The Young Victoria

Did I miss this movie in the theaters? It came out March 6 in the UK, so maybe not.

It features my two favorite young actors (Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend, from the amazing Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont) and one of my favorite historical subjects (the British monarchy).

The movie was great. It was very moving, about young love, the weight of mature responsibility on young shoulders, a young woman surrounded by domineering men. I liked the pacing, I even enjoyed the letter exchanges between Victoria and Albert, and enjoyed seeing the part King Leopold of Belgium played in brokering a union for his own profit that ended up taking on a life and love of its very own.

You learn a lot about Queen Victoria’s very strict and paranoid upbringing, early reign and struggles, even a couple of assassination attempts. But you also get to see a love story that could very well be one of the greats. Victoria and Albert reigned together for twenty years, pioneering in industry, health care and the arts, raised nine children together, until Albert’s death at 42. Victoria outlived him for nearly forty years, and laid out his clothes every morning during those many years. That may seem like a strange gesture, maybe even an antiquated or slightly morbid one and historical movies are mostly fiction, but I will say that even if it is, the movie gives a great indication of what Albert may have represented for an imprisoned, friendless, isolated young Victoria, and how she may have reverted to that state after the death of her soul mate. That much love, even if fictionalized, does come through in the movie, and it’s good to believe it in with such abandon, even for the duration of a feature-length movie.

Here’s a great Wikipedia page on Queen Victoria.


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