September 11, 2016

Victoria EXTRA's!

Here's our weekly Victoria extra bits from around the web:  Enjoy all the fun facts and photos!

Ever since Downton Abbey came to an end last year – constantly-rumored feature film notwithstanding – audiences in the UK and abroad have been waiting for a successor to the period drama throne.

Arise, Victoria – a lavish new series delving into the early years of Queen Victoria’s infamous reign. With a stellar cast, impressive production values, and literally decades of history to pillage, Sunday nights just got cozy again.

Here’s what you need to know.

1) Jenna Coleman takes the lead role
Fresh from travelling through time and space with Doctor Who, Jenna Coleman has taken on the role of the queen who reigned for 65 years.
The series concerns an 18 year-old Victoria as she ascends to the throne, and the start of her relationship with (soon-to-be-Prince) Albert, played by Tom Hughes.
Image result for filming queen victoria
There’s also her close friendship with Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, here portrayed by Rufus Sewell, with the pair’s bond quickly becoming a source of gossip. 

2) Don’t expect Albert to pop up straight away
Image result for filming victoria series itv
Calm down, Rufus Sewell fans – you’ll have to wait until Episode 3 for the man who will be Victoria’s husband down the line. With the pair notably having a passionate and love-filled romance – this was no awkward arranged coupling – it’ll definitely be worth the wait.
3) It cost millions to make - click here to see how they stretched their budget
Hey, telling the story of the royals isn’t cheap. The series reportedly cost £10 million to make eight episodes, and you see a lot of that money on-screen.
The sets and costumes are, of course, dazzling – though they’re not all as expensive as they look.  “[Michael Howells, Production Designer] spent a lot of money on very expensive chandeliers from Croatia,” Coleman told The Telegraph. “But in order to counteract that, he’s driven up to Scotland and got 22,000 seashells for free, and bought swords from the pound shop, all sprayed in gold.”

Image result for jenna coleman victoria4) It’s going up against Aidan Turner’s torso
Put your fan-fiction notepads away – you’re not about to see Queen Victoria nip off to Cornwall for a bit of sweaty scything.
Victoria and Poldark are going head-to-head in a less literal sense – as of September, the Sunday 9pm slot will see the two shows vie for an audience.
Poldark has the advantage of a massive fanbase thanks to its acclaimed first series – but Victoria will be two episodes in by the time Turner returns.
5) It was mostly filmed in Yorkshire
Recreating the opulence of royalty was achieved by a mix of locations and studio shoots. Lots of Victoria was filmed in Yorkshire, with various sections shot in Harewood House in Leeds – doubling up for both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace. Beverly Minster, also in Yorkshire, was used as Westminster Abbey and St James’ Palace for the hugely impressive coronation and wedding scenes. 


Were the Queen and her future husband really cousins?

The real Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, photographed in 1860
The short answer is yes. Victoria was the daughter of Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, AKA the Duchess of Kent (played in the series by Catherine Flemming), and Albert was the son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Duchess and Ernest* were brother and sister, making young Victoria Ernest's niece, Albert the Duchess's nephew and Albert and Victoria first cousins.
*not to be confused with his son, Albert's brother, also called Ernest
These days, marrying cousins is sometimes frowned upon but in the UK it is perfectly legal and the British royal family have been doing it for hundreds of years in order to ensure strong alliances and allegiances.

Did Victoria and Albert actually hate each other?

In this week's episode of the ITV drama the relationship between the cousins is strained at first, with neither overly keen to get married in accordance with their parents' wishes and Victoria expressing distaste at Albert's personality.
However, in real life it doesn't seem like this was the case. Certainly, Victoria appeared to think Albert was made for her from the beginning, having met him in 1836 a year before she ascended to the throne (unlike in the TV series where it's implied the pair haven't seen each other since they were much younger).
Writing in her diary after their first meeting, she noted some of their physical similarities and was clear about her attraction to him. 
"He is extremely handsome; his hair is about the same colour as mine; his eyes are large and blue, and he has a beautiful nose and a very sweet mouth with fine teeth; but the charm of his countenance is his expression, which is most delightful."
Victoria later wrote to her uncle Leopold, who arranged the match, thanking him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert ... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me perfectly happy. He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable too. He has besides the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance you can possibly see."
In fairness, it's probably not as dramatic a love story if everyone just calmly gets on from the beginning. Spoiler alert, but it looks like these two might end up together...

Did Albert have a problem with Lord Melbourne?

We only get a glimpse of this in tonight's episode, but one of the hurdles Albert faces in his pursuit of Victoria comes in the form of Rufus Sewell's Lord Melbourne, who the series presents as something of a rival for Victoria's affections.
In real life, as we've noted elsewhere, Lord Melbourne and Victoria's friendship was more like that of a father and daughter, so this "love triangle" is more of an invention. However, it is true that Victoria's marriage meant that she became less reliant on Melbourne's advice, turning more and more to Albert's counsel and eventually drifting away from her former minister, so there is a nugget of historical fact in this plotline.

Waiting for the green man 🚦@daisygeorgiatraill #victoria

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