In this part of the book Victoria has to face some problems.
Around the time that she is to be crowned, Victoria is led to believe that Lady Flora is pregnant by Lord Conroy. Wanting to unmask her two corrupted subjects, she sends her doctor to examine Lady Flora, and the physician discovers that Lady Flora is a virgin but she has a tumour. After her coronation, Lady Flora dies, and people turn against Victoria because of the humiliation that Lady Flora had been subjected to by Victoria. The Queen is so remorseful that she is depressed and refuses to leave her rooms, but only when Lord Melbourne comes to talk to her, she decides to face the music.
There is also political uproar when Lord Melbourne resigns after the government votes against the anti-slavery bill. Victoria is upset, but Lord Melbourne won’t reconsider his decision. The candidate to Prime Minister is Sir Robert Peel, but when the man demands the removal of Victoria’s ladies in favour of women that favour the Tory party, Victoria refuses to do so. That blocks the government. In the meantime, her uncle Cumberland and Lord Conroy plot against the queen; they try to spread rumours about Victoria’s insanity, and Victoria’s mother even seems to be in agreement. I can’t understand how a woman can go against her daughter like that. She wants to believe that she wants the best for Victoria, but she only cares about her own ambition. Besides, she is just a puppet at the hands of Conroy. So terrible. Thankfully, Lord Melbourne is tipped off about what Cumberland and Conroy are trying to do, so the day that Victoria unveils her royal portrait, Lord Melbourne decides to be the Prime Minister again.
We know that Victoria looked up to Lord Melbourne. The book seems to imply that Victoria has more than friendly feelings towards the Prime Minister, and Lord Melbourne felt the same. It is not clear that this is true. I have read that Victoria regarded Lord Melbourne like a father, and the man was forty years older than she was. We cannot know about feelings as that is something that is private. In any case, Victoria eventually married Albert, and theirs, I think, was a successful marriage.
In this part I have read we are introduced to Victoria’s ladies: the Duches of Sutherland and Lady Portland.
Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland (21 May 1806 – 27 October 1868), was Mistress of the Robes under several Whig administrations: 1837–1841, 1846–1852, 1853–1858, and 1859–1861; and was a great friend of Queen Victoria.
Emma Portman, Viscountess Portman (16 March 1809 – 8 February 1865), was an English aristocrat. She served as Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria between 1837 and 1851, then an Extra Lady of the Bedchamber between 1851 and 1865.
One of the main events in the novels is when Victoria suspects that Lady Flora is pregnant, but in reality, she has tumour. Sometime in 1839, Hastings began to experience pain and swelling in her lower abdomen. She visited the queen’s physician, Sir James Clark, who could not diagnose her condition without an examination, which Hastings refused. Clark assumed the abdominal growth was pregnancy, and met with Hastings twice a week from 10 January to 16 February. As Hastings was unmarried, his suspicions were hushed up. However, her enemies, Baroness Lehzen and the Marchioness of Tavistock spread the rumour that she was “with child”, and eventually Lehzen told Melbourne about her fears. On 2 February, the queen wrote in her journal that she suspected Conroy, a man whom she loathed intensely, to be the father. The accusations were proven false when Lady Flora finally consented to a physical examination by the royal doctors, who confirmed that she was not pregnant. She did, however, have an advanced cancerous liver tumor, and had only months left to live. Queen Victoria visited the now emaciated and clearly dying Lady Flora on 27 June. Lady Flora died in London on 5 July 1839, aged 33. Conroy and Lord Hastings, her brother, stirred up a press campaign against both the Queen and Doctor Clark which attacked them for insulting and disgracing Lady Flora with false rumours and for plotting against her and the entire Hastings family.
Another important event is Victoria’s coronation. The coronation of Queen Victoria took place on 28 June 1838, just over a year after she succeeded to the throne at the age of 18. The procession to and from the ceremony at Westminster Abbey was witnessed by unprecedentedly huge crowds, as the new railways made it easier for an estimated 400,000 to come to London from the rest of the country.
We also learn more about Lord Melbourne. He tells Victoria about his son. His name was Augustus and was born on 11 August 1807. The boy was born with several mental problems. Although most aristocratic families sent mentally challenged relatives to institutions, the Lambs cared for their son at home until his eventual death in 1836.
Dover House is where Lord Melbourne lived. The building belonged to the Melbourne family from 1793 to 1830.
Another important event was when Lord Melbourne resigned. n 1839, Melbourne resigned after Radicals and Tories (both of whom Victoria detested) voted against a bill to suspend the constitution of Jamaica. The bill removed political power from plantation owners who were resisting measures associated with the abolition of slavery.
The Queen commissioned a Tory, Sir Robert Peel, to form a new ministry. At the time, it was customary for the prime minister to appoint members of the Royal Household, who were usually his political allies and their spouses. Many of the Queen’s ladies of the bedchamber were wives of Whigs, and Peel expected to replace them with wives of Tories. In what became known as the bedchamber crisis, Victoria, advised by Melbourne, objected to their removal. Peel refused to govern under the restrictions imposed by the Queen, and consequently resigned his commission, allowing Melbourne to return to office.