At the banquet held to celebrate what would be his last birthday, on August 21st, 1836, William IV gave the following speech:
I trust in God that my life may be spared for nine months longer, after
which period, in the event of my death, no Regency would take place. I
should then have the satisfaction of leaving the Royal authority to the
personal exercise of that young lady [Princess, later Queen, Victoria],
the heiress presumptive to the Crown, and not in the hands of a person
now near me [Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent], who is surrounded
by evil advisers and who is herself incompetent to act with propriety in
the station in which she would be placed. I have no hesitation in
saying that I have been insulted grossly insulted by that person, but I
am determined to endure no longer a course of behaviour so disrespectful
to me. Amongst other things, I have particularly to complain of the
manner in which that young lady has been kept away from my Court; she
has been repeatedly kept from my Drawing Rooms, at which she ought
always to have been present, but I am fully resolved that this shall not
happen again. I would have her know that I am King, and I am determined
to make my authority respected, and for the future I shall insist and
command that the Princess do upon all occasions appear at my Court, as
it is her duty to do.
He more than kept his word, living for another ten months. He died on this day, June 20th, in 1837, a little under a month after Victoria turned 18 and was considered of age to rule on her own.
And she ruled for 64 years in arguably the most successful era of time for Great Britain (though obviously the colonial wasn’t necessary good for the other countries involved). Her rule literally changed the landscape of this planet and arranged events up to this very day.
William understood her well. To make such a statement at his own banquet, took tremendous resolve. It is impressive.
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