When I was in London last April, it was still on but, not being there alone, I couldn't see it. I really wanted to watch this movie for several reasons - I love costume films, the Victorian Age, Queen Victoria as a historical figure, Victorian literature... - I couldn't miss it. So Amazon UK was my saviour. It's the latest addition to my collection: YOUNG VICTORIA 2009 starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Fiend, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong.
I've recently seen it and just wanted to share some points with you.
The film is a romantic dramatisation of some of the events preceding and following the coronation of Queen Victoria, focusing on her early reign and romance with Prince Albert in the 1830s.
Enough attention is given to Victoria's attitude to life and power, with a good convincing characterization. Less realistic seems Prince Albert's portrayal: he is depicted as a youg prince, ready to satisfy his father's will, trying to flatter his young, beautiful, powerful cousin in order to fulfil political aims, planning strategies to please Victoria as a political duty. Official biographies want him really in love with her: they were good friends first of all, then lovers, then husband and wife. Furthermore, Victoria's uncle, Leopold I of Belgium,was not as pushy and selfish in persuading Albert to marry the queen in real life as he was portrayed in the film. The Belgian King was Victoria's favorite uncle and served as a sort of father figure to her.
The movie also underlines the great solitude she had to experience, especially before marrying Albert. And this, I guess, was what brought her to the serious depression which followed his death: to be brought again into that nightmarish solitude .
VICTORIA AND ALBERT IN OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHIES
Victoria, the daughter of the duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, was born in 1819. She inherited the throne of Great Britain at the age of 18, upon the death of her uncle William IV in 1837, and reigned until 1901, bestowing her name upon her age. She married her mother's nephew, Albert (1819-1861), prince of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, in 1840, and until his death he remained the focal point of her life (she bore him nine children).
Albert replaced Lord Melbourne, the Whig Prime Minister who had served her as her first personal and political tutor and instructor, as Victoria's chief advisor. Albert was moralistic, conscientious and progressive, if rather priggish, sanctimonious, and intellectually shallow, and with Victoria initiated various reforms and innovations— he organized the Great Exhibition of 1851, for example— which were responsible for a great deal of the popularity later enjoyed by the British monarchy. (In contrast to the Great Exhibition, housed in the Crystal Palace and viewed by proud Victorians as a monument to their own cultural and technological achievements, however, we may recall that the government over which Victoria and Albert presided had, in the midst of the potato famine of 1845, continued to permit the export of grain and cattle from Ireland to England while over a million Irish peasants starved to death).
In this beautiful filmed portrayal of Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert there are few historical inaccuracies that can be interesting to notice.
1. Victoria was left handed; however, in the film she draws and paints with her right hand
2. Prince Albert was never shot during an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria: the bullet missed him.
UNBELIEVABLE TRUE FACTS
(above - Mark Strong as John Conroy and
Miranda Richardson as Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent)
The scene where Conroy, her mother's lover, is trying to make Victoria sign the paper when she is ill and she throws it to the floor - it's completely true and the scene in Windsor where the King stands up and insults Victoria's mother is not only true, but about two-thirds of his speech is what he actually said. However, the duchess of Kent was seated next to the King when he spoke and did not leave during the speech; and, undepicted in the film, the princess burst into tears "and the two parties, soon realizing that they had gone too far, patched up an uneasy truce . According to Greville's Memoirs: "The Queen looked in deep distress, the Princess burst into tears, and the whole company were aghast. The Duchess of Kent said not a word. Immediately after they rose and retired, and a terrible scene ensued; the Duchess announced her immediate departure and ordered her carriage, but a sort of reconciliation was patched up, and she was prevailed upon to stay till the next day".
Though I know this is predictable and obvious, I particularly loved the costumes and locations. Mark Strong , who was a "good" wicked Sir Conroy, and Jim Broadbent, a convincing King William. I had already loved Emily Blunt as Prudie in THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and she has been an extraordinary young queen in this movie. Rupert Fiend as Albert? Still thinking about it ...