I’ve always been fascinated by the monarchy: German, French, British, Dutch, etc; and I’ve gobbled up many biographies on monarchs I’ve found interesting, with Elizabeth I of course being on the very top. I was pleasantly surprised by the Victoria mini-series, although it’s main focus was on the relationship between Victoria and Albert. It’s piqued my interest in learning more about this queen and more especially about Prince Albert.
Theirs is a story uncommonly found in history. How many monarchies would allow a Queen to rule so freely without the aid of a husband? Instead of promoting the rule in Albert’s name, Victoria reigned in her own. Coming from a culture that’s always oppressed women, that is something admirable about the British Crown – even if they did it in the interest of keeping Britain under English control.
The drama also focuses on the squalid conditions outside Court, where people were suffering because of disease, hunger, and corruption. While Victoria was occupied with her own troubles, people struggled for daily bread and Dickens wrote his famous novels, which Prince Albert brought to Victoria’s attention. I think without Albert, Victoria could not have been the Queen she was. He was progressive and wanted to push Britain into a greater economy. He was an abolitionist and supported the cause whole-heartedly. He cared for the people’s suffering and with his German stoicism he was serious in everything he did.
In contrast, Victoria was wise, but impressionable. She was impulsive, brave, but in a way shallow – too immersed in her immediate world. This obviously will change as she grows more mature, but I think although the same age Albert was more mature than Victoria to begin with. Casting Tom Hughes as Albert was a fantastic decision because not only is he handsome, but he plays the German prince well. Watching the series has made me more curious to learn about how the German monarchy differed from the British one. Their ways of doing things were obviously different and Albert I think grew up in a starkly colder environment than Victoria.
I’m looking very much forward to the second season, supposed to air this year, and if you are a history buff like me, I recommend this series. One of my favorite scenes is when Prince Albert makes his first appearance: Enter! It of course not without its flaws, but it’s an entertaining indulgence. I’ll be able to judge its accuracy more once I’ve read up on Victoria and her world, which most likely won’t happen for the next few months as the new semester of grad school starts in three days! But in the meantime, I would love to hear what you think of this series!