Wednesday, July 15

The Young Victoria

Love Rules All

I think the impression that everyone has of Queen Victoria (or at least the impression I had) is based on the much publicised saying 'We are not amused' and her famous portrait where she looks pretty grumpy, because of this you'd be excused for thinking Queen Victoria was a bit boring and just a tad moody, this film however suggests otherwise (although I'm not sure of the historical accuracy, so she might of been a moody cow!)

As the title suggests, this film focuses on Queen Victoria's (played by Emily Blunt) earlier years, more specifically focusing on the year building up to her coronation and the beginning of her reign, during which time she began her friendship and later marriage with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). I have spent many weeks since watching the film trying to condense the story behind Victoria's coming to power and her early reign into a short paragraph, but it's unsurprisingly difficult - she is our longest reigning monarch after all. Nevertheless, let's see if I can explain the whole political side as far as I understand/remember (with help from Queen Victoria for kids). Victoria was the only child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (who died 8 months after her birth) and Princess Victoria Mary Louisa of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Miranda Richardson). Prince Edward's brother was King William IV of England (Jim Broadbent), whereas Princess Mary Louisa's brother was King Leopold I of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann). The film begins not long before Victoria's coronation at 18 and portrays the strained relationship with her mother, who was under the influence of her consort Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong), her budding relationship with Prince Albert (under her uncle Leopold's influence), in addition to her close friendship with The Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany).

Despite the obvious historical context, the film is mainly a love story between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and a beautiful (true) one at that. It's refreshing to see that amongst what appeared to be a lot of arranged/forced marriages at the time there is a story of two people simply falling in love with each other; Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend do an amazing job at making you believe you're watching that story unfold on screen. Although, for history buffs you see the Queen moving into the newly built Buckingham Palace, the Bedchamber Crisis, assassination attempts and the development of concepts which we take for granted now, like terraced housing.

I believe this is Emily's first leading role and she does an amazing job at making a monarch, who had previously been considered a little gloomy, seem fun and extremely likeable. On a sort of related point, I find it quite it quite interesting to see that in and amongst all the female geared films (or 'chick-flicks' if you must, although I hate that term) the one's which feature the most strong, independent females seem to be the period films, as opposed to all the modern day films featuring women shopping and having their lives ended/rebuilt by the presence of a romantic lead. With 'The Young Victoria' you get the feeling that Prince Albert merely complemented her personality and monarchy rather than constructed it.

'The Young Victoria' is out now on DVD. I would definitely recommend it if you are a lover of period drama's (for once without Keira Knightley in!) or just want to see an honest and refreshingly modern love story.


  1. Sounds like the kind of movie I'd eat up with a spoon.

  2. Definitely check it out Jen, it's such a beautiful film. It has some amazing cinematography and costumes too - it's a shame it didn't do as well as it could of done.


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