Lord Melbourne becomes Prime Minister

Following the resignation of Earl Grey, King William IV appoints Viscount Melbourne as Prime Minister. Melbourne’s cabinet showed only minor changes from the one he inherited from Grey with key members Viscount Althorp (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Lord Palmerston (Foreign Secretary), Lord Brougham (Lord Chancellor) and Lord John Russell (Paymaster General) all continuing in their posts. The only major new appointment was Melbourne’s brother-in-law Lord Duncannon who succeeded him as Home Secretary. When Lord Althorp resigned in November following the death of his father, Melbourne visited King William in Brighton to discuss a replacement. Melbourne favoured Lord John Russell but William disliked Russell intensely. Invited to stay the night so that the King could sleep in the matter, Melbourne got a nasty surprise at breakfast the following day when William abruptly dismissed the government and sent for the Duke of Wellington.