Friday, 18 November 2016

Victoria: Engine of Change

"The Queen has requested a dish of bacon and peas."

Vicky is the Queen, and thus has privileges; personal performances by no less a personage than Georg Friedrich Handel, for example. But she has no exemptions from the experiences of pregnancy, and the first part of this episode charts the general realisation that pregnant she certainly is. Albert is lovingly overjoyed, but she is justifiably afraid; the precedent of Princess Charlotte is not an encouraging one.

Lord M may still be PM, just about, but the focus now moves to Sir Robert Peel, for he is the future; Albert likes him. The Queen is still unconvinced. This difference of views is echoed by their respective views of the railways, also the future, and a trip to a staunchly anti-progress Tory household in Staffordshire sees all this play out. Peel and the railways are, of course, aligned, with Albert being tempted from a lonely Vicky's bedside to play trains.

Annoyingly, Vicky must appoint a regent in case she should suffer Charlotte's fate; her choice of Albert is not popular with the many anti-Europeans in Parliament (they're just as uncaring of the country's true interests today), but supporting her allows Peel to curry her favour, and perhaps we can see the beginnings of a thaw.

Meanwhile there's a rather sweet romance going on downstairs involving decadent helpings of chocolate, and Vicky gets her own invigorating train ride. As ever this is history brilliantly sculpted into the shape of drama, and Coleman is deeply likeable as always.

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