Victoria (Jenna Coleman) in Victoria, Series 2 Ep5 ©2017 Mammoth Screen for ITV and Masterpiece, photo by Gareth Gatrell
Louis-Philippe (L), Victoria (R)
This week Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and her court journey to France. She hopes to convince her cousin Louis Philippe not to marry his son off to a French princess, which would bring about a terrible political alliance as far as England’s concerned.
A corny subplot was the Duchess of Buccleough complaining about all things French, the baguettes, the people, the lack of toast. I feel sorry for Diana Riggs as this role is something of a poor man’s Violet of Downton Abbey.
Château d’Eu in Normandy where Victoria et al visited the Louis-Phillipe
Albert pouts and broods a lot as he’s carrying the secret that he might be illegitimate.
Victoria feels insecure about being unfashionable compared to the French ladies. She asked Skerret to get her some rouge. Skerret delegates the task to Miss Coke, who speaks some French and we all learn that French women not only wear more make up than the French but they take veal, put it on their face and then put a leather mask over their faces while they sleep. And you thought K-Beauty had some strange products!
Painting from this event, by Eugene Lami
Victoria is well received at the French court despite her qualms. When she wears rouge, it creates a bit of a stir. Albert chastises her for that later. He’s disgusted by the artifice of French society. He is out of place there. However, midway through the show, he’s walking in the woods with the French prince and some British nobles. He spies a waterhole and is compelled to disrobe and skinny dip! Soon all the men except the French prince are in the water. Then Victoria and the ladies happen by. Victoria is amused to glimpse Albert frolicking. There’s a rather overdone camera effect with all this diffuse sunshine on Victoria. A more natural effect would have been more fitting.
Back at the castle, Victoria teases Al for his skinny dipping. Then he confides to her how he fears he’s illegitimate and she responds by telling him she doesn’t give a hoot about his pedigree. She loves him.
Albert moves on to another success when he uses a grape metaphor to illustrate how politically bad a marriage between the French prince and a Spanish queen would be for England. King Louis-Philippe concedes and promises our royals they have nothing to worry about.
Back home, the duchess is happy to tuck into some boiled mutton or toast. (She’s far from a foodie.) Albert’s relaxed. And as absence makes the heart grow fonder, Victoria embraces her children with joy. There’s a bit about how Mr. Francatelli’s received a perfumed love letter. Mrs. Skerret feigns indifference.
Then da da da daa, Lord Peele announces that That tricky Louis-Philippe is hitching his son to the Queen of Spain. Seems the trip was a failure. All that seasickness for naught.
As Victoria had nine, count ’em nine, children the episode ends with her telling Albert is is pregnant.
All in all, the episode, which was based on history, was good. I didn’t expect the double cross. I didn’t miss the usual storylines with Skerret’s ungrateful cousin.
Next week we’re to see the Irish Potato Famine.