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Sunday, June 2, 2019


(Tom Hughes as Prince Albert & Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria)

Victoria, the much-acclaimed and award-winning historical drama series, returns for a third season to South African television screens at 20h00 on Monday, June 3, 2019, on ITV Choice.

Once again starring Jenna Coleman in the title role, alongside Tom Hughes who plays her husband Prince Albert, the new series will also feature Kate Fleetwood as Princess Feodora of Leiningen, Victoria’s half-sister as well as Laurence Fox as Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston, John Sessions as Prime Minister John Russell and Lily Travers as the Duchess of Monmouth.

The series begins in 1848 - a time of political turmoil in Europe. Monarchs are losing their thrones and Victoria has to wonder if she will be next. She also has to grapple with what it means to be a Queen and she clashes with Albert over the role of the monarchy. Victoria wants to give her people what they want, whilst Albert thinks the role of a monarch is to give the subjects what they need. He is horrified by her need for popular approval, and she is alarmed by his disregard of the press.

In addition to all this, Victoria is not only pregnant with her sixth child, but they are having problems with Bertie, the Prince of Wales who unlike his older sister Vicky, shows no aptitude for learning and is wilfully disobedient. These days, he would be diagnosed as dyslexic, but then he was just considered slow.

The couple’s difficulties are compounded by the arrival of Feodora, Victoria’s older half-sister whose feelings for her sibling are complicated to say the least. Victoria has everything - position, wealth, a happy marriage - that Feodora does not, and Feodora knows who she holds responsible for this state of affairs.

To add to the tension, there is a troublesome Foreign Secretary in the shape of Lord Palmerston who shows no respect for Victoria and Albert’s fellow sovereigns in Europe, and who seems to have a Teflon-coated popularity with the British public. He is equally unpopular with the Prime Minister Lord John Russell who is forced to have him in his cabinet because he is so popular in the party. A situation which is not unknown today!

Says series writer Daisy Goodwin: "As I was writing this series, I was continually struck by the parallels between the 19th century and our own situation today. Populist movements at home and abroad: womanising, foreign secretaries, and national suspicion of ‘foreigners’, as well as press intrusion and the mismanagement of public health. There were days when I found it difficult to remember which century I was in!"

Indeed, writing in the UK Metro, critic Keith Watson says: "Coleman and Hughes are perfectly cast as the royal couple and there’s good fun in the addition of Lord Palmerston, a randy rake of a foreign secretary played as Boris Johnson with cheekbones. But best of all is how it makes history feel like it’s happening now."