Masterpiece's Victoria Drawn From the Queen's Diaries, an Eight-Part Drama
Credit: Courtesy of ITV Plc
Editor's Note: If the subject appeals we do recommend the movie version we viewed, The Young Victoria, with the excellent Emily Blunt as the Queen, Rupert Friend as Albert and Miranda Richardson as her mother.
Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world. Surely she must rely on her mother and her venal advisor, Sir John Conroy, or her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, who are all too eager to relieve her of the burdens of power.
The young queen is no puppet, however. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name. Everyone keeps saying she is destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
Drawing on Victoria's diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen richly to life.
Jenna Coleman stars as the young Victoria, a tiny (4'11"), neglected teenager who overnight became Queen and eventually the most powerful woman in the world. Masterpiece's Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said: "Victoria has it all, a riveting script, brilliant cast, and spectacular locations. And it's a true story!"
Masterpiece is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. The series is created and written by best-selling novelist Daisy Goodwin (The American Heiress) in her screenwriting debut. Ms. Goodwin read through 62 million words of Victoria's diaries, which vividly portray her astonishing transformation form rebellious teenager to Queen.
The eight-part drama follows Victoria from the time she becomes Queen in 1837 at the age of 18, through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Famous for her candor and spirit, she was the first woman who seemed to have it all: a passionate marriage, nine children, and the job of being Queen of the world's most important nation. Victoria's often tumultuous reign lasted for 63 years; she was England's longest-serving monarch until she was overtaken by Elizabeth II in September, 2015.
In addition to Ms. Coleman, the stellar ensemble includes Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle, The Pillars of the Earth) as Lord Melbourne, her first prime minister and intimate friend; Tom Hughes (Dancing on the Edge) as her husband Prince Albert; Alex Jennings (The Lady in the Van) as Leopold I, King of Belgium and uncle to both Victoria and Albert; Paul Rhys (Borgia, Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, the ambitious controller of the household of Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent; and Peter Firth (MI-5) as Victoria's conniving uncle, the Duke of Cumberland.
Queen Victoria's World: This site offers some additional visual material in support of the online Queen Victoria’s Journals resource, which was the result of a unique partnership between the Bodleian Libraries and the Royal Archives, working in collaboration with the online publisher ProQuest.
Diary of Catherine Paget
Catherine Paget (1846-1935) visited Osborne House on 23 January 1868 while staying as a guest with friends in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight.
Her account of the visit is included in a guard-book of miscellaneous papers held by the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford (MS. Eng. misc. d. 244, fol.184r-203r); the text can be downloaded at: Diary of Catherine Paget (February 1868).
This gallery presents a selection of front covers of musical scores which relate in some way to Queen Victoria. Some are dedicated to her or her family, some were written specifically to commemorate royal events, and others are simply works by composers she admired or works named for her favourite performers. All are from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world - the Collection is particularly strong with regard to the 19th century, and therefore contains innumerable images which relate to the world of Queen Victoria.
And another novel by Daisy Goodwin:
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