Monday, 12 September 2016
Victoria: Ladies in Waiting
"Spreading through the palace like a miasma of corruption..."
This episode Victoria learns the hard way that she has constitutional duties, Lord M will not be prime minister forever and that her ministers must sometimes be Tories as well as Whigs, and she must show no bias towards the man who may be moving from father figure to something else. All while still in her teens. And in the background lurks Conroy, plotting to impose a regency.
Sir Robert Peel's Tories don't come across here- they come close to bringing the Whig government down on the issue of slavery- but they are a fact, as they are today in our increasingly scary future, adrift, friendless and alone in a sea of tariffs and contempt. But I digress.
Below stairs, meanwhile, a metaphor for reform is played out as the attempt to introduce gas lighting uncovers a rat problem which in turn threatens to assist those who wish to label our eat-phobic queen as mad, like her famous America-mislay img grandfather, and this undercurrent provides a great deal of tension throughout. Elsewhere, Miss Skerritt's past in the "nunnery" is uncovered.
All is well in the end; there is no serious doubt as to Victoria's sanity, and a piece of parliamentary skulduggery (in real life Peel, an ambitious man, was reluctant to become PM without a solid majority) keeps Melbourne in post, for now. But has young Vicky learned her lesson?