Fact or Fiction: Inside Episode 4

Victoria‘s creator and writer Daisy Goodwin returns to our Fact or Fiction series for an episode that’s very close to her heart—she’s the great-great-great granddaughter of the real-life Dr. Traill! Learn the surprising facts and moving fictions that make “Faith, Hope & Charity” such a powerful episode.


  1. 1.

    Fact or Fiction: Ernest really suffered from syphilis.

    Fact: “I’m afraid he did. You’ve got to remember that he was a man of his time. I guess he did sleep with prostitutes. I know, it’s awful.”

  2. 2.

    Fact or Fiction: Victoria urged Peel to take action to help the Irish people.

    It’s Probable: “I’ve taken a little poetic license there. I think she did subscribe money to the famine relief fund. I think she probably did did intervene on behalf of the Irish with Peel. Peel was of two minds anyway; he knew about it, and he wanted to help them. But in order to help them, he knew that he had to repeal the Corn Laws, and that was going to break his party apart. So he wanted to do the right thing, and I think she encouraged him to do it.”

  3. 3.

    Fact or Fiction: Dr. Traill (Goodwin's ancestor) was invited to the palace by Victoria.

    Fiction: “No, I’m afraid he wasn’t. But he did write those letters—the other facts of the story are completely true. He lost his career, his marriage, his livelihood, and his life, really. He was kind of a hero, which is a relief, because you don’t want to find out that your relative is a baddie.”

  4. 4.

    Fact or Fiction: Albert really brought plumbing to the palace.

    Fact: “Yes, he absolutely did!”

  5. 5.

    Fact or Fiction: The notes that Francatelli gave to the American publisher eventually became his cookbook.

    Fiction: “Yes. I’ve taken a bit of a liberty there, though he did write a cook book. I thought maybe an enterprising American woman would have seen the market for a royal cookbook. Because I’m sure it would have sold very well!”


Dig deeper: explore the real history behind the episode with authentic images from its characters and events.

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