"VICTORIA, Season Two" — PBS, Sunday, Jan. 14, 8 p.m. MST
It's a great time for Anglophiles obsessed with the British monarchy. Prince Harry is engaged to American Meghan Markle, the second seasonof "The Crown" has again been nominated for several Golden Globes — and now the second season of "Victoria" is premiering on PBS.
The first season of Masterpiece's "Victoria" had more than 16 million viewers, making it second only to "Downton Abbey" on PBS, according to a news release from the station. The third season has already been announced and the second season finished airing in England. Now, finally, American fans get to enjoy the next seven episodes in this dramatized saga of Queen Victoria's life written by best-selling novelist Daisy Goodwin.
To help you prepare, here's a recap of what you might have forgotten from the last season, some details on how historically accurate it was and what to expect for season two.
After her uncle King William died, a teenage girl with little to no experience became the ruling monarch of the United Kingdom, and a lot of people, including her mother, thought they could take advantage of that.
The prime minister, Lord Melbourne, became her close confidant, and the show portrays them falling in love before Lord Melbourne insists Queen Victoria find a more suitable husband. In real life, Lord Melbourne was 40 years older than the young queen and not nearly as good-looking as Rufus Sewell. English historian Jane Ridley told The Telegraph that in the queen's very frank journals from this time, she never mentioned that she was in love with Lord Melbourne nor wanted to marry him.
The show portrays Victoria as initially finding Albert annoying, but the reality is, she fell in love with him at first sight, Ridley told the Daily Mail. But who can fault a TV show for adding in some drama?
Actors Tom Hughes and Jenna Coleman are dating in real life, so their chemistry on the show is alive and real as they portray Victoria and Albert's courtship, engagement and marriage. Victoria, as queen, had to be the one to propose to Albert, but the match wasn't entirely without controversy. Albert's German upbringing and heritage gave many members of parliament and Victoria's family pause, especially when Victoria fought to give him rights and name him as her successor should she die — a risk that became more real after an assassination attempt by Edward Oxford, who was afterward declared insane.
Despite some reluctance and fears on young Queen Victoria's part, she gives birth to a baby girl who she names Victoria, ensuring an heir. Coleman shows the queen's impatience with pregnancy and reluctance to nurse her children. The show portrays a wet-nurse being selected and giving up caring for her child to care for the queen's. This may foreshadow how little Queen Victoria enjoyed babies and mothering, despite going on to have nine children.
Coleman told Express that it was expected that Prince Albert would take over after his wife had her first child, but Queen Victoria fought against that and "in the first years of their marriage that caused a lot of strife."
This season will also portray the birth of Queen Victoria's second child, future King Edward VII, and an "unexpected grief" for the young mother, according to PBS.
The Anglo-Afghan War unfolds and Prince Albert tries to hide news about the British soldiers in Afghanistan from the queen. The potato famine devastates Ireland and Queen Victoria fights to help them despite unexpected backlash from parliament. Finally, the queen decides to get more involved in foreign relations with a visit to King Louis Philippe of France.
It's yet to be seen if these portrayals will be accurate, but the show has made Victoria look more charitable toward the poor than she might have been in real life. In season one, she's shown intervening to pardon the Newport Chartists who are to be drawn and quartered when in real life a nationwide campaign changed the sentencing, according to Time.
Episode one will show the queen getting jealous as Prince Albert develops a friendship with Ada Lovelace, daughter of the famous Romantic-era poet Lord Byron. Albert will continue to be enthralled by new inventions, including the mechanical calculator, the electrical telegraph and the dangerous Thames Tunnel.
Victoria and Albert will also take a romantic getaway to the Scottish Highlands.