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I have to prove my worth every single day, and I cannot do it alone.

Victoria: I know that I am young. And some would say my sex puts me at a disadvantage. But I know my duty, and I assure you, I am ready for the great responsibility that lies before me.
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Produced by ITV and later aired by PBS in the U.S., Victoria is a historical drama following the reign of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at age 18 and onwards.

In 1837, England's William IV died without a legitimate descendant to inherit, leaving the throne to his intelligent and opinionated but sheltered teenaged niece Alexandrina Victoria. As she ascends the throne, she forges an exceptionally close relationship and alliance with Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, and relies on her childhood governess Baroness Lehzen, while her mother's comptroller Sir John Conroy and her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, scheme to control the young queen and, by extension, the British Empire. And then there's the matter of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Victoria's cousin and potential suitor. The young queen must contend with personal and political challenges with little room for error on the world's largest stage.

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The series debuted on Britain's ITV in 2016 and began airing in the U.S. on PBS in 2017 and was renewed for a second series and a Christmas special. A third series aired in 2019 with a fourth series expected to be commissioned.


This series provides examples of:

  • Act of True Love: Although history books generally do not agree on this pointnote , the series portrays Lord Melbourne as in love with Victoria and that Victoria felt likewise. As such, realizing he is a) too old for her and b) the country needs her to marry and produce a proper heir to the throne, on two occasions Lord M makes statements that sacrifice potential happiness for the greater good: when he rejects her marriage proposal and uses the metaphor of rooks mating for life to suggest he cannot marry after the death of his previous wife; and later when he makes a point of telling Prince Albert, indirectly, that he is not going to be a rival for Victoria by way of saying he will soon retire from public service. In this case, given Melbourne's patriotism, his sacrifices are not only acts of true love with regards to Victoria, they are also acts of true love with regards to his country.
  • Adapted Out:
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    • Baron Stockmar, who was a trusted advisor to the Queen in her early years as monarch, and a major figure in her life, is completely absent. As a result, in this telling, Lord M becomes something of a Composite Character of the historical Lord M and Stockmar (with other aspects of Stockmar being distributed among other mentor-like characters such as the Duke of Wellington). Notably, he was also written out of The Young Victoria.
    • Lord M did not cut ties with Victoria after her marriage as abruptly as he does in the series, however he is absent for the second half of Series 1 and most of Series 2 in order to focus on Victoria and Albert. It's not until the bus comes back that we learn Victoria has indeed still kept in touch with him regularly, but off-screen.
    • Victoria's maternal half-siblings Carl and Feodora from her mother's first marriage, who lived with them at Kensington in real life, are neither seen nor mentioned in the first two seasons. This will change with Series 3, in which Feodora is to appear.
    • Princess Alexandrine of Baden, Prince Ernest's wife, whom he married in 1842 (during the time frame of Series 2), is omitted in favour of an ongoing subplot involving his lack of success in finding a wife, his promiscuity, and his forbidden affair with Harriet.
    • If one attempts to match Series 2's chronology with real life, Victoria and Albert have fewer children at the end of the season than they should have.
  • Adult Fear: Finding out not only that your son is being abused by his tutor, but that your sister/sister-in-law whom you left in charge didn't notice anything amiss.
  • All There in the Manual: Daisy Goodwin's novelization of the first four episodes of Series 1 is a pretty straightforward adaptation, but does include additional insight into the sexual frustration Lord M felt with regards to Victoria when he visits a brothel to find a teenage prostitute and imagines she is Victoria - though he does not go through with it, and it also spells out in clear language that Victoria's purpose for visiting Lord M at Brocket Hall was to propose marriage to him, something that is only hinted at on screen and is one aspect of the relationship that is across-the-board not supported by the histories.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Played with, with some female characters - including, at times, Victoria herself - showing progressive attitudes at odds with the stereotype of the Victorian female; for example, in a Series 2 episode set in France, Victoria actively tries to make herself more like the sensual women she encounters there. Others, such as the Duchess of Buccleuch, fit the trope to a T. And also inverted with arguably the most prudish and old-fashioned (morality-wise) character at times being Prince Albert; again using the France episode as an example, he objects vehemently to Victoria "painting her face", among other things.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: For the most part, the only kisses exchanged between Victoria and Lord M are when he kisses her knuckles in greeting, as per custom and protocol. The sole exception is after her wedding to Albert, she gives permission for Lord M to kiss her on the cheek.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Victoria's marital status (or, rather, lack thereof) is an ongoing plot point during the first half of the first series, with references made to previous attempts to marry her off and several suitors being considered - although, as Queen, no one can actually force her to marry and she must be the one to propose. Ultimately, Victoria's marriage to Albert manages to satisfy those who wished to arrange such a marriage while also being a love match.
    • A similar arranged marriage scenario forms a subplot involving Prince Ernest and how this complicates his love affair with Harriet.
    • One episode of Series 2 focuses on the politics surrounding such arranged marriages.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • While Victoria and Melbourne were indeed very close, he was actually forty years her senior. While that us not in itself a disqualifying factor (especially in the 1800s when such an age gap was not unheard of), historical scholarship suggest they shared a father/daughter relationship, rather than the romantic tension portrayed in the series. The only contemporary observer, diarist Charles Greville (who worked for the monarch's Privy Council), claimed outright stated that Victoria's feelings for Melbourne were sexual though she didn't recognize the fact; Greville greatly hated Queen Victoria and vice versa, and Victoria was extremely upset when his gossipy diaries about her were published. There are are only a couple (such as tabloid journalist A.N. Wilson) who depict their relationship as semi-romantic, though even early biographer Elizabeth Longford calls their relationship "one of the platonic romances of history." Victoria's relationship with Lord Melbourne has also been noted among historians for being politically motivated on his part; he instigated both the Lady Flora affair and the Bedchamber Crisis. Even after he had organized the bodily invasion of Flora, he continued to insist to Victoria she was pregnant. Victoria would later write when thinking of Lord Melbourne, ‘1st October, 1842. Wrote & looked over & corrected my old journals, which do not now awake very pleasant feelings. The life I led then was so artificial & superficial, & yet I thought I was happy. Thank God! I now know what real happiness means.’
    • The real Duke of Cumberland left England for Hanover a year before Victoria's coronation and didn't return until the early 1840s.
    • The Lady Flora Hastings affair occurred months after the Coronation, not during it. Some historians have implied that Lord Melbourne was as much to blame for it getting out of hand as Victoria; in the series, the blame falls on Victoria, her judgement being clouded by her paranoia about and dislike of Conroy, and it is characterized as a learning moment for the young queen.
    • Victoria's coronation is substantially truncated from the real event, and also omits some of the more chaotic moments (such as the archbishop putting a ring on the wrong finger; the only suggestion that the event didn't go smoothly is the fact her gown is placed at a slightly awkward angle and appears close to falling off). The crowning also took place more than a year after she ascended the throne (most British coronations take a year or more to arrange after the death of the preceding monarch, which is why Edward VIII was never crowned), whereas the series makes it appear that it took place not long after she became Queen.
    • A major figure in Victoria's early reign, Baron Stockmar, is Adapted Out of the series entirely. In real life, he was King Leopold's physician and acted on his behalf in terms of preparing Victoria to meet Albert and also acted as a mentor to her (in addition to Lord Melbourne). In the series, Stockmar's function is transferred to Leopold himself, and Lord M is depicted as her sole (political) mentor.
    • Historically, Victoria considered her uncle Leopold her "best and kindest advisor", not least for setting up her marriage to Albert, whom unlike in the series she was immediately taken with after meeting him a year before becoming Queen. In the series, Leopold is depicted as manipulative and disliked by Victoria, although ( they finally bond in the final episode of Series 1, though in Series 2 rifts erupt).
    • Edward Oxford's assassination attempt occurred in June 1840 when Victoria was four months pregnant. In the series, it happens shortly before Victoria gives birth to her daughter in November 1840. The episode also indicates that Oxford's pistols were not loaded; in reality, they were.
    • The Duchess of Sutherland's marriage was a happy one. Also, by 1840, she had seven living children. Her husband makes a brief appearance in Series 2 and the fact she has children is mentioned in brief, but her kids are never seen.
    • The show has George Sutherland, Harriet's husband dying from a hunting accident in the 1840s. In real life, he didn't die until 1861, after an illness, at the age of 75.
    • In the second series, the Duchess of Buccleuch, Mistress of the Robes, is played by Dame Diana Rigg, who is in her seventies. The real Lady Charlotte Anne Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch, was in her thirties when she entered Her Majesty's service.
    • The second series has Dash dying at around the same time that the retired Melbourne (apparently) succumbs to his own deterioration. In reality Dash died in 1840 whereas Melbourne died in 1848 (in fact he was still Prime Minister until 1841).
    • Victoria's attitude exhibited during the Irish potato famine is at odds with histories of the period.
    • Similarly, her attitude towards her children is also at odds with the histories that suggest Victoria was rather resentful of them. The first episode of Series 2 does touch on this, but dismisses it as Victoria exhibiting what would today be called postpartum depression.
    • Series 2 strongly suggests that Albert is Leopold's illegitimate son. Although the narrative intentionally leaves the truth of the matter ambiguous, the only historian who notably promoted this idea was David Duff in a 1972 biography, with only circumstantial evidence, and the claim is generally considered to be without merit by historians.
    • The timing and circumstances of Edward Drummond's assassination are changed significantly from real life (although he did die shielding Robert Peel from a bullet), while his same-sex relationship with Lord Alfred Paget is pure fiction.
    • Victoria and Albert have fewer children at the end of Series 2 (the final episode being set in 1846) than they had in real life by this point.
    • Lehzen was dismissed in 1841, which would be near the beginning of Series 2, but the show has her dismissed at the end of Series 2, around 1846. The circumstances are much the same, but the change in chronology means that Princess Victoria is much older. In real life, she was an infant at the time of the incident.
    • Averted with the character of Prince George, who appears in the Series 1 episode "Brocket Hall", as a disinterested suitor for Victoria who is pushed forward by the Duke of Cumberland. It has been pointed out that the Duke of Cumberland's son, Prince George of Cumberland, was blind in Real Life, which is why he wasn't considered a candidate for Victoria's hand by everyone except his father, while Prince George we see here does not have this disability. However, the Duke at one point refers to him as nephew, meaning that this Prince George is Prince George of Cambridge, the son of the Duke of Cumberland's youngest brother, the Duke of Cambridge. George of Cambridge was considered as a potential husband for Victoria, but, as shown in the series, he was not interested in becoming Prince Consort.
    • One of Victoria's suitors is the handsome Russian Grand Duke Alexander, who ends up marrying a Danish princess instead. While Grand Duke Alexander did visit Victoria early in her reign there was never any intention of marriage, for the simple reason that Alexander was the heir to the Russian throne. Furthermore it was Alexander's son who eventually married a Danish princess.
    • The main arc of Series 3 revolves around the antagonistic relationship between Victoria and her half sister, Feodora. The show was much criticized for radically changing what was historically a warm and loving sisterly bond.
    • During the 1854 cholera outbreak, Florence Nightingale is depicted saying that she doesn't believe in miasma theory. In fact, Nightingale was a strong proponent of miasma theory throughout her life. Furthermore, the show has Nightingale reasoning that miasma theory must be false because she hasn't caught cholera from her patients, but that's exactly what miasma theory would predict. It was the opponents of miasma theory, the "contagionists," who believed that disease was spread from person to person. (Of course, we now know that certain diseases are spread from person to person, but it happens that cholera is not one of them.)
    • On that note, the episode with the 1854 cholera outbreak features, as a subplot, the 1847 Cambridge Chancellor election. In the show's universe, both events have apparently been relocated to circa 1848-49.
    • Season 3's "A Coburg Quartet" shows Bertie being examined by a phrenologist, who suggests a link between Bertie's behaviour and King George III's insanity. However, phrenology had already been discredited as pseudoscience for several years, something an annoyed Victoria points out later in the episode.
  • Babies Ever After: The ending scene of Series 1 is Victoria and Albert with their new baby Princess Victoria. The series ends with the happy family beginning their life and all is well between everyone.
  • Back for the Dead: The return of Lord M in Series 2 focuses on his failing health, with his final appearance in the season strongly hinting at his death (though this contradicts history as he survived for several more years).
  • Berserk Button:
  • Before marrying Albert, anything that threatens her companionship with Lord Melbourne, to the extent where Victoria prevents a new government from being formed in a ploy to keep him around, triggering what history calls the Bedchamber Crisis.
  • Question Albert's honour or suggest that he's subservient to the Queen or a yes-man for Prime Minister Peel and he gets angry, at one point punching a wall hard enough to injure himself during Series 2.
  • Cast doubt on Victoria's authority. Just try.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Victoria is such a progressive queen, you have to really provoke her to make her even think of allowing you to be subjected to the cruelest and most unusual punishment in the book, as demonstrated by her initial reaction to an attempt on her life at the end of Series 1.
  • Better the Devil You Know: Discussed several times in "Ladies in Waiting". Melbourne would prefer Victoria take on the Duke of Wellington or Sir Robert Peel as the new Prime Minister. When the possibility of the Duke of Cumberland taking control of Victoria through a regency occurs, the Tories arrange for Melbourne to keep his position, vastly preferring a Whig to the Duke.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Though they push and pull apart for most of episode 4, in the last scene Victoria finally proposes to Albert. After much tension-filled staring, they finally seal their engagement with a kiss. Lit by candles and with romantic music playing, Albert sweeps Victoria off her feet and holds her midair while she leans down to kiss him.
  • Big Fancy House: Victoria is the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace. When she tours it in the first episode, she casually remarks that "Buckingham House" ought to be called a "palace", not a "house," to which Melbourne replies that she may call it whatever she likes.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: At this point in history, many of Europe's royal houses qualified as this, what with all the intermarriages and alliances. Regarding the characters in the series, we have Victoria's mother, who is implied to be involved with her manager Sir John Conroy, who in turn is conspiring with Victoria's uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, to have Victoria disqualified from ruling. Victoria herself only came to the throne because of a succession crisis due to the fact that none of George III's children had surviving heirs, despite a (frankly hilarious) race to find young wives of noble blood in an attempt to have heirs first (though they had plenty of illegitimate offspring). Though not mentioned in the series, King William also despised Victoria's mother, which culminated in an explosive dinner argument where he said that despite his terrible illness he was determined to live just long enough to deny her a regency, and lived up to it.
  • Blue Blood: Aside from the servants, the majority of characters are nobility or royalty, as one might expect. Of note is Victoria's question in the first episode as to how to address a visiting foreign noble from a country in which "prince" is not solely a title reserved for the ruling house.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Series 3 ends with Prince Albert collapsing in front of Victoria.
  • Break the Haughty: In some ways, the beginning of Victoria's reign follows this arc. Though young and naive, Victoria is proudly insistent that she does not need assistance in ruling or carrying out her duties. Following the scandal with Lady Flora Hastings and upon developing a closeness with Melbourne, Victoria slowly begins to realize that a monarch must be humble as well as noble, and begins to accept help. She becomes the haughty again with Albert, only to once again begin to accept help from him. She also begins to accept advice from Leopold and even begins listening to her mother (once Conroy exits the scene, anyway).
  • Bromance: Unexpectedly, Prince Albert and Sir Robert Peel. Although the term itself isn't used, their friendship is referenced in one episode, and not in a positive light, by a political opponent. Series 2 follows this further.
  • Bury Your Gays: Drummond. Although the character was doomed by history, the fact his romance with Alfred was invented for the series makes the trope applicable.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: During her visit to Lord M at Brockett Hall when she attempts to propose marriage and later with Albert when she does propose marriage, it takes Victoria a while to come to the point.
  • Catchphrase: Although there is no actual record of Victoria saying it in real life, the final episode of Series 1 finally lets the Queen utter the immortal words: "We are not amused."
  • The Chains of Commanding: Victoria struggles with her newfound power. Though she genuinely seeks to be a good and fair ruler, she also struggles with the idea that she must be politically impartial, for the most part; even when it comes to people or ideas she feels very strongly about as an individual, she must be seen to be fair as queen.
  • Chocolate of Romance: Chocolate, among other confections, is a major ingredient in Francatelli and Skerrett undergoing a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Coitus Interruptus:
    • Victoria and Albert are walked in on by her old governess Lehzen at the start of episode 6. And again in episode 7. And yet again in episode 1 of the second season.
    • Averted in episode 5 of the second season when Brodie narrowly avoids walking in on Victoria and Albert once again in bed. Amusingly, he'd been led to believe they were arguing just minutes earlier.
  • Composite Character: Lord M incorporates the role of Baron Stockmar, a major figure in the early years of Victoria's reign and a trusted advisor, but who is Adapted Out in this series.
  • Convenient Slow Dance: As Albert asks Victoria to dance, the music conveniently changes from the upbeat Gay Gordons to the slow, intimate waltz. In the PBS version, it is shown this is not just by luck: it is Albert's brother Ernest who has specifically requested it.
  • Costume Drama: Set in an iconic royal court, the show's fashions are as exquisite as one would expect. (To the extent that costumes from the first season were put on display during production of the second.)
  • Crosscast Role: Victoria's male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dash, is played by a female dog (who previously played the same role in the film The Young Victoria).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Some Chartists convicted of treason were sentenced to being hanged, drawn and quartered, the particularly gruesome punishment for this crime. Victoria commutes this into transportation to Australia, viewing it as a barbaric anachronism. Later, the man accused of attempting to assassinate Victoria is threatened with the same punishment, and this time the Queen does not have clemency in mind, though she later agrees to be merciful, especially after being informed the man was insane and fired blanks.
  • Dance of Romance: Victoria begins to fall for Albert after dancing with him at a ball. She even gives him her corsage that was a gift from Lord Melbourne.
  • Danger: Thin Ice: In the Christmas episode, Albert angrily skates on a frozen pond, only for the ice to break beneath him. Victoria helps pull him out of the water, but not before a Dramatic Pause where she fears he is gone for good.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Peel is very stiff and formal around Victoria, and initially doesn't get along at all with her or Albert. Once he befriends Albert over their mutual love of trains, he becomes less stiff and formal with the queen as well, and their relationship improves to the point where, upon indicating the likelihood of having to resign in Series 2, Victoria tells him she'll miss is counsel in much the same way she spoke to Lord M (sans romantic overtones).
    • Albert is very much an "ice king" initially, both in his relationship with Victoria and with people in general, in particular Robert Peel. As Series 1 progresses, he begins to loosen up, even going so far as to enter into a Bromance with Peel.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Victoria to Albert over the course of their brief courtship. She also becomes increasingly friendly with Robert Peel over time.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Naturally, as a period piece there is a lot of this.
    • Victoria is distrusted by even her uncle as a female monarch who is felt to need a man's supervision. Lord Melbourne refers to the Chartist petition for universal suffrage, among other "radical" reforms, as impossible (all are taken for granted now). Even Victoria scoffs at the idea of women having the right to vote. All Truth in Television, of course.
    • Also averted, as Victoria expresses her opposition to capital punishment (or, at least, drawing and quartering), and both she and Albert express their opposition to slavery several times, with Albert becoming a patron of an anti-slavery society.
    • Averted with Lord Melbourne and slavery. While claiming to oppose slavery on the show, historically Lord Melbourne supported it and referred to abolition as a "great folly."
  • Despair Event Horizon: Victoria approaches this several times such as when she thinks Lord M is abandoning her by resigning and when Dash dies as she's coming to terms with the likelihood of Lord M also dying. Albert has his own moment when he is led to believe that Leopold is his real father, casting his legitimacy and that of his children into question.
  • Disappeared Dad: Victoria lost her father when she was only eight months old. She knows if the Duke of Kent had lived she'd never have been subjected to Conroy, and she is seen talking to her father's portrait, telling him she will make him proud.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • The subtle romance between Victoria and Lord M - which, in this version of the story, climaxes with Victoria actually attempting to propose marriage to him and making several oblique Love Confessions regarding him - was always doomed because (regardless of a century of conflicting biographical information as to whether a romance actually existed between them) history shows that Victoria not only married Albert, but he totally replaced Lord M in her affections in every way. That didn't stop some fans from petitioning the show's producers to change history and give Victoria and Melbourne a happy ending.
    • Fans were also upset when Dash meets his maker in Series 2, even though the show actually kept him alive longer than he survived in real life.
    • The same-sex romance between Alfred and Drummond, fictional though it may be, was always destined to be short-lived given the latter's historically established fate.
    • The relationship between Ernest and Harriet is also doomed by history since in real life they never got together.
    • Similarly, if the series runs its projected six-season course, covering Victoria's entire reign, Prince Albert is not destined for a happy ending, either.
  • The Eeyore:
    • After he realizes early on that a relationship with Harriet is impossible, Ernest goes into this mode and pretty much stays there, getting even worse in Series 2 when he contracts an STD that renders a marriage and sexual relationship with Harriet no longer possible.
    • Victoria briefly enters this territory when she realizes that there is no future with Lord M and despairs of ever finding someone who'll live up to him. And then comes Albert.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Some critics of the show playing fast and loose with its Truth in Television credentials, have pointed out that, to be truly realistic, hardly anyone in the show should be depicted as having good teeth, in particular the servants.
  • Evil Uncle: The Duke of Cumberland. He even has a Dr. Evil-like scar (Truth in Television: the Duke had one in real life). Several times in Series 1 he is either shown plotting Victoria's downfall or being accused of conspiring against her. He later comes back in the Christmas special, primarily to act like a jerk over a necklace his family gave Victoria.
  • Forty Niner: At the end of Series 3, Joseph is hoping to become one. He plans to flee to America, and mentions "gold mines in California." The timeline checks out, with this scene taking place in about 1851 and the famous California Gold Rush having lasted from 1848 to 1855.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Closer to four days, as Victoria proposes to Albert five days after his arrival in England. Actually Truth in Television as their courtship was indeed that brief.
  • Freak Out!: Victoria essentially throws a temper tantrum after Lord M tells her he'll have to resign, precipitating the Bedchamber Crisis. (Possibly Truth in Television if the tone of Victoria's real-life diaries of the period are any indication.)
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Everyone is thanking God for Victoria falling pregnant. Her response? "God had nothing to do with it."
    • Victoria is given a bit of "homespun" contraception advice from a confidant. Later in the episode, after making (off-screen) love to her husband, Victoria follows the advice, which involves jumping up and down 10 times for each "event". We hear her count to 10 as she jumps up and down ... and then she does another set of 10 ... and then begins another...
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
  • Ernest is openly jealous of Albert for finding true love with Victoria (not regarding Victoria specifically, who he's happy to just be a friendly cousin with, but just the fact he's found someone whereas Ernest appears stuck in an impossible romance with a married duchess).
  • In Series 2, Alfred is visibly upset when he learns that Drummond is engaged, giving his erstwhile boyfriend the cold shoulder for a while.
  • Series 2 actually has an episode named "The Green-Eyed Monster" dealing with Victoria becoming jealous when Albert becomes fascinated by pioneering female scientist Ada Lovelace.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The Duchess of Kent frequently flip-flops from trying to control and trying to protect her daughter. While she wants the best for her child, she's too loyal to Conroy to recognize that his advice isn't in Victoria's best interests.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • When first introduced, King Leopold is shown to be just as manipulative as Conroy and the Duchess of Kent in trying to force Victoria into marriage and in fact at one point appears to be in the same Evil Uncle category as the Duke of Cumberland. By the end of the first series, however, he's painted in a much more sympathetic light and ultimately has a tender bonding moment with the pregnant Victoria in the finale episode of the first series (which also includes scenes in which he stands up for Victoria opposite Cumberland).
    • Robert Peel is initially introduced as yet another adversary of Victoria's and this distrust only intensifies when he becomes prime minister. However things begin to soften after he befriends Albert and stands up for the request that he be named regent for the heir should Victoria die in childbirth; this warmer relationship continues into Series 2.
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: After Lord M tells her he has to resign, Victoria is seen walking listlessly through a garden in the rain, raising concern from her ladies.
  • Hidden Depths: Penge is one of most consistently unlikable characters in the series. He's also fluent in German (despite a general distaste for all things foreign), an excellent dancer, and staunchly opposed to slavery.
  • Historical Beauty Upgrade:
  • Although it is a myth that Lord Melbourne was ugly (even a 1912 publication of Victoria's diaries commissioned by George V described him as handsome), having him played by a robust actor more than a decade the real man's junior turned him into a romantic heartthrob in this series.
  • Averted with Albert, who was known for his exceptional good looks at the time of his marriagenote  Albert is portrayed by a comparably handsome Tom Hughes. Again, as with Victoria, the earliest photographs that exist of him show a rather portly, balding individual, whereas the series takes place more than a decade before those images were taken.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Lord Melbourne is presented as a romantic hero who opposes slavery; in reality, the real Lord Melbourne supported both slavery and child labour, and was known for his pedophilia.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Duke of Cumberland had a horrible reputation in Real Life, and it was mainly to protect Victoria from him that her mother kept her secluded in Kensington. There were those who wanted to bypass Victoria in favor of Cumberland, however there is no historical evidence that the Duke encouraged this or tried to undermine Victoria as seen in the series - as stated above he was not even in the country for most of her early reign.
  • Hollywood Old:
    • Rufus Sewell was in his late 40s when he was cast as 58-year-old Lord Melbourne.
    • Inverted with Diana Rigg, who plays a character who was, in real life, much younger than the actress.
    • In a more extreme example from Series 3, 40-year-old Laurence Fox plays 64-year-old Lord Palmerston.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Earlier promotions for the series promised this in comparison to previous adaptations of Victoria's life, as it was emphasized how the show would focus on the more "passionate" and "sexual" aspects of Victoria as revealed in her diaries. In actuality, Victoria and Albert were well known for their enthusiastic sex life, going so far as to install a button at Osborne House that would lock their bedroom door from the comfort of their bed. While the series did ramp up the romance more than most previous depictions (and also introduces no less than three additional romances involving supporting characters), it actually manages to remain PG-rated, thereby slightly averting the letter of the trope.
  • How's Your British Accent?: When heading to Scotland by carriage, the German-accented Ernest mimics the English accent of another character. But like most of the main cast, David Oakes, the actor playing Ernest, is English.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: The relationship between Victoria and Lord M is portrayed as a "what could have been" romance which never progresses beyond the platonic. Befitting this (while also reflecting the expected decorum between a queen and her prime minister), neither is allowed to say "I love you" to the other, although Victoria comes close, at one point outright telling Lord M that he has her heart and is "the only companion I could desire."
  • Incurable Cough of Death: In the episode covering the Irish Famine, Dr Robert Trail coughs while dishing out stew to his parishioners. When he's next on screen, it's in a coffin.
  • Innocently Insensitive: In Series 2, Leopold appears to honestly want to comfort Albert after his father dies by revealing to him that Leopold might actually be his real father. This backfires spectacularly with the super-serious prince.
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: Victoria and Albert are a textbook example, both in the show and in real life. Their first child, the Princess Royal, is born just nine months into their marriage. The Prince of Wales is born twelve days before his sister's first birthday.
  • Ironic Echo: After several episodes of Victoria proclaiming either that she has no intention of marrying anyone (a la Queen Elizabeth I), or strongly implying that the older Lord M is the "only companion I could ever desire," she falls for Albert almost immediately upon his arrival and proposes marriage to him within a few days.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Inverted when Albert eagerly shows Victoria a nude painting he has purchased of Hercules being held in bondage by Omphale. It's a beautiful work of art, but Albert makes it very clear that the painting's main purpose is to remind him of his wife...while he lies in the bath.
  • It's Personal: Victoria's initial reaction to an attempt on her life at the end of Series 1 is to advocate that the one responsible be hanged, drawn, and quartered. To be fair to her, she did believe the attack additionally endangered not just Albert but also (rightly so) her unborn child. Once she find out the person was insane and didn't even have a loaded weapon, she immediately relents.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
    • Long-time friends Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes (who became a couple soon before or during production), had previously worked together on the miniseries Dancing on the Edge (though their characters do not interact); in Series 2, Diana Rigg joined the cast; she and Coleman had previously played villain-to-hero in the Doctor Who episode "The Crimson Horror".
    • Tom Hughes and David Oakes portray brothers in Victoria, but earlier in their careers they were lovers in Trinity.
    • Two other Doctor Who-franchise franchise veterans, Eve Myles of Torchwood and Tommy Knight of The Sarah Jane Adventures, who crossed paths in the 2008 Doctor Who crossover episode "The Stolen Earth", shared many scenes together during Series 1.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Conroy, Leopold and the Queen's mother's points regarding the importance of marrying and producing an heir, and seeking guidance from more experienced mentors, is lost on Victoria due to her hatred of Conroy and her mum (less so Leopold), but their views are actually sound, especially since she is the first solo queen regnant the UK has had in centuries in an era where the patriarchy dominated. Similarly, Peel's request for her to reappoint some of her ladies (which leads to the Bedchamber Crisis) is not unreasonable. Albert also comes off as a jerkass initially, but most of his criticisms of Victoria — such as her ignorance of England's rampant poverty — are also valid. As the series goes on, we see Victoria take many of these lessons to heart. This continues into Series 2 when she and Albert frequently butt heads over various issues.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Victoria and Albert were first cousins on her mother's side,and as Albert himself mentions his mother was also related to Victoria's grandmother Queen Charlotte. Due to the large amount of intermarriages among the royal houses of Europe, many royal couples of the era were related to some degree. The script pays lip-service to this by having Lord Melbourne object to the idea briefly.
    • Directly addressed in Series 2 by the King of France to refer to the closeness between his nation and Great Britain. In response, his cousin Victoria proudly smiles at her husband Albert, who is of course also her cousin.
    • In Series 2, an attempt is made to marriage-match Ernest with a cousin, too, but it falls apart.
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Lord Melbourne unintentionally becomes this to Victoria. He also tries hard to avoid her becoming this to him, not completely successfully. At one point, Victoria even states outright that she can't function without him.
    • Revisited in Series 2, coupled with Victoria's dog, Dash, also seen in this role.
    • Baroness Lehzen is all but described as such by Victoria after she finally leaves the palace, with a subplot of the 2017 Christmas special dealing with the emotional fallout over this.
    • If the series makes it far enough, Albert will becomes the ultimate Dead Emotional Crutch: his unexpected early death will turn Victoria into the Widow of Windsor, obsessively mourning her husband for the last 40 years of her life.
  • Love Confession:
    • In Series 3, Albert declares his love to Victoria when they are at the lowest point of their marriage. Later, he declares it again to convince his wife he still loves her despite the trials they have been through.
    • Victoria delivers a very awkward one to Lord M when she goes to visit him at his home, just before attempting to propose marriage, which Lord M stops before she can get the words out.
  • Love Makes You Dumb:
    • A mix of this trope and the non-romantic "Friendship Makes You Dumb" as Victoria refuses to see reason and prevents Peel from forming a government simply because she can't stand to lose a couple of her Ladies of the Bedchamber (whom she considers her friends) and Lord M (whom she considers something more by this point).
    • Her blind love for Albert clouds her judgement at times with regards to the negative opinion generated by having a German prince consort.
    • Her devotion to Lehzen blinds her to the conflicts being within the palace - and potential hazards to Victoria's children - caused by her presence.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: This show had an interesting inversion of this during the courtship between Victoria and Albert: it is the brooding and serious young man, who changes the life of the spirited and cheerful young woman. Albert wants Victoria to become more responsible and a bit less frivolous, and he reminds her of the harsh reality of how her least fortunate subjects have to live (she had previously not really opened her eyes to their situation). But despite a few arguements, there's an obvious attraction between them. And within only a few days, they're engaged to be married.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Addressed directly - with the trope being referred to by name - by Victoria and Albert after she proposes marriage to him. They agree that their union is more accurately a "marriage of inconvenience" for having fallen in love.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Even if you disregard that Victoria is the monarch and Albert is the consort (which would have been awkward enough in the 1840s), they will often play with the gender roles of their time period. Victoria is very dedicated to her duties as the monarch, so she won't allow anybody to doubt her ability to rule the country just because she's a woman. And even though she often wears beautiful gowns and jewelry, she might also wear masculine-looking uniforms if she's doing something more active outdoors. She found it hard to go through her first pregnancy, because it made people just expect her to become more passive, that is, more "feminine". And even after her daughter was born, she was more interested in returning to her work, riding horses and inspecting army troops than in caring about her newborn baby. Not to mention that she's a generally more extroverted person than her husband, which would have been funny to their contemporaries... Albert on the flip side might be good at plenty of traditionally masculine activities, like fencing and hunting and horse-riding. But he still is more brooding and introverted and sensitive than what was the ideal for a man back then, in a huge contrast to his more macho brother Ernst. And he also was way more excited than his wife about having a baby, and he's more likely than her to bond with their children and play with them.
  • May–December Romance: Played up slightly from real life, the relationship between 18-year-old Victoria and 58-year-old Lord M is this, with Lord M clearly falling for Victoria, and Victoria, at one point even preparing to propose marriage to him, something that is strongly implied in the episode and made explicit in the Novelization.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Albert regularly promotes reason over emotion, leading Lord Melbourne to joke with Victoria that Albert does not smile much. But in the last episode of Series 2, he takes out his pent-up rage over his daughter's worsening health, an argument with Victoria, and difficulties with Parliament by punching a wall so hard he bruises his hand.
    • Lord M loses his composure briefly - out of sight of Victoria - when she informs him that she's proposed to Albert.
  • Novelization: Creator Daisy Goodwin adapted the first half of Series 1 as the novel Victoria, focusing on the Victoria-Lord Melbourne relationship (and cranking the Ship Tease aspects Up to Eleven in the process). Note: Goodwin actually began writing the novel before the TV series was commissioned, but it wasn't published until after Series 1 aired.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: Given the build-up given in the series, (Albert, literally, taking notes from an "expert" in how to be good in bed; Victoria being so desiring of Albert she's willing to risk the dangers of pregnancy), Victoria and Albert's apparently prodigious (and, as history shows, productive) lovemaking qualifies for this trope. Lampshaded by Victoria, having been erroneously told that jumping up and down 10 times is an effective method of contraception, is shown doing several sets of 10s before Albert informs her she's wasting her time.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX:
    • Frock Flicks spotted several instances of cast-members wearing modern day commerical jewellery.
    • S3E5 "A Show Of Unity" twice shows Lord Palmerston's coat of arms - first on the wall behind his dining table, then outside on a flag. In both cases the image is likely this one by Rs-nourse. It also counts as Anachronism Stew as it includes the circlet of the Order of the Garter, to which Palmerston was not appointed until his first premiership several years after this episode takes place.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Victoria's mother the Duchess of Kent is not referred to by name, always "Duchess", "Mother", "Sister", "Aunt", etc., doubtless because her name was also Victoria; In the PBS version King Leopold does refer to the Duchess by her given name, Victoire.
    • Even though the Princess Royal is also named Victoria, her family commonly referred to her as Vicky. This is reflected in the series. Similarly, their first son was named Albert, but was always referred to as Bertie.
  • One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title, named after Queen Victoria.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Victoria, who aims towards being a progressive queen for her age, up to and including opposition of hanging, drawing and quartering, shows us how personal things are between her and her would-be assassin when she advocates for his being hanged, drawn and quartered. Only the news that the sanity of the culprit is in question convinces her to relent.
  • Please Don't Leave Me:
    • Victoria all but says this to Albert when they must separate for six weeks before their marriage. In the PBS version this is more explicit: "I don't want you go anywhere without me."
    • Victoria pleads with Albert to let her travel with him to Germany when his father passes. She points out they have not been apart a single night since they married, then implores him "I want to be with you."
    • A variant on this trope. When Lord M informs Victoria after a narrow vote in the House that he will need to resign as Prime Minister, Victoria interprets this as the forced end of their friendship (which is bordering on a relationship in this version of the story). "Do you really mean to forsake me?" she asks him. (Truth in Television: according to her diaries Victoria actually did have a reaction similar to this when Lord M told her he'd have to resign, though the romantic aspect was played up for TV.)
  • Present-Day Past:
    • The episode "Engine of Change" contains two dialogue anachronisms. A character is referred to as a "fan" of the railway; although the term "fanatic" was in use to refer to devotees, the shortened form "fan" didn't come into wide use until Americans started using it in the late 19th century, several decades after the episode. Later, the phrase "just sayin'" is uttered, even though its use in this specific context wasn't popularized until the last couple of decades (reportedly, Downton Abbey also features this phrase anachronistically).
    • The final episode of Series 2 takes place in 1846, yet Prince Ernest plays the "Bridal Chorus" (a.k.a. "Here Comes the Bride"), which isn't composed until 1850. And he also talks about how it has become popular with weddings, something that doesn't happen until 1858 when it was played at the wedding of Victoria's eldest daughter.
  • Protagonist Title: Named after Queen Victoria. Also a One-Word Title.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Albert falls in love with the concept of the railroad, to the point where it actually leads to his and Victoria's first (on-screen) argument.
  • Reaction Shot: Lord M's delayed reaction to Victoria informing him of her engagement to Albert, which hits him harder than he expects.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • One criticism levelled at the series is the speed at which Victoria and Albert fall in love, with their entire courtship from his arrival to the marriage proposal covered in a single 45-minute episode. Although Victoria and Albert had met once previously in real life, their courtship and Victoria's decision to marry him did in fact take place over the course of only five days. Similarly, Victoria's back-to-back pregnancies are also a matter of historic record.
    • While a relationship-bordering-on-romance between 18/19-year old Victoria and near 60-year-old Lord M is enhanced a bit for TV (having a much-younger actor playing Lord M helps, historians generally regarded the relationship as father-daughter (Weintraub, Longford, Hibbert, Hough, Woodham-Smith, Plowden, Macdonald) and Victoria herself frequently refers to him as such. Historians also generally note the political motivation behind Lord Melbourne, who instigated both the Lady Flora affair and Bedchamber Crisis, insisting to Victoria even after Flora's bodily invasion she was pregnant (this is contrary to the TV show, which shows Melbourne as cautioning Victoria about her claims.) Although such May-December Romances are often frowned upon in the modern era, especially when celebrities are involved, in Victoria's time it was not uncommon for people with such wide ranges in age to marry. Indeed, several histories chronicle a mad dash by 50-something relations of George III and William IV to marry and have male children by, in some cases, very young women in order to secure their place in the line of succession when it became clear that there would be no direct male heir to the current monarch (with the Duke of Kent, Victoria's father, the winner). However, marriage between the Queen and a non-royal would have never been allowed in those days, making Victoria's attempted marriage proposal on Lord M unlikely to have succeeded (although the series did establish that Victoria was considering maintaining a non-married relationship, with unambiguous comparisons made to the unmarried Elizabeth I's relationship to the Earl of Leicester; the series also touched on why taking the attitude "I'm the monarch, I make the rules" was not realistic). A dissenter of the idea it was not a romance is Daily Mail journalist A.N. Wilson, though Elizabeth Longford is often misquoted as calling the relationship as a romance when in fact she called it "one of the great platonic love stories of history.' Whatever the case, Victoria would later write after Melbourne was no longer her PM, "1st October, 1842. Wrote & looked over & corrected my old journals, which do not now awake very pleasant feelings. The life I led then was so artificial & superficial, & yet I thought I was happy. Thank God! I now know what real happiness means."
    • Although some elements were fictionalized for the 2017 Christmas special, Victoria actually did, for a time, take a freed slave girl from Africa into her household as her goddaughter.
    • Dismissed by some fans as a joke, Albert really did invent an armored parasol for Victoria to use to shield herself from assassination attempts.
    • The depiction of the Duke of Cumberland (later King of Hanover) has been criticized as being almost a stereotypical villain, but he actually did sport a rather large scar on his face, and some historians do allege that he may have plotted to kill Victoria to prevent her from taking the throne (a rumour referenced in the show itself).
    • The scene in Series 1 showing Victoria taking a bath in a nightdress was scoffed at by some as the series trying too hard to be family-friendly. In reality, bathing while partially clothed was a thing back in Victoria's time.
    • A scene in the 2017 Christmas special involving Albert falling through river ice while skating and Victoria leaping to his aid to try and rescue him was dismissed as melodramatic by some, but it was based on accounts of an actual accident involving Albert and Victoria (only it happened a few years earlier than depicted in the show).
  • Rejecting the Inheritance: One of the maids rejects the inheritance she has been left by an American family member after she discovers that the inheritance is a number of slaves to be sold. She gives them their freedom papers instead of taking the cash value of the slaves.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Having been Adapted Out of the first two series, it comes off as this trope when Princess Feodora is introduced in Series 3.
  • Renaissance Man: Albert, on the show as in real life, is shown to be intelligent and educated in many fields. He is up-to-date on the latest (for the 19th century) research on expectant mothers, reads Karl Marx, invents a parasol that doubles as protection against would-be assassins, makes jokes about pi with some of the top mathematicians of the age, is the driving force behind the Great Exhibition of 1851, composes music for his daughter's christening, and even moonlights as a jewelry designer.
  • Romantic Runner-Up:
    • Lord Melbourne, once Prince Albert wins Victoria's heart in record time.
    • One episode in Series 1 depicts several failed attempts at wooing Victoria by European royals (none of whom appear keen on the idea anyway).
    • Ernest finds himself in this position at least, initially with regards to the married Harriet.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Most of the schemers trying to gain power insinuate that Victoria is losing her grip on reality. It doesn't help that her grandfather's insanity is fresh in the people's minds.
    • Victoria's somewhat over-the-top reaction to Lord M's resignation also concerns those close to her. Her overreaction to rats showing up in the palace leads those who want a regency established to question her sanity. In reality, Victoria is simply showing signs of built-up stress due to being thrust into power at such a young age.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: After Penge understands that Brodie had better luck with romance than he ever did, he goes up to the Duke of Monmouth, who had Sophie institutionalized the previous episode, and flat-out tells him that loyalty is something to be earned, not bought.
  • Sentenced to Down Under: Early in the series, when Queen Victoria hears some rabblerousers are to be hanged, drawn and quartered, she's quick to order their sentences commuted to transportation. This is repeated several times by her as an alternative to the death penalty. Truth in Television: according to biographies, Victoria was usually against the death penalty and it is recorded that the very first death warrant she was given to sign ended up becoming a reprieve when the Duke of Wellington told her he was not sure if the soldier condemned for desertion was a bad man or not.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Prince Ernest, the Duchess of Kent, and King Leopold spend much of their time actively pushing Victoria and Albert together. Ernest even makes excuses to leave the two lovebirds alone together.
    • Lady Portman is totally into the idea of Lord M and Victoria, at one point even encouraging Lord M to dance with the young queen. She later offers Lord M a sympathetic word or two, and ear, when reality sets in.
    • Averted by Brodie, who exhibits an unexpected and very negative reaction to the idea of Francatelli wooing Skerret (this is only seen in the PBS broadcast; these scenes are edited out of the ITV version). The reasons for his objection are never actually made clear and he has no further issue in Series 2.
    • Retroactively, upon the death of Drummond, we learn that the Duchess of Buccleuch was secretly supportive (or, at least, understanding) of his relationship with Alfred. She later gently advocates for Alfred and Wilhelmina to get together (given that the two had bonded, with Wilhelmina being understanding of the earlier relationship).
    • Real-world examples: Series creator and writer Daisy Goodwin has made no secret that she is a Victoria-Lord M shipper (contributing to the fact her novelisation of Series 1 only covers the Lord M "romance" arc). Likewise, star Jenna Coleman has positively gushed over Victoria and Albert, claiming "it's like there was never another made for one another" and that they are "yin and yang."
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Due to its doomed by history nature, the arrival of Prince Albert is the iceberg hitting the Victoria x Lord M "Titanic" and her marriage proposal to Albert and subsequent marriage is the "Vicbourne" ship sinking beneath the waves, never to be rescued.
    • Two other "sunk by history" ships in the series are Ernest and Harriet and Alfred and Drummond, with the Alfred and Drummond ship not just sunk but destroyed when Drummond is Killed Off for Real.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Lady Palmerston is sweetness and flowers and all of that good stuff, but she declares that her husband will be Prime Minister one day. Now, if you know your history, she is going to succeed as Palmerston does become Prime Minister, so one wonders just what steel she has inside her.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Fleeing the Revolutions of 1848, Princess Feodora moves into Buckingham Palace for the duration of Series 3, much to Victoria's chagrin. None of this is historically accurate, by the way.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Well, he's on the right track, at least:
    Bertie: Why has everyone got white hair?
    Vicky: Because it's what they wore in the Georgian times.
    Bertie: What's a "Georgian time?"
    Vicky: It's when all the kings were called "George."
    Bertie: So when I'm king, it will be a... Bertian time.
  • Truth in Television:
    • Beyond the usual amount of fictionalization and rearranging of events that is inevitable in any biographical production, of particular debate among some fans is the veracity of the romanticizing of the Lord Melbourne-Victoria relationship. In the series, the much-older Lord M clearly falls for the young queen, and Victoria becomes so dependent upon Lord M that she prevents a new government from being formed in order to get him back as Prime Minister and, later, travels to visit him alone at his family home with the intent to propose marriage. Academic scholarship (Wientraub, Longford, Hibbert, Hough, Woodham-Smith, Plowden, Macdonald)generally regard Victoria's relationship with Lord Melbourne as fatherly-daughter, as Victoria calls him in her diaries frequently. The Daily Mail journalist A.N. Wilson in his biography of Victoria (which the show is partly based on) claims Victoria and Lord Melbourne were more than father-daughter, but this is not the consensus among actual academicians. The fact it was for a time an Intergenerational Friendship, with Victoria's diaries continually referring to the two discussing personal interests and things as mundane as hairstyles and looking at paintings together, is not denied by anyone. Victoria's diaries after 1840 are available in almost complete form, and Charles Greville - who called Victoria's relationship with Victoria sexual - actively hated Victoria, who was distressed when his gossipy and often inaccurate diaries about her was released. Whatever the case, it is interesting to note her feelings only a couple years after marrying Albert: "The next day she (Victoria) pulled down some of her old diaries, perhaps to recall Lezhen’s part of her life, and came to a passage in 1839 where she had written of her ‘happiness’ with Melbourne. Now, with both Melbourne and Lezhen gone she noted ‘1st October, 1842. Wrote & looked over & corrected my old journals, which do not now awake very pleasant feelings. The life I led then was so artificial & superficial, & yet I thought I was happy. Thank God! I now know what real happiness means." (Uncrowned King: The Life of Prince Albert By Stanley Weintraub)
    • Some viewers and critics complained that, after several episodes of relatively slow build-up of the Lord M-Victoria "romance" (covering a period of about two years) that it felt unrealistic and rushed to see Victoria and Albert fall for each other, with her proposing marriage to him, so quickly (literally over the course of a single 45-minute episode and "in-universe" only a few days). In truth, that's exactly what did happen, with Victoria's proposal occurring mere days after she and Albert were reunited (they had met on one or two occasions previously and had exchanged letters). The subsequent disappearance of Lord M from the narrative after the wedding is inaccurate as he continued to meet with Victoria regularly as Prime Minister until 1841. (This is rectified in Series 2 in which not only does Lord M briefly return, but it is stated in dialogue that he and Victoria had kept in touch, just off-screen.)
    • Series 2 came under fire by some fans and historians for taking liberties with historical events such as the Irish Potato Famine and Victoria's attitude towards it (with some claiming the history books show Victoria was far less sympathetic and heroic than the series made her out to be). The creation of a fictional same-sex relationship and the decision to keep one character ( Dash) alive several years longer than he lived in real life, while apparently killing off another ( Lord M) several years ahead of schedule, also attracted some controversy.
  • Victorian London: Aside from the obvious connection, the series frequently depicts the squalor and unrest beyond the opulent gates of Buckingham Palace.

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