The Queen’s lusty lecherous Lord Cupid – now THAT’s Sunday night TV!
The Queen’s lusty lecherous Lord Cupid: Foreign secretary Lord Palmerston is unmasked as an insatiable bedhopper in new series of Victoria – now THAT’s Sunday night TV!
There is no doubt that the labyrinthine corridors at Windsor Castle presented a challenge to Queen Victoria’s more intoxicated guests as they tried to find their way to their bedrooms after dinner.
It’s also true that they were only dimly illuminated by candles, and that an underpaid and often resentful staff offered little help in the way of directions.
But even if we accept that the future prime minister Lord Palmerston really did accidentally enter the wrong bedchamber on the night of a notorious incident in 1839, as he later claimed, it’s difficult to explain away what happened next.
There is no doubt that the labyrinthine corridors at Windsor Castle presented a challenge to Queen Victoria’s more intoxicated guests as they tried to find their way to their bedrooms after dinner. She is pictured played by Jenna Coleman
Locking the door behind him, the 55-year-old then foreign secretary dragged a piece of furniture across it and then attempted to force himself on the room’s occupant, a 22-year-old lady-in-waiting Susan Brand.
As Prince Albert would later put it: ‘He would have consummated his fiendish scheme by violence had not the miraculous efforts of his victim, and such assistance as was attracted by her screams, saved her.’
The only defence of Palmerston’s behaviour, later offered by Prince Albert’s private secretary George Anson, was that he might indeed have been looking for another room that was occupied by Palmerston’s fiancée Emily Cowper, the sister of his boss, prime minister Lord Melbourne.
For an unmarried couple to spend the night together would have been outrageous enough and, as everyone at court was well aware, Palmerston’s relationship with Emily had began as an affair, conducted under the nose of her husband.
It was small wonder that after the lascivious Palmerston’s death a quarter of a century later, the Queen would write that she had ‘never liked him’.
Locking the door behind him, the 55-year-old then foreign secretary (pictured: Lord Palmerston played by Laurence Fox) dragged a piece of furniture across it and then attempted to force himself on the room’s occupant, a 22-year-old lady-in-waiting Susan Brand
But as has become clear in the popular ITV drama, Victoria, now in its third series, the monarch, played by Jenna Coleman, had to put her feelings aside, balancing the outrageous private life of ‘Lord Cupid’, as he became known, against his status as the most popular politician of his day.
The first episode of the new series was set in 1848. By then, Victoria, who became Queen when she was 18, had been on the throne for 11 years and Palmerston, played by Laurence Fox (who says his character is a cross between Boris Johnson and Willy Wonka) had been foreign secretary for almost two decades.
Palmerston’s att-empted assault on a lady-in-waiting had been hushed up at the insistence of his now brother-in-law Lord Melbourne.
Using Britain’s considerable naval strength to force other countries to agree to his demands, Palmerston’s ‘gun boat diplomacy’ had achieved several notable successes, among them taking Hong Kong from the Chinese in the First Opium War of 1839.
As biographer Jasper Ridley explains, he was unapologetically patriotic and ‘believed. . . that the British constitution and social system was the best in the world’.
The gambling and womanising ‘Pam’ was an adored man of the people — even though Harrow-educated Henry John Temple, as he was born in London in 1784, was the son of the 2nd Viscount Palmerston, an Anglo-Irish peer.
He succeeded his father in 1802 and, since his was an Irish peerage, he could serve in the House of Commons, becoming elected as the Tory MP for Newport on the Isle of Wight in 1807.
By the time he had changed allegiance to the Whigs and became foreign secretary in 1830, Palmerston had already bedded some of the most beautiful society hostesses of the day, including Princess Dorothea Lieven, wife of the Russian ambassador to London and a woman so skinny that the cattier gossips said she had ‘the breasts of a skeleton’.
By 1810, the coded weather references with which he documented nights of passion in his journals were recording that he had spent ‘a fine night in the garden with E’ — in other words, he had moved on to Emily Cowper.
The gambling and womanising ‘Pam’ (pictured with his stepdaughter Viscountess Frances Jocelyn) was an adored man of the people — even though Harrow-educated Henry John Temple, as he was born in London in 1784, was the son of the 2nd Viscount Palmerston, an Anglo-Irish peer
Born in 1787, the then wife of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury was nine years her husband’s junior. She was as vivacious as he was dull and, as her affair with Palmerston progressed, it was said that Frances, the youngest of her five children, was in fact her lover’s.
Following her husband’s death in 1837, and a socially acceptable two years of mourning, she and Palmerston were finally free to marry in December 1839.
Their nuptials came shortly after he was accused of attempting to force himself upon Susan Brand, but their love for each other appears to have been enduring as she supported him throughout his fractious relationship with Victoria and Prince Albert.
Palmerston was often at loggerheads with the royal couple, not least because of his refusal to consult with Victoria on foreign policy.
Following a dispute between them in 1852, Palmerston resigned as foreign secretary. But as Britain became embroiled in the Crimean War, Victoria realised that he was the only politician capable of leading the country to victory and in 1855, aged 70, he became the oldest person ever to enter 10 Downing Street for the first time, beginning the first of two terms of office as prime minister.
Peace with Russia was secured the following year and slowly Victoria came to an understanding with Palmerston, she and Albert realising that, of all her prime ministers, he had given her the least trouble over domestic policy.
To him fell the job of dealing with the grief-stricken Queen following the death of Albert in 1861, persuading her to meet with her ministers even when she felt she could not face them.
Despite his age and the strains of political life, he and Emily maintained what her son-in-law Lord Shaftesbury described as ‘a perpetual courtship’ at Brocket Hall, their home in Hertfordshire.
Not that Palmerston had changed his ways. When he died in 1865 at the age of 80, there were rumours about the nature of his passing.
Official accounts maintained that he had succumbed to a chill, but others suggested that he had died of a heart attack, sustained while making love to a parlour maid on a billiard table at Brocket Hall.
If so, it would have surprised nobody, a suitably scandalous end to a politician who, despite living in the supposedly prudish Victorian age, could have given the cheats and scoundrels who have entered Parliament in more recent decades a run for their money.
Source: Read Full Article