chapter  22
2 VICTORIA’S EARLY YEARS
Pages 5

Though the process by which the direct political power of the monarch largely disappeared was underway before Victoria’s accession, much occurred during her own reign to confirm and even accelerate this trend. Bogdanor divides the reign into four phases. During the second period, from 1841 to 1868, the potential for royal influence was at its greatest, particularly during the era of coalition governments after 1846. For much of this time, he considers, Prince Albert was almost a joint sovereign with Victoria, having access to Cabinet papers, being present at the Prime Minister’s audiences with the queen (a unique privilege)4 and exercising an unofficial though powerful influence behind the scenes.