Mon
Aug 28 2017 10:00am

A Mother and a Queen: Victoria 2x01 Vicbert Heart-to-Heart

Victoria Series 2, Episode 1

Long live the Queen! Queen Victoria is one of Great Britain's most well-known monarchs, and she's well known in the romance community for the great love she shared with her husband Prince Albert. The episodes are now airing in the U.S. on PBS Masterpiece, so we're sharing the recaps from the U.K. run in Fall 2017. If you want to get spoiled for what's next, you can click over to the next episode, or check out all of the H&H coverage for the entire season of Victoria on PBS. 

Victoria is back with a bang! The first series ended with Victoria & Albert happy in their little love bubble after welcoming their baby to the world. We pick up only a matter of weeks later, with the couple struggling to adjust to being a family with very different obligations compared to others in their situation.

Constant Interference

Following the birth of her daughter, Victoria is struggling with the expectation placed on her as a mother, and is experiencing a loss of identity as those around her are attempting delay her return to her constitutional position.  Feeling isolated and alienated by her experience, while her beloved Albert is simply trying to give his wife time to adjust to motherhood, she unfortunately perceives his attempts to shield her (particularly from the military situation unfolding in Afghanistan) as stifling interference.  This puts massive pressure on their relationship, as he sees his actions as being for her benefit, while she views them as nothing but undermining her position.

Victoria strongly believes she isn’t defined by the baby, wishing to continue life as normal, but finds herself bound by the stuffy traditions of the establishment.  Keen to go riding with her husband, she is blocked by Sir Robert and his private secretary, who inform her she can’t be seen in public until she has been ‘Churched’–a custom to purify women after childbirth.  Victoria thinks this unnecessary, but goes through the motions to escape her confinement.  She further illustrates her disdain by preparing to leave the church before the Arch Bishop has even completed his sermon, much to Albert’s amusement. 

Giddy from her liberation, Victoria & Albert share a brief romantic moment, only to be interrupted by Lehzen bringing the baby.  Victoria is frustrated, whilst Albert is happy to see his daughter, highlighting the widening gap as they struggle to find balance.  It’s a theme continuing throughout the episode, leaving the viewer wondering when they might regain their harmony.  

As her in-laws arrive ahead of Princess Victoria’s christening, the waters get even more choppy for Victoria.  King Leopold and the Duke of Coburg suggest Victoria should be focussing on producing more children, and for Albert to take over her duties, but they’re met with short shrift.  The elder royals have conveniently forgotten Lord Conroy’s failed attempts to control the Queen, and only succeed in irritating her further.  Albert laments the changes in his wife to his brother, particularly his desire to protect her time with the baby, but Ernest provides some much-needed perspective, helping him understand how his actions may have been interpreted by Victoria.

 
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Back in the Driving Seat

Easing back into her ‘day job’, Victoria finds herself constrained by what Albert feels she needs to know, versus what she feels she should know.  They clash more and more over things such as his suggestions to reform the army in terms of recruitment and uniform, and the military situation in Kabul.

Victoria reaches her tipping point over Albert’s continuation to withhold news from Afghanistan, eventually seeking the truth from the Duke of Wellington, knowing he won’t sugar coat things.  As the army suffers catastrophic losses in Afghanistan, Victoria presses on with an engagement to commission HMS Trafalgar, while Albert & Peel are concerned it’s inappropriate considering the army’s defeat.  With only Wellington supporting her decision, she proves her doubters wrong once more, reaffirming the public’s support for her as their monarch.  Thankfully, an enlightening conversation with Lehzen in the nursery sees Prince Albert rushing to the dock yard in time to proudly watch proudly his wife delivers her empowering dedication speech.   It’s the trigger for a tender reunion where both apologise for their actions and words, as they reconcile beneath the covers in Victoria’s chambers.


Source: loveofromance.tumblr.com

Old & New Faces

After being told she needed to replace some of her ‘ladies’ with women more favourable to the political persuasion of Peel, the Queen rejects all but one of his suggestions, opting for the last person on the list just to highlight her distaste at being told what to do.  Unfortunately, it backfires on her spectacularly with the arrival of the Duchess of Buccleuch and her niece Wilhelmina, as she’s a prickly old lady who finds fault in everything.  She even ruins a rare moment of joy for Victoria with her baby, dismissing a smile as wind.  If you loved the Dowager Countess in Downton, you’ll find the acerbic Duchess just as eyebrow raising!  The prevailing question is, how long before the diminutive monarch flexes her royal muscles, and puts her in her place?

With Prince Ernest back, it’s only a matter of time before a lady takes his fancy.  Will it be Wilhelmina, who appears to have her eye on him already; or will his heart still lie with the Duchess of Sutherland, whose husband appears to treat her like a pretty accessory.  Either could have a significant impact on Victoria & Albert’s household. 

Below stairs, Mrs Jenkins has left, leading to Skerrett being promoted to Chief Dresser at the Queen’s insistence, overruling Lehzen’s belief she’s not experienced enough. 

The new Palace chef is not fitting in well below stairs, and Francatelli’s absence is felt massively by Victoria at mealtimes when she’s presented with food she finds unpalatable.  Skerrett is dispatched to persuade him to return, which ends disastrously.  Despite his refusal, the episode ends with the Queen having found a way to get what she wants, and the handsome chef is back in residence below stairs.  Francatelli makes it clear he has no time for Skerrett after she hurt him so much.  Will they find a way to work together, and could this lead to a reconciliation?  We can only hope!

Spoiler Alert!

 

As the credits rolled on this fantastic series opener, the voice over announced that Lord M is back next week!!! Stay tuned my lovelies, I can’t wait to see how that goes down.

Recap: See all our Victoria coverage here

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Daisy Goodwin, available November 21, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

 

 


H&H Editor Picks:

What to Read If You Watch Victoria, Jane the Virgin, Arrow, and More!

Shipping Victoria with Melbourne and Albert!?: Oh, The Agony and the Ecstasy

August 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

 


Lou Moran is a raging bibliophile, hopeless romantic and self-confessed writing sloth. Starting out with a fanfic to test herself, eventually the chatter from an original idea bouncing around her head became too much to ignore, and A Fractured Echo was born 

When not immersed in the world of literature she can be found in the U.K. binge watching period drama & American box sets, hugging her Kitchenaid mixer, posting pictures of epic food on Twitter & Instagram, or trying to tame her two crazy children. 

Feel free to stalk her on Twitter: @LouMWrites or Wattpad: @LouMoran

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