Left to right: Prince Albert’s entrance. The Loving Couple (used as official moview poster). Victoria and Albert in the bedroom.
1837. VICTORIA (17) (Emily Blunt) is the object of a royal power struggle. Her uncle, KING WILLIAM (Jim Broadbent), is dying and Victoria is in line for the throne. Everyone is vying to win her favor. However Victoria is kept from the court by her overbearing mother, THE DUCHESS OF KENT (Miranda Richardson), and her ambitious advisor, CONROY (Mark Strong). Victoria hates them both. Her only friend is her doting governess, LEHZEN (Jeanette Hain), but she is smothering and over-protective.
Victoria’s handsome cousin, ALBERT (Rupert Friend) is invited to visit by her mother. He’s also the nephew of her Uncle, KING LEOPOLD OF BELGIUM (Thomas Kretschmann). It’s obvious that Albert has been coached to win her hand. At first she’s annoyed as she has no intention of being married. She never wants to be controlled again. However Albert is also tired of being manipulated by his relatives. Victoria and Albert talk openly and sincerely and become friends. When he returns home she grants him permission to write to her. King Leopold is delighted and pushes Albert to woo her. Albert refuses because he knows she’s not ready and he won’t return to London until she invites him. Leopold reluctantly waits.
Left to right: Lord Melbourne. The Duchess of Kent. King William IV.
Meanwhile King William dies and Victoria is crowned Queen of England. Victoria’s first decree is to banish her mother and Conroy to a remote palace apartment. She embraces LORD MELBOURNE (Paul Bettany), the charming Prime Minister, as her sole advisor. They become inseparable and although his motives are slightly self serving, he truly cares for her and wants her to succeed. Prince Albert returns to London to witness the coronation and the friendship between Victoria and Albert deepens. They spend happy hours together but it is obvious Victoria is under Melbourne’s spell and he eventually returns to Germany.
The public loves their new Queen. She’s cheered as she rides through the streets but this honeymoon with the public comes to a sudden end. Melbourne’s party is defeated in the elections and his rival, PEEL (Michael Maloney), demands that Victoria replace her ladies in waiting, who are all supporters of Lord Melbourne, with the wives of his own allies. Victoria refuses. Peel resigns and the backlash is furious. The newspapers declare that Victoria is opposing the public’s will. They are outraged
It is only now that Victoria understands how much she needs Albert’s support. Against Melbourne’s wishes, she summons the young Prince back to England. This time Albert is determined not to be kept waiting in the wings any longer. Seeing his new resolution and struck by how handsome and sincere he is, Victoria invites him to marry her.
The spectacle of the royal wedding wins over the public. The handsome young Prince and Queen are cheered and all seems well in the Royal household.
However tensions between Albert and Victoria start to emerge. She wants an obedient friend and lover, not a controlling husband. But he, reasonably enough, wants to be her partner and equal, to be involved in her political decisions. Victoria is furious. She is the Queen and she will manage her own business! Albert is hurt and has little to do in his new role as Consort. Eventually, with the Dowager QUEEN ADELAIDE’S (Harriet Walter) encouragement, she allows him to re-organize the palace staff. He does a great job - the household is more efficient than it’s been in centuries.
Victoria becomes pregnant. Life should be perfect. But they argue when she sees Albert talking with politicians at a party. She’s incensed that he is taking the lead without her permission. They are later riding through the streets when a crazed man tries to shoot Victoria. Albert throws her to the carriage floor and is wounded trying to protect her.
Shocked by the danger and amazed by the strength of his love, Victoria realizes what a selfish woman she’s become. She begs Albert’s forgiveness as he insists that all he’s ever wanted was what was best for her. Trusting him completely, she’s now ready to accept his help. Together they banish Lehzen who could not accept Albert’s place in the family, and her mother’s treacherous advisor, Conroy, who was still wielding influence. In a symbolic move, Victoria moves Albert’s desk next to hers and for the rest of his life they rule together.
Young Victoria. Official Movie site. Viewed 2 December 2009.
Last modified 2 December 2009