of the Netherlands should remain united but for different reasons. As far as the British were concerned, an independent Belgium would be open to a French annexation and this would undoubtedly lead to a costly and prolonged war in Europe which the United Kingdom could ill-afford to participate in. But as resolved as they were to support the Netherlands in the dispute, rebellions and economic crises in their own countries saw the assembled powers fail to match their lofty declarations with equipment or troops.

The previous month, the National Congress of Belgium had created a constitution for the new state and decided that Belgium would become a popular, constitutional monarchy. But by February, the Kingdom of Belgium had yet to be formally recognized by most of the countries present at the London Conference in December and the throne remained vacant. The Congress would not consider any candidate from the House of Orange-Nassau and instead, they drew up a short list. But the majority of the candidates on this list were of French origin and this in itself caused division. Prince Leopold was the only candidate upon whom all candidates could agree and so in April 1831, a delegation of the National Congress was sent to Marlborough House to offer Leopold the throne. At first, Leopold refused. Until Britain recognized Belgium, he could not accept the position. But the delegation was steadfast. They did not wish to go back to Brussels without him and they explained that if he declined, the most likely outcome was the collapse of the National Congress and a possible Civil War. Leopold asked for an audience with the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Wellington. Whilst officially Wellington’s government would not recognize Belgium, privately he urged Leopold to accept. The Duke of Clarence gave his blessing too. Leopold left England for Brussels and became King of the Belgians on the 21st of July 1831.

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King Leopold I of Belgium.

At Herrenhausen, Queen Louise was appalled. She pompously gave her low opinion of Prince Leopold to anyone who would listen but everybody knew the real cause for her concern. With Leopold now King of the Belgians, he had even more cause to promote his nephews. She even suggested that Leopold would seek to amend the new Belgian constitution so that he could marry his former mistress, Caroline Bauer, and make Hereditary Duke Ernst his heir. “And then he shall come sniffing around Clarence’s heels for my daughter or the Kent girl”, she predicted, “These Coburgs will not be content until every corner of Europe is stacked in their favour and nobody seems to act to prevent this terrible situation though I do warn everybody just how ghastly this would be”.

One of those Louise warned was none other than the Duke of Wellington. The snap General Election of 1830 had not gone entirely to plan. Wellington had underestimated the support for the Ultra Tories in their constituencies and of the 88 former Tories, 53 were returned to parliament as Ultras. But in focusing on outdoing his former colleagues at the ballot box, Wellington had overlooked the rising support for the Whigs. Whilst Wellington’s Tories took 229 seats, the Whigs took 224. [5] Wellington’s majority had been slashed to just 5 and in an attempt to silence his Ultra Tory rebels, he had unwittingly made them the King makers in parliament. Whilst they absolutely had no intention of supporting the Whigs on any matter, the Ultra Tories were now under no pressure whatsoever to put party loyalty first and support Tory policies they didn’t like. Wellington despaired. He would have to dramatically scale back his agenda and seek to introduce more controversial policies slowly or not at all.

Of course, not all of the MPs returned in the election were Whigs, Tories or Ultra Tories. There were also radicals and independents too. Whilst some of these independents, such as John Atkins (one of two Members for Arundel) sat on an “Independent but Tory-leaning” ticket, most independents voted on a bill-by-bill basis. Wellington could not construct a government on independent support and he certainly couldn’t rely on the radical vote either. Minority government would be chaotic and there was a serious possibility his own party could bring him down if just a handful of his own MPs disliked a bill. This would undoubtedly lead to another general election which in turn would be taken not only as a personal failure of Wellington’s but as a sign that the Tory party itself was irreparably damaged. Something would have to be done. The situation was desperate and demanded that the Prime Minister move quickly.

In assessing the result with Robert Peel, Wellington was at first minded to resign but Peel asked him to wait until he could sound out what senior Whigs were proposing. Peel knew that the Whigs would never (could never) work with the Ultra Tories, neither would they bank on independent or radical support either. Electing Viscount Althorp as the official Leader of the Opposition (the first time since 1821), the Whigs came forward with two proposals. The first was a formal coalition with Wellington’s Tories but this would require parity in the ministries and the opportunity to introduce legislation which the Tories would be expected to support. Wellington refused. There had not been a coalition government since the Fox-North administration in 1783. Charles James Fox (a Whig) had joined forces with Lord North (previously a Whig but in 1783, a Tory) to form a government that could oust Lord Shelburne’s ministry which both Fox and North detested. King George III had despised the government (particularly Fox) but no other solution could be found and thus, with the Duke of Portland as Prime Minister, a Whig/Tory coalition took office. But within a matter of months, the government came under strain following the Treaty of Paris and after just 9 months, the coalition collapsed.

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John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later 3rd Earl Spencer)

Althorp’s second proposal was a confidence and supply agreement with the Tories on a bill-by-bill basis thus offering security to a Tory minority government. As part of the agreement, Althorp demanded that he be allowed to attend Cabinet meetings but otherwise, the Duke of Wellington would remain in office as Prime Minister and control the parliamentary agenda. Wellington was none too keen on this proposal either but he knew the only alternatives were to attempt to govern with a majority of 5 (which was bound to collapse in months, if not weeks), to resign and let Peel attempt to pull things together (which he felt sounded too much like deserting his post) or accept Althorp’s offer. On the 20th of November 1830, Wellington went to see the Duke of Clarence to tell him what he had decided to do. The Tories would lead a minority government supported by a confidence and supply arrangement with the Whigs for the period of twelve months, after which time the situation would be reviewed. Lord Althorp would be appointed Minister without Portfolio to allow him to attend Cabinet.

Wellington put a brave face on things. He was still Prime Minister and the Tories were still able to set the agenda. Yet many in the Tory party felt that Wellington had scored an own goal. They felt humiliated every time they had to walk past their former colleagues who had been re-elected on Ultra Tory tickets and some even felt that it made far more sense to reach out to them than to the Whigs. The Duke of Wellington would face huge struggles in trying to keep everyone on side and content with the direction of things and to add to his worries, the new intake of MPs included Daniel O’Connell, re-elected for County Clare. [6] The Irish Crisis had been calmed but not quelled and now the Prime Minister would have to toe a very fine line. If he went too far, his own MPs could rebel and oust him. And if he did not go far enough, the Whigs could pull their support and collapse the government, not to mention the Irish could return to violence and spark an uprising at any time.

It was little wonder therefore that when Queen Louise wrote to him with her list of speculations and petty accusations against King Leopold, he was brusque in his response. If the Dowager Queen cared so much for the affairs of England, and if she was concerned with the possible ambitions of King Leopold in regard to Princess Charlotte Louise, then she should return to London as soon as possible. After all, everybody respected the late King’s wishes that Queen Louise should have the final say on the matter of her children’s marriages and how could she be consulted in the future if she was not resident in the United Kingdom?

But Louise had no intention of returning to England. She was exactly where she wanted to be. Another of her late husband’s wishes was that the Duke of Cambridge, her brother-in-law, should become Deputy Regent for her son. But the Duke of Cambridge was Viceroy of Hanover and Louise felt that the Deputy appointment should have been offered to her instead. If she could not convince Clarence to dismiss Cambridge and appoint her in his place, she would have to convince Cambridge to rely on her instead. To assist her in this scheme, she intended to recruit the Duke’s wife, Louise’s sister Augusta, to influence the Duke of Cambridge enough to see that she was right and her future role agreed. If Clarence died before the King reached the age of 18, the Duke of Cambridge would become regent. Louise intended to become his deputy and what’s more, she wanted to ensure that Cambridge proposed and appointed her himself.

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Prince William, Duke of Clarence.

The Duke of Clarence was not foolish or naïve enough to believe that Queen Louise had traveled to Hanover just to spend time with her sister. He knew full well that whilst at Herrenhausen, Louise would plot to try and bring the Cambridges under her control. He believed his brother, Prince Adolphus, was not the sort of man to be so easily convinced but with each passing year, Clarence felt the aches and pains of old age fast. He was now 65 years old and like his elder brothers, his health had been impacted by years of poor diet and a lack of physical exercise. His duties as regent were stressful too and took up more and more of his time, especially in light of the new minority government which would undoubtedly see him called upon to play arbiter on a regular basis. With this in mind, the Duke decided that he would see his physician daily rather than twice weekly and at a small dinner given by the Clarences for the Cabinet, the Duke took too much wine and began to openly berate Queen Louise as “a most wicked woman, a most wicked woman indeed”. To a slightly embarrassed audience and with his wife trying to calm him, the Duke was heard to say, “My only hope now is that I live long enough to see my nephew crowned and that that woman is kept as far away from him as possible until that happy day comes”. [7]



[1] Worth about 48p in 2021, four shillings was the weekly wage a farm labourer could expect to earn in 1830 for ten hours work a day, six days a week.

[2] Covent Garden Market had been allowed to open again in 1830 but prostitutes such as Betty Careless refused to leave and so many Londoners avoided it believing it to be no better than a red-light district.

[3] An actual quote from Victoria.

[4] This seems incredibly young to the modern reader but bear in mind, in the OTL Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter Vicky was only 11 when she was first pushed towards the Crown Prince of Prussia by her parents. The marriage came much later but the "relationship" was engineered as early as possible once Prince Albert had decided whom she should marry.

[5] At this time, the number of seats in the Commons was 658 but far more MPs sat as independents than they do today. Therefore the total number of Tories, Whigs and Ultra-Tories comes to 506. Independents could change the outcome of a bill's success in the Commons given how many of them there were but in the OTL as in this TL, they couldn't be counted on to shore up a government.

[6] At this election, Daniel O’Connell would have represented the Repeal Party as he did in the OTL. More on that in the next chapter.

[7] A famous saying attributed to the OTL William IV is that he said in his latter years that he only wished to live long enough to see Victoria become Queen and that the Duchess of Kent be kept as far away from power as possible. This slight variation works just as well for this TL.

And for those keeping an eye on Cabinet changes:

The 2nd Wellington Ministry
  • First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Lords: The Duke of Wellington
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer: Robert Peel
  • Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: Henry Goulburn
  • Secretary of State for the Home Department and Leader of the House of Commons: Alexander Baring
  • Secretary of State for War and the Colonies: Sir John Pollen, 2nd Baronet
  • Lord Chancellor: John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst
  • Lord President of the Council: William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
  • Lord Privy Seal: Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby
  • First Lord of the Admiralty: The Duke of Clarence
  • President of the Board of Control: Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
  • Master-General of the Ordnance: William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford
  • Minister without Portfolio: John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later 3rd Earl Spencer)*
*Whig, appointed under the terms of the 1830 Confidence and Supply Agreement for the Wellington Minority Government.
 
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Opo

Monthly Donor
You really updated fast. Charlotte and Victoria are adorable and Louise continues to be terrible.
For some reason, I thought I had posted this morning's update yesterday when it was finished but I hadn't. So it was double helpings today. ;)

I agree with you re: Louise. I decided that whilst she did genuinely love her husband, the only thing she really cared for was her position. With that gone, her number one priority is getting it back however she can. It's sad for her children but then, who'd really want her to be around all that much given how nasty she can be?

Thanks for reading!
 
I don’t think that George and Victoria will get married in this TL.
Because the timeline said that George had a daughter in 1837. The duke of Clarence has said that Victoria will not get married until at least 18.
Even if she got married and conceived a child on her 18th birthday(May 24th), the child would be born in 1838
 
I don’t think that George and Victoria will get married in this TL.
Because the timeline said that George had a daughter in 1837. The duke of Clarence has said that Victoria will not get married until at least 18.
Even if she got married and conceived a child on her 18th birthday(May 24th), the child would be born in 1838
Also it was mentioned that George has a daughter called Victoria born in 1840 and this update mentions that Victoria has a daughter called Victoria Paulina born in 1842. It's extremely unlikely that they would give the same first name to two daughters, so they won't marry each other.
 
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