Find out what’s fact and what’s fiction in an episode whose historical references range from Bertie to blockades to…bathtubs? Don’t miss a single Episode 2 fact-check, all told to MASTERPIECE by Victoria series writer, creator, and executive producer, Daisy Goodwin!
Fact or Fiction: Albert hated gambling.
Fact: Yes, he was very against anything that reminded him of his father. He was very dissolute. So yes, he didn’t like gambling.
Fact or Fiction: Bertie was ambivalent about being king some day.
Fact: Yes, that’s all true. He didn’t realize, and he had to be told, that he was going to be king—because he just assumed because his mother was the queen, and because his older sister was so much better at everything than him—that she would be queen. And so one day they had to take him aside and say actually, Bertie, you’re up next, and I think he was pretty horrified by that.
Fact or Fiction: Weapons were planted to try to portray the Chartists as violent.
Fiction: No, that is a bit of embroidery on my part. However, there was definitely a lot of what we would call “spin” at the time, and the idea was to put the Chartists in the worst possible light. So it didn’t happen, but it easily could have done. What I’m trying to do when I’m making stuff up is to make it as close to what could have happened as possible. And there’s no doubt that at the time, everyone was terrified of what the Chartists would do. They thought that the spark that had been lit in France would just come over and ignite on this side of the Channel.
Fact or Fiction: Victoria resisted pressures from government to use force to contain the Chartists' demonstration.
Fiction: No, she didn’t. I’m afraid I’ve given her probably more liberal outlooks than she probably had. So no, I can’t say that she did. But I think that she couldn’t quite believe that they would actually hurt her.
Fact or Fiction: There was an armed blockade at the bridges to keep the Chartists contained during their march.
Fact: Yes, that did happen. But Victoria wasn’t there; she’d gone already by this point. But she was extremely concerned about leaving London. I think she was very ambivalent about what was going to happen, and she was both terrified and distraught because the idea of losing the love of her people was a terrible blow for her.
Fact or Fiction: Albert had the Hercules in Bondage painting hanging in his bathroom.
Fact: Yes, that’s true, that’s all true. It was certainly in his bathroom, in Osborne. I thought it was a hilarious joke on his part, so I had to put it in. I mean, anyone who says that Albert doesn’t have a sense of humor has not seen that painting.
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