Queen Elizabeth I
Victoria takes an interest in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. (Not to be confused with Queen Elizabeth II who lived 400 years later. The monarch family tree is FRYING my brain.) QEI never married and chose to reign alone with “companions” by her side. She’s nicknamed the Virgin Queen, but that’s probably because no one could kiss her with that ridiculous thing around her neck.
Uncle Leopold & a band of suitors
Victoria’s Uncle Leopold comes to town to pressure her into marrying his nephew, Albert. She hates Albert, but Uncle Leo uses the political chartist uprising to scare her into her duty to stabilize the monarchy. He also corners her and basically says, I know you like Melbourne, but you don’t really think you’re allowed to marry that old dude, do you? #rude
Victoria has a bucket load of suitors who embarrass themselves fawning over her. To make matters worse, Lord M discourages Victoria from taking any of them seriously. (Because he loooooooves her.) Uncle Leo sees this when V & M stare at each other during the opera. (How can I get the looks of Rufus Sewell on a never ending gif loop?)
Related: did anyone else know there was ANOTHER Prince George of Cambridge?? WHY DO ALL THESE MONARCHS HAVE THE SAME NAMES.
Victoria sneaks away to visit Lord M at Brocket Hall and confess her true feelings. Ok, listen. I know she has to marry Prince Albert, and yeah, he’s a good lookin dude and later, they actually fall in love. But OH MY GAH MY HEART WAS RIPPED OUT OF MY CHEST DURING THIS SCENE. Lord Melbourne knows he has to be the one to say no. He breaks our hearts with some freaking bird analogy leaving Victoria to believe he’s still hung up on his dead wife. He lets her down SO. EASY. that it only makes me love him more.
M: “When you give your heart, it will be without hesitation. But you cannot give it to me.”
YOU ARE KILLING ME, LORD M.
She returns to Buckingham Palace crushed, when one of her ladies realizes Lord M has reopened his greenhouses just to grow orchids for Victoria.
Vic: “He cares only for the memory of his wife.”
Lady: “Is that what he told you? Then that is what he wants you to believe.”
They throw a theme party and Victoria goes dressed as QEI (with that stupid thing around her neck) and Lord M goes as the Earl of Leicester. And do you know who that guy is?! Oh, he’s just the guy QEI LOVED AND COULDN’T MARRY. (Btw, someone add this to the list for potential Halloween couples costumes.) Victoria still thinks Lord M doesn’t like her, until they dance and have an entire conversation laced with subtext about QEI and Leicester. Melbourne says, ”I think he and the queen both understood they were not in a position to marry. Whatever their inclination.”
OK. THATS IT. HE LOVES HER AND NOW SHE KNOWS HE DIDN’T REALLY MEAN ALL THAT BIRD CRAP HE SAID EARLIER. AND HE’S STARING AT HER WITH THAT LOOK AGAIN. (So not joking about the gifs.)
Take the money and run
In other news, Savage Sir John realizes he will never be able to control Victoria and she pays him to leave court. He seems a TEENY bit sad he’s breaking the Duchess’ heart, but he still wants the money. This appears to have repaired (sort of) the relationship between Victoria and her mother. When Vic’s heart is broken, her mother comforts her with this amazing line: “No man would give you up, unless he knew it was his duty.”
Victoria decides to reign alone but we all know it’s so she can keep Lord M as her “companion.” In a crucial scene, Lord M falls on the sword and convinces her to give Albert a shot. He tells her she needs a husband to love, honor and cherish her. MORE SUBTEXT AND ALL THE FEELS. He twists the knife once more when they discuss their time spent together:
V: “You were happy too?”
M: “You know I was.”
During the final scene, I’m still reeling from my broken heart when Albert arrives, but all of the sudden my heart hurts a little less…