Epsiode 3 of the new ITV drama Victoria is under my belt, and I have to say that this is my favourite episode yet. The characters are becoming more and more relatable, I am more invested in their emotions and difficulties, and the acting is absolutely superb and heart wrenching. This week’s episode contained a particularly heartbreaking but beautiful scene, and I can’t avoid talking about it in detail…so, SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the third episode of Victoria, you may not want to read further.
In this episode, Queen V does something I hadn’t expected her to do at all and declares her love for her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. It was obvious in the first two episodes that Victoria and Lord M are remarkably fond of each other, and Victoria is very clearly obsessed with him as she seems to constantly not only want but need him to be present with her at all times. She relies on him in every circumstance and has grown to prize his counsel above all others.
While this is endearing and adorable to see, it is also dangerous for evident political reasons. It is neither wise nor decorous for a queen to favour one political party or one man entirely. Lord M cannot be Queen V’s husband because he is not a royal, and so any flirtation or preference between them is socially taboo.
But, Queen V is, as she states herself, a woman as well as a queen – and the literature that emerged from her era was not replete with sentiment and feeling coincidentally. Queen V is a woman who is aware of her emotions, who gives voice to them and gives them reign, and Jenna Coleman perfectly articulates this during the scene when Victoria (the woman) confesses her love for Lord M. The scene is absolutely exquisite, from the way it is shot to the palpable chemistry between the two characters. It is also significant, though, from a modern viewer’s, and particularly a modern woman’s, perspective.
It is one thing to love and rely on someone, but it is quite another thing to become obsessive and dependent. While trusting and confiding in one’s significant other is a cornerstone of any successful relationship, there is always a danger (or so I have found) of becoming overly obsessed, of losing oneself in the necessity of always having the Other around. Victoria, although a queen who is strong and defiant in so many ways, is gentle and vulnerable when it comes to her affection for Lord M, and this causes her to follow him everywhere, to hound and burden him, to place expectations on him that are hardly appropriate of their stations. Victoria the woman depends on Lord M, not just for political counsel, but also seemingly for life and breath, and she learns in this episode that a queen should not and in fact cannot rely so heavily on anyone outside herself. There is a real danger in giving too much of her self-possession and confidence to another, in placing it in the hands of someone else, and Victoria begins to realize this when Lord M discourages her love and she is left to rely only on herself. This is a strong moment for the viewer, I think, because it highlights the importance of self-esteem, of confidence in one’s own abilities, of the force and fortitude necessary to battle things alone sometimes. It is alright to rely on others, but not if that blinds you to duty, decorum and to your own personal strengths.
In any case, Lord M and Queen V have a complicated and complex relationship that is fascinating and that is sure to get even more interesting as the episodes progress.
Episode 3: Brocket Hall
– rebellion from British citizens = conflict is coming… Is Queen V prepared?
“Not all queens marry, ma’am.” = allusion to Queen Elizabeth = Queen V is determined not to marry yet… Is this due to Lord M’s presence and influence?
*Albert = V is adamantly against him as a suitor, which is ironic and wonderful. We know how great her love for him will be! It is a romance among monarchs unlike any other!
– uprising of Chartists in Wales = will become cornerstone of democracy (ex- women should be allowed to vote)… Victoria is still more concerned with operas and flirtation and socializing… She underestimates the ability of the British people to rebel or start a revolution.
~ so much speculation about who Queen V will marry = wager between servants = it is a joke to everyone else!
– Queen V is always making eyes at Lord M, which is adorable but also very dangerous and not wise! Lord M can never be her husband, which is unfortunate from a romantic perspective, but historically accurate and relevant.
*the audience is wary of Prince Albert, who is encouraged by people who wish to manipulate Queen V (ex- Uncle Leopold) = we want her NOT to like Albert.
– the people really did not love Queen V in the beginning = apparently a marriage and children would ground her.
– Prince A is at least the same age as Queen V, which isn’t always a given for husbands in these times.
– servants’ storylines take me out of the drama a bit = it is a source of suspense and relief, but I am glad when their scenes are short.
– Queen V followed Lord M to Brocket Hall = she is very obsessed with him, and not at all subtle or careful.
*Oh my goodness, the scene between Lord M and Queen V is EXQUISITE and heartbreaking and perfectly acted! The attraction is palpable, but also the emotion and desperation. As she says, Queen V is acting as a woman, not as a royal, and she has such a big heart with so much feeling (= which will become a real trait of her literature). Although Lord M denies her hand and heart, I still feel he does it to protect her. But Queen V’s poor, gentle heart is shattered and she seems upset and moved; she still carries herself regally and with dignity, though.
~ “I believe when you give your heart, it will be without hesitation.” ~
– rooks are such a beautiful image at this moment = they are quintessentially Victorian.
– the way Lord M grabs Queen V’s hand implies that he feels something he cannot say in words because he is not allowed.
– Queen V is passionate = she will devote herself entirely to her love!
– calls Lord M “Lord Melbourne” at the end of the scene = she will move to formality and coldness to heal her heart = back to decorum.
– Albert is a “stupid boy” to Queen V = she wants a man, a powerful and smart equal.
Lord M: “I just hope her husband will appreciate her.” !!!
– Lord M sent Queen V orchids = he is trying to send a message and protect her at the same time! It is not easy to navigate the propriety of these times. He admits that they cannot marry even if it is their “inclination”.
– sentiment = folly for Queen V’s critics… For Queen V, sentiment is a force she cannot deny.
– Queen V is becoming politically savvy and compassionate = she will not let Chartists die gruesomely; she will not let men be executed.
~ “I wish my reign to be more merciful.” ~
~ “Maybe it takes a queen to see things as they should be.” ~
– Queen V is determined to rule alone. Lord M thinks Albert may surprise her, and that she will not be happy alone.
– final moment with Victoria and Albert is lovely = it makes me curious if he will have the fight she needs.
Girl with a Green Heart