While not entirely historically accurate, I can see this series doing a lot of good for how the infamously (and unfairly) grumpy queen is seen.
Queen Victoria is one of our country’s best known monarchs, her claim to fame being her colossal rule of 63 years – the longest of a king or queen until Elizabeth II very recently overtook her. Not only that, she governed Britain and its colonies through one of the most revolutionary periods of history.
What she isn’t as well known for, however, is troubled early years of ruling, struggling to maintain control of a court with little respect for her. Nor for scandals, or an infatuation with the Whig Prime Minister, the ageing and balding Lord Melbourne. ITV’s new drama Victoria aims to change the public opinion of the queen, often seen as old and grumpy, to the image of a strong and powerful woman. Even with her youth, and the position unexpectedly thrust on her, she refuses to give into the manipulations of those around her, who include her mother. She exclaims: “I am not a piece of clay to be moulded by any hand”. Interestingly, this is based heavily on her own words, from her diaries.
In the first of its eight episodes, 18 year old Alexandrina Victoria is declared Queen after her uncle dies. Against the advice of her advisors, she takes the name Queen Victoria, chooses Prime Minister Lord Melbourne to be a confidante, and is shown to be painfully besotted with him. What the show makes very clear is that she is a teenage girl, and even in her position she is restrained by her gender and small stature. She is strong willed and knows what she wants, true to form, but as shown in her first address as Queen, she is a young girl amongst middle aged men, who fail to take her seriously.
Victoria is broadcast on ITV1 on Sundays on 9pm. Episodes 1 & 2 are available to watch via the ITV Hub.