Lots of discord between Victoria and Albert. Albert’s insistent on getting Bertie a tutor and doesn’t want to attend a reception for foreign dignitaries. They exchange testy letters revealing their tempers.
Albert is still upset that the family’s returned to London. Playing second fiddle to his wife has always been hard for him. It’s understandable. Albert’s excited to be offered the role of Chancellor at Cambridge University. He feels this is a position he can sink his teeth into by sharing input on how universities in Germany are run. Lord Palmerston informs Albert that the position is a sinecure. Albert brushes this aside, heads to Cambridge and gives a long and lofty speech on the merits of modern education, German-style. It wasn’t received well. A vote is taken for the new Chancellor and surprisingly Cambridge alum Lord P, votes for Albert and helps him win the title.
Skerrett, Victoria’s lady’s maid, is now with her new husband Mr. Francatelli in their new home, an old inn that they’re renovating and will soon open for business. Victoria’s still smarting from Mrs. Francatelli’s sudden departure and no one in the palace seems to sympathize.
The main crisis this week was an outbreak of cholera. Dr. Snow, who’s scoffed at by the big wigs for his stuttering and his theory that cholera is caused by impure water and food, tracks outbreaks and traces them to their source. You’re right to guess that someone in the queen’s circle is bound to come down with cholera. It’s Mrs. Skerrett. We see her decline till she’s as white as a ghost. Dr. Snow has pinpointed the cause, but can he find a cure in time?
The beautiful duchess suffers verbal abuse from her churl of a husband. This beauty is protected, advised and romanced by Joseph the footman and Lord Palmerston who’s savvy enough to know that her head will roll if her husband is cuckolded.
SPOILER ALERT (below)
The episode was compelling with lots of intrigue mainly provided by Victoria’s half-sister Feodora, who’s the devil in Albert’s ear every chance she can get, all the while smiling insincerely at Victoria. I think Feodora does believe she’s helping her sister, but just is so selfish that she has no idea what real loyalty and help is.
A hanky or two were needed for the end of the episode. The story’s true to life and Mrs. Francatelli succumbs to cholera. Just as Victoria rushes to the Francatelli’s home with Dr. Snow in tow, her devoted servant dies. It’s a deep blow for Victoria.