Victoria S2: Yes, He Would Know, But I Will Not Ask Him

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And so we are back for another season of Victoria. This aired in the UK this past August, but only today made its debut here in the U.S. It’s been nearly a year since the first season wrapped and I’ll confess that I didn’t give myself a refresher by re-watching or even scanning the recaps. I found myself remembering plot lines as they were re-introduced tonight, but it’s safe to say we’ve picked up where we left off.

Victoria and Albert have welcomed their first child, Princess Victoria, or Vicky, and both are adjusting to their new roles as parents. Victoria, as she spent most of her pregnancy, is chafing in confinement and ready to get back to work. Albert is perhaps a little too comfortable managing the sovereign’s boxes for his wife and deciding what information she needs to know.

This show takes more than a few liberties with timelines and character placement, but if there’s one aspect that rings true it’s that this couple certainly had a hard time adjusting to their roles within their marriage, both publicly and privately. We covered that last year in this post, which takes you through 1843, but the themes of the two wresting over power and control absolutely have a basis in reality.

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One thing that is most definitely off – and has been since the last episodes of the previous season – is that throughout all of this Lord Melbourne was still Prime Minister. Per this show, you would think he left after Victoria and Albert married in the winter of 1840, but in fact he was still top dog until the summer of 1841. My guess as to why the series creator made this choice is that they intend to move through the years a bit more quickly from here on out and wanted to explore the dynamic of Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel and the royal couple in depth while they had the chance, but it’s still a fairly glaring deviation.

Yet another inaccuracy is that “the Coburgs” as they’re called were not swanning in and out of the UK as regularly as this show would have you think. “Uncle Leopold” was in fact the King of Belgium and while he’s identified as such, they never seem to address how it is that he can so freely make extended leaves of absence to meddle in the UK. The real Leopold was absolutely a presence in Victoria and Albert’s lives, so I get what the series is doing, but you just know it’s driving royal Twitter mad as they fact check the very smallest of details.

For that matter, no one is a fan of the portrayal of Harriett (a real person) and Ernest.

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But one thing they get right is that Queen Victoria was not a fan of babies. She disliked pregnancy, childbirth and infants, and Victoria’s uneasiness with the entire process, and what it demands of her, is mostly on point. It’s an interesting aspect of the real queen’s character, and one which absolutely drove so many of her relationships with her children and how she viewed parenting, but I am bit a concerned that we’re veering a little too far into the Queen Victoria As Feminist narrative.

That would be a difficult case to make, but the intricacies of her horror for the physical implications of motherhood, her love for Albert and her mercurial relationship with her own role as sovereign makes for fascinating history. How the show decides to delve into these will be interesting to watch.

Going forward I’ll try my best to go more in-depth with each episode, but tonight gave us a double-header and it’s getting late(!) I’ll wrap up any loose ends when we pick back up next week. In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be ignoring the servants’ storylines, per usual 😉

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