Get the facts on Victoria’s visit to Ireland from Daisy Goodwin, the series’ writer and creator herself, and find out what else is true, from shamrocks to shoes outside the door, in Episode 5’s Fact or Fiction. Then see actual images from the episode’s evens and learn the real history behind the royal visit to Ireland and the assassination attempt that triggered it in History in Images: Episode 5!
Fact or Fiction: There was concern over Victoria's post-natal sanity.
Fact: Yes, always. Every time she had a baby, if she was a bit tearful or whatever, there would just be this assumption of “baby brain.” Any excuse to think that a woman can’t cope, they would take.
Fact or Fiction: The crowd greeting Victoria in Ireland was intentionally composed of her supporters only.
(Likely) Fact: There’s a lot of debate about that in Ireland at the moment. Certainly, people did turn out because they were very pleased to see Victoria…When you’ve got a place that’s never been visited by a monarch, then when one comes along, everybody thinks “Great!” But whether it changed the shape of Irish history, it’s very hard to say. But the answer is yes, I’m sure they put in as much control as they could.
Fact or Fiction: Victoria's trip to Ireland was a risky political move.
Fact: Yeah, when you think that she’s the first monarch to go there [in many years], that’s quite an exceptional thing that she did. It was a place where there was a great deal of resentment against the British, so I think it was brave of her to go. Whether it made any difference it’s hard to say, but it showed willing on her part.
Fact or Fiction: Victoria wore a Shamrock dress.
Fact: That’s completely true, and I do think it’s very interesting because it’s one of those things that shows that Victoria actually was very mindful—we don’t think of her as a kind of [fashionable] dresser—but she did think very hard about her image and making a statement with her clothes.
Fact or Fiction: Bertie had an abusive tutor.
Fiction: He did have a tutor—I don’t know whether he was quite as abusive—but I think actually it wasn’t just the tutors, it was that the whole regime was quite tough on him. For this episode, we kind of put a few different things together, but his education…was a huge thing for both [Victoria and Albert] and it keeps coming up again and again and again in their married life.
Fact or Fiction: Palmerston and Emily had an understanding about their infidelities, shoes and all.
Fact: Yes! That’s true, they had a very open marriage. But they clearly loved each other best. They adored each other. They’d had a long affair before they got married.
[Note: Palmerston and Emily’s affair began around 1810, when she was married to Lord Cowper, and continued until their marriage, after she was widowed and out of mourning, in 1839! While Palmerston had many subsequent affairs, as dramatized in Victoria, his wife had her fair share as well, leading her brother, our very own beloved Lord Melbourne, to drolly describe his sister as a “remarkable woman, a devoted mother, and excellent wife—but not chaste.”]