Queen Victoria insults William Gladstone one last time

The final occasion came when Gladstone wrote to the Queen to tender his resignation for the last time as Prime Minister. Even though she had never liked Gladstone, The Queen’s reply was a studied insult to the Grand Old Man and one which upset him considerably. ‘Though the Queen has already accepted Mr Gladstone’s resignation and has taken leave of him, she does not like to leave his letter tendering his resignation unanswered. She therefore writes these few lines to say that she thinks, after so many years of arduous labour and responsibility, he is right in wishing to be relieved at his age of these arduous duties and she trusts he will be able to enjoy peace and quiet, with his excellent and devoted wife, in health and happiness and that his eyesight might improve. The Queen would gladly have offered a peerage to Mr Gladstone but she knows he would not accept it.’