We open with Queen Victoria and Harriet Sutherland — whose brooch is a very good example of period-appropriate jewelry — hanging out in the palace gardens. When Albert and Ernst arrive, Ernst convinces Harriet that they should go hang out elsewhere…
…so that Al ‘n Vic can canoodle in this conveniently placed neo-classical shelter.
Victoria is all virginal lust — no jewels, just flowers in her hair. She wishes that she were an ordinary women, so she and Albert could just run away to Coburg together. She wants to get married now. Practical Albert reminds her that he’s got business to settle back in Germany before they can wed.
Uncle Leopold gives Albert some friendly advice on how to influence his wife, keep his mistresses hidden away, and get a big fat royal allowance. Albert — who was so distressed by his parents’ infidelities and divorce that he became the most Victorian of all of the Victorians — is uncomfortable.
(Seriously, who is running Belgium???)
Meanwhile, Victoria is pretty nervous to tell Lord Melbourne that she has successfully popped the question.
With eyes downcast, Lord M offers his congratulations. Pro tip: never fall in love with your prime minister, everybody. It just makes reigning extremely awkward.
The Duchess of Kent has doubled up on the diamond haircombs as she hears the news of her daughter’s (and, uh, nephew’s) engagement.
Victoria, in a small pendant and earrings, nearly hurts herself trying to be gracious about her mother’s joy at the situation.
Albert and Victoria say their lustful goodbyes; he’s going back to Coburg for six weeks before the wedding. (In reality, Victoria and Albert were engaged in October 1839 and married in February 1840.) Victoria mostly wants to talk about her overwhelming feelings, and she brushes off Albert’s concerns about his household and his allowance. She doesn’t understand why Albert needs anything that isn’t hers.
The Duchess of Kent brings out her biggest tiara haircomb to bid a temporary farewell to her nephew/almost son-in-law.
Victoria is annoyed that she has to inform the Privy Council of her intent to marry Albert. She’s even more annoyed when the Duke of Wellington insinuates that Albert is a Catholic — which would mean she couldn’t go through with the marriage. (He wasn’t Catholic.) Also, it’s been years since her accession, and still no one has told her not to pin the Garter star to her sash!
Back in Coburg, the craggy old Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha congratulates his son on the impending royal wedding. (This man, who married his NIECE, should never be allowed to speak with anyone about marriages or weddings.) The Duke wants his son to hurry up and convince Victoria to start funneling some money to Germany so they can fix the leaky castle roof.
Meanwhile, in Parliament, Robert Peel is TICKED that they’re going to have to fund a German prince, let alone give him a British title. Shouldn’t have snubbed Peel back in the day, Victoria!
Albert’s only (only!) going to get 30,000 pounds a year. When Victoria complains that Uncle Leopold got more (when he was married to the late Princess Charlotte), Lord M breaks it to her that everyone knows Leopold uses part of his income to keep a mistress. Victoria, who is wearing a headband over her updo (?) is shocked.
Victoria, wearing a lovely brooch with three drop pearls, gossips with her pals. Albert’s not happy with the allowance. He wants more, and Victoria just does not get why. She’s not thinking about masculine pride — she’s thinking about the literal things Albert will have to buy.
Harriet’s ferronnieres have officially gotten out of control. She wants to talk wedding details: what color Victoria will wear, who will give her away. She goes for white (since Albert is very into respectability). Her uncle, the Duke of Sussex, is a little batty, but he’ll do for an escort down the aisle.
In Coburg, Ernst has taken Albert to finish his education … at a brothel! Albert, predictably, does not follow through with Ernst’s plan.
Victoria tells her mother — who has gone with one comb and one jewel in her hair this time — about Leopold’s mistress. Victoire is dismayed that her daughter is so naive about men. She tells Victoria that her own father, the Duke of Kent, kept a mistress before they were married. Victoria is worried that Albert has a mistress, which is hilarious. The Duchess of Kent is entirely unhelpful, answering with a casual, “Not yet!”
Victoria quizzes Lord M about the late Duke of Kent’s mistress, but they’re interrupted by the Lord Chamberlain, who wants to talk wedding details.
She notes that Albert wants the bridesmaids to come from families with good reputations. Lord M snorts a little and notes that they have to be aristocratic, so that’s not going to happen. Victoria has HAD IT with all of the mistress talk!
Albert returns to England, and Victoria welcomes him in A REAL ROYAL JEWEL REPLICA! Finally! This is the production’s version of Queen Adelaide’s Diamond Fringe, which we talked about in yesterday’s post. Hallelujah! I don’t even care that the scale is a little off.
She’s also figured out her Garter star and sash situation, just in time to bestow the Garter on Albert.
Lots of afternoon tiaras happening here. Everybody watches Victoria and Albert sit next to each other and whisper to each other about honeymoons and the obligations of heads of state. Romantic! And then Albert gets bent out of shape because Victoria and Melbourne have picked a private secretary for him, which, yeah, I’m with Albert on this one.
Here’s Harriet, wearing a tiara and humoring Ernst.
And here’s the Duchess of Kent in her tiara. This view shows that it’s definitely a version of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which wasn’t made until 1893! Oops! (Keep your eyes peeled — there’s one more anachronistic GGBI sighting in this episode…)
Victoria runs dramatically out of the palace to talk to Albert about their money issues. Hilariously, all of the atmospheric mist in the background is … a random gardener burning leaves constantly. Give that man an award!
This is Albert’s “WTF!” face when Victoria asks him if he wants more money so that he can keep a mistress. He explains that he just wants a little independence.
They understand each other, and then they canoodle. Note the combs in Victoria’s hair — they look a little like crowns.
On the morning of the wedding, Lehzen proves that she is a time traveler! She’s jumped in her time machine, traveled to 1893, stolen the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, chopped it in half, hurried back with it to 1840, and attempted to put it on Queen Victoria’s head for her wedding. Cheeky! Victoria, sensible of historical reality, orders the diamonds to be taken away and replaced with flowers.
Wedding time. Victoria and Albert’s real wedding took place in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace, which is basically just a room, not a grand church. I’m sort of concerned that this production doesn’t know the difference between the Chapel Royal and St. George’s Chapel. The show even used the phrase “Chapel Royal” multiple times in this episode. I am perplexed.
The Duchess of Kent is wearing a forehead tiara, no surprise there. I think her corsage ornament is actually a pretty nice nod to era-appropriate jewelry.
Also: check out Uncle Leopold wearing the Windsor Uniform in the background! OMG, maybe they really did confuse their chapels!
Here’s a look at the production’s attempt to replicate Queen Victoria’s wedding jewelry. The basics are right: diamond pendant earrings, diamond necklace, and the Albert Brooch. But the scale on the brooch is all off, and the design of the necklace and earrings isn’t even close. Sometimes I think that productions are afraid to make the jewels too big, because they won’t look real. But that’s the problem: lots of royal jewelry is way bigger than anything most of us would ever wear.
Like Uncle Leopold, Lord M is also in the Windsor Uniform. He really did carry the Sword of State at the wedding in real life.
Victoria and Albert get married, and pretty much everyone is happy, although Lord M broods a bit.
After the wedding, Melbourne and Emma Portman talk about what he’s going to do now; he says he’s heading back to Brocket Hall. Later, he kisses the bride goodbye. In reality, Melbourne did cease to serve as Victoria’s private secretary after the wedding (Albert basically took over the job during their marriage), but he was still prime minister for another year and a half.
In real life, Queen Victoria had a headache on her wedding night. But Show Victoria is clearly fine, and we fade to black as these two crazy Coburgs get started on their enormous royal family.