Before Victoria can have an era named after her, she has to be a girl.
She is a princess, of course. But she isn’t very happy about it. She thinks of her home as little more than a luxurious prison. And she’s probably right. Her every move—from the books she reads to the simple act of walking up or down the palace staircases—is chaperoned and managed.
Since she’s the sole heir to the English monarchy, movers and shakers inside and outside the court grapple to gain some kind of hold on her. Chief among these is her own mother, the Duchess of Kent. She and her unctuous adviser, John Conroy, go so far as to pressure Victoria to sign a letter of regency that will give them more control.
Then there’s the young girl’s uncle, King Leopold of Belgium. He wants his share of the lucrative power pie as well. So he starts grooming his nephew Albert to win Victoria’s heart.
The only one without a big plan when it’s time to take the throne is 18-year-old Victoria herself. She feels out of her depth, without a clue as to whom she can truly rely. While playing a game of chess with visiting prince Albert, she lets down her guard and admits that she feels tossed about like a pawn by the powers that be. Albert softens and whispers back, "Then you had better master the rules of the game till you can play it better than they do."
The political struggles continue, but that private and intimate conversation opens the door for friendship. And with time, love.
Although Albert was groomed as a suitor for political purposes, he is quite disarmed by Victoria when he meets her. And he determines that he will not work against her, staying loyal and true to her. During difficult times he tells Victoria not to lose faith in herself or in her people. And he puts his life on the line for her, taking an assassin’s bullet that was meant for the young queen.
The two eventually marry and are a devoted pair. When Victoria reveals that she is with child, Albert falls to his knees and kisses her stomach. He also encourages Victoria to follow through on her desire to champion the underprivileged.
Victoria’s private secretary, Lord Melbourne, has a political ax to grind, but its edge is dulled by Albert’s loyalty and devotion. Melbourne ends up admitting his own failings and encourages the queen to listen to her husband’s advice.
Several people call upon God’s blessing for their new queen, saying such things as, "God save the queen," "God help her and keep her safe from harm" and "God bless you, your majesty."
Victoria says, "I prayed for the strength to meet my destiny." The pretty royal wears a cross around her neck.
Several women, including Victoria, reveal cleavage while wearing gowns or nightgowns. After Victoria and Albert are married they’re shown in bed, dressed in nightgowns, kissing amorously. (We see them again after they’ve consummated their love.) The two come in from outside and begin unbuttoning each other’s wet clothes. (They only get to a few buttons each before the camera turns away.) Albert takes off his wife’s stocking.
Classic marble sculptures and period paintings reveal nudity.
A man shoots at Victoria and Albert shields her, taking the bullet. We then see Albert being carried into Buckingham Palace with his shirt drenched in blood.
Another man breaks into the palace gardens and smashes a window.
During a heated moment, John Conroy grabs Victoria by the shoulders and throws her forcibly down on a couch, demanding that she sign the letter of regency. When she refuses, the angry man kicks her dog. He later kicks a chair across the room and smashes a glass in frustration.
Crude or Profane Language
One "d‑‑n." One misuse of God’s name.
Drug and Alcohol Content
King Leopold smokes a cigar. Many diners drink alcohol at court dinners. During one such event, King William gets quite drunk. John Conroy drinks in moments of stress.
Other Negative Elements
Lord Melbourne looks at the "common" people with disdain and encourages Victoria to turn away from wanting to help them. When she opines that such a spirit is at odds with the church’s teachings, Melbourne says that’s why he refuses to go there. An intoxicated King William rails in public against the Duchess of Kent.
The Young Victoria is a classically lush BBC-style period drama, taking viewers through a romantic history lesson that’s both beautiful and involving.
And it occurs to me that the genre is so well established that I can quite literally conclude this review with just that.