“Never mind, Duchess; not all of your arrows miss their target.” – Prince Ernest
This is the fifth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.
Whew – what an episode! Notably, this was the first episode without Melbourne. (Why have you forsaken us, Lord M?!) But the storyline was solid, and I made it through the episode without too much heartache.
“The Queen’s Husband” covered Victoria and Albert’s blossoming relationship and Albert’s quest for a bit of independence. This was my second favorite episode so far – so much excitement packed into the hour. (Missed the episode? Watch online now.)
Much more than just “The Queen’s Husband”
This episode was all about personal victories. Victoria had to spend a lot of time fighting to make Albert her designated dinner escort. Was that too much to ask, really? If you’re going to cling to an arm, it might as well be your husband’s.
Susannah adds: If Uncle Silly-Hat Sussex is going to get all crankycaps about the line of succession just because she doesn’t want him to escort her to dinner, he’s got another thing coming.
With that battle won, finally, Albert tells Victoria: “I think that was your victory.” Albert has a victory of his own, and just in time: his anti-slavery work.
Victoria declines to open the anti-slavery meeting at Exeter Hall; Albert, who is obviously incredibly passionate about the cause, jumps at the chance to open. All of Albert’s little nervous moments when he’s practicing for his speech – in English! – were pretty adorable.
Susannah: I was also gratified to see Anson so willing to help his boss. I’m glad that Victoria’s not the only one trying to help Albert fit in. He’s such a nice chap! I hope he sticks around England for a while.
After showing up “incognito,” Victoria decides not to enter the meeting after all … even though Albert really wanted her there.
(Side note: Veils aren’t quite as powerful as you think, Victoria.)
After Victoria headed back to the palace, I was worried that Albert would be too nervous to deliver his speech, but au contraire. He rocked it.
A sample of the real Prince Albert’s actual speech from the meeting (it really was well done!):
I deeply regret that the benevolent and persevering exertions of England to abolish the atrocious traffic in human beings have not led to a satisfactory conclusion. I sincerely trust that this great county, will not relax in its efforts until it has finally and forever put an end to that state of things so repugnant to the principles of Christianity and to the best feelings of our nature….
—Liberator, June 26, 1840, p. 3
By today’s standards, Victoria and Albert really didn’t spend much time getting to know each other before tying the knot. Sure, they knew each other their whole lives… but not as romantic interests.
When the young couple returns from their rather short, three-day honeymoon, then, it’s not surprising that a few conflicts arise.
In the very beginning of the episode, we learn that Albert is ready to start a family, and is optimistic that both he and Victoria will make wonderful parents.
(My only disappointment in this scene was the absence of the “Muffin Man” song. Susannah’s husband actually yelled at the TV: “You DON’T know the Muffin Man??”)
Victoria is hesitant, to say the least. First of all, childbirth was a nasty business in these days. On top of a myriad of other problems that could arise, death was a serious concern – just look at what happened to Uncle Leopold’s poor Charlotte, resulting in Victoria’s own accession to the throne.
Second, Victoria is content living life with just Albert by her side and feels no need to have children immediately. And last – at least in my opinion – Victoria’s own relationship with her mother has made her hesitant to embrace motherhood for herself.
Despite Victoria’s strong feelings, life is going to throw her some curveballs. Case in point: PBS’ own description for the next episode says that Victoria is pregnant.
We’ve already established that some pretty terrible advice is being thrown around (*ahem*, Uncle Leopold, I’m looking at you). The theme continued in this episode. When Albert caught Victoria counting to 10, the cat was abruptly let out of the bag regarding Victoria’s feelings on children.
But if we know these two lovebirds, they won’t change their ways.
Prince Ernest gets into some trouble.
Wow; I thought Ernest got pretty flirty with the already-married Duchess of Sutherland during last week’s episode, but things clearly escalated this week. It started with Ernest using the classic, “here, let me show you how to use [insert object she’s already using]” trick, and ended with the Duchess purposely dropping her handkerchief.
While the Duchess might have thought it was harmless flirtation (or just wanted to believe that), Ernest was falling fast.
In the end, Ernest returns to Coburg before the two get into hot water, and we are forced to say goodbye to Victoria’s upstairs bad boy, one of the show’s most entertaining characters.
A few gems from this episode:
Victoria writer/creator Daisy Goodwin makes a cameo.
Lady Cecilia, the wife of the Duke of Sussex, was portrayed by Daisy Goodwin herself!
Want more from Daisy Goodwin? In the latest podcast from Masterpiece, Goodwin shares her inspiration for the series.
Francatelli and Skerrett finally warm my heart.
For all my complaining about Francatelli (the downstairs bad boy, obviously), I finally developed a soft spot for him in this episode. He literally risked his life to do a favor for Skerrett, and all he asked for in return was her first name. And then he left that delicate frosting “N” on her pillow! Awww.
Cool facts about the characters: Skerrett’s character is based on the real-life Marianne Skerrett, who served as the Queen’s dresser of 25 years; Francatelli is based on the real-life Charles Francatelli, one of the first celebrity chefs.
Ernest drew the Duchess’ portrait, and Victoria is seen painting a portrait of Albert in another scene. Eat your heart out, Jack.
And dogs wearing portraits!
Susannah: Who else thinks we need more doggie portrait jewelry?
I do. 100 percent!
Albert: The king of piano playing.
Okay, technically he’s the prince of piano playing. This episode had Albert playing the piano left and right. Gotta love a man with a hobby!
Susannah: With all that free time, Albert’s piano playing is going to improve like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
And speaking of music: if you’re loving the series’ original music, you can listen to the soundtrack for free on Spotify!
I’ll be back next week to talk about Episode 6, “The Engine of Change,” which follows Victoria as she’s forced to choose a regent in case she dies in childbirth.
Until then, what was your favorite part of this week’s episode? Comment below!