Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Victoria: An Ordinary Woman

"We've been replaced, Lord Melbourne."

"That's as it should be."

Getting hitched is, sadly, always a political act for a monarch, especially if one's spouse is a German prince. What should his title be? Certainly not "King Consort" says the House of Commons. What should his allowance be? Not as much as the amount King Leopold I of Belgium is getting, says Sir Robert Peel. And what, in fact, should he do as opposed to be? All of this is gendered, of course; none of these issues would be so vexed for a female consort to a king with her uncomplicated title of "queen". Here, in Victoria and Albert, we have a situation where the male appears to be oppressed somewhat by the patriarchy.

Albert is, of course, a clever and principled man; he needs to define a role beyond shagging the queen. He needs an income of his own. Vicky, meanwhile, is anxious lest he find himself a mistress as her uncles tend to do. And the Duke of Wellington makes mischievous Tory noises asking how we can be sure that Albert isn't (shock horror) a Catholic.

Still, it's cute that Albert makes use of a prostitute before the wedding, but only to ask her for sex tips.   The couple are, in the end, married, and we end with a discreet sex scene, although not before Vicky says goodbye to her faithful Lord M. Another well-produced if stylistically conventional episode of period drama.

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