In 1842, on this day Queen Victoria and her uncle Leopold I, King of the Belgians were both tragically killed on their way to the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace to attend divine service in accordance with their usual custom.
Tragedy at the Chapel RoyalThe cause was a diminutive, hunchbacked, deeply depressed seventeen-year old boy called John William Bean. On this, his third assassination attempt in two years, he pointed a flintlock pistol loaded only with paper and tobacco and little charge. He was overcome by the boy standing next to him, but unfortunately the fray panicked the horses who bolted, throwing both of the monarchs from the royal carriage.
Nevertheless, Bean escaped even though the Metropolitan Police rounded up virtually every male hunchbacked dwarf in London. Unable to prevent the tragedy, the Queen's vexed Prime Minister (and architect of the Metropolitan Police Force), Robert Peel arrived on the scene and immediately burst into tears.