1819. A child is born in a London palace. Caught between two Royal uncles the kind of England and the King of the Belgians she is destined to be a queen and to rule a great empire. Unless she is forced to relinquish her powers and sign a “regency order.” A Regent is appointed to govern in place of a monarch who is absent, disabled…or too young.
Victoria (Emily Blunt) begins the film with a narration about her childhood, stating that “even a palace can be a prison.” Someone would always taste her food before she could eat it, she was not allowed to go to school with other children and she was forbidden to read popular books. When her father died, she was forced to sleep with her mother and protected by adults since she was next in line for the throne.
Cut to Victoria’s coronation. A Year earlier, her cunning steward, Sir John, attempted to force Victoria to sign a regency order, so that her mother could rule in her stead and he could exert influence over her. Her uncle is upset that she will not sign the order and thinks she is impertinent. He is not worried and sends Prince Albert to visit Victoria.
Victoria is painting a picture of her dog but gets frustrated and stops in order to play with the dog. Her mother summons her and she is accompanied down to see the Duchess. The Duchess and Sir John Conway are shown to have a very strained relationship with Victoria.
Prince Albert is being quizzed about Victoria’s personality and habits so that he will be prepared to seduce her when he has the chance, allowing him to become the King. He is trained to make a great first impression and sent to England with his brother. Sir John welcomes them while Emily watches from a window. She checks her appearance says hello to Albert and his brother. Albert comes off as awkward and they start of in a rather tense manner, until Albert disregards his training and shows a bit of personality. They play chess in front of the Duchess and Sir John. Prince Albert and Victoria have a heart to heart about how they feel similar to chess pieces. He tells her that he knows what she is going through since he was raised by one parent and had an introspective lifestyle. He asks if he can writer to her and she grants him permission.
At a royal banquet, Victoria visits her uncle, the King of England, who is pleased to see her. He acts rudely toward the Duchess, however, since she takes up more space than he allotted her. The count of Melbourne attempts to curry favor with Victoria through small talk, but the Duke of Wellington takes note. Throughout the banquet the King is shown to be suffering from a loss of vision and dizziness. He makes a toast: He tells the crowd that he denies the regency attempt of Sir John and the Duchess and declares that he will stay alive just long enough so that Victoria may become Queen after him. He sits down calmly after the Duchess storms out.
While waiting for Albert’s letter, a letter from the King arrives asking her to visit his court and an increase of income. Sir John attempts to strong arm Victoria into sign the regency paper. She swears to remember this day and refuses. The Duke of Melbourne convinces the King to send him to try and prevent Sir John’s attempts to usurp Victoria. Victoria tells Melbourne that she does not want to deal with Sir John and the Duke of Melbourne accepts the position of private secretary to Victoria. Meanwhile, Albert confesses his feelings for Victoria to his brother and is shown struggling with writing her a letter. His brother tells her to confess his feelings. He sends her some music and tells her that he will play it with her in his heart.
The King dies and Victoria becomes Queen. Her first act is to move her bedroom away from her mother. She addresses the King’s council, which is now hers. Prince Albert receives a response, which was pre-read by his father’s advisors. She describes how she felt free moving into Buckingham Palace. Her aunt and confidant talk about Victoria’s suitors and she warns him of Melbourne’s influence and to keep everyone in their own sphere. Melbourne’s sneakiness is apparent from his snootiness and advice. He sees a letter from Albert and she confesses that while she made a promise she feels lonely. She writes Melbourne’s praises to Albert, which makes it clear that he needs to act. Albert goes to London to spend some time with Victoria and he makes it clear to his brother before he leaves that he loves Victoria enough to propose.
She paints Albert while they talk and gently flirt in the garden. He tells her that the wealthy must help those who are not able to. She is impressed with his charisma and she tells him that she’s worried they will take advantage of her inexperience. Albert gives her a sketch of his and teaches her how to shoot and bow and arrow. The Duchess and Sir John have a talk with Lord Melbourne and he makes it clear to the two of them that while they will live in Buckingham palace with the Queen, she will live in a separate apartment for more privacy.
One week before her coronation, Melbourne regales her with the story of Queen Elizabeth I, who never married. She talks to the laboring poor and tells Melbourne that she wants to help them. Victoria has a nightmare about being the pawn of the royal court. She bans Sir John from attending her coronation. Prince Albert watches her proudly while Sir John stumbles around the apartment drinking.
At the ball, Victoria dances with Albert. Albert tells her that he leaves on Friday, and on Friday she wishes him off. He tells her that if she ever needs him, he will be there for her. King Leopold, upset that Victoria is the pawn of Lord Melbourne. Albert writes to her asking when they will see each other again. She confesses that she is busy and doesn’t know when that will happen. Victoria is then informed at dinner that Lord Melbourne will be removed from power by Parliament since he will lose the vote. The Prime Minister visits to choose her new household, but she rebuffs him. Parliament fights among itself before Lord Melbourne, who ends up reelected as Prime Minister.
As a crowd riots outside of the palace, Sir John pays Victoria a visit. He warns her that an armed man is on the ground who wants to kill Victoria. The glass shatters in the room and Victoria flees in fear. Albert writes to her and tells her not to lose faith and subtle tells her that Melbourne is her problem. She replies and wonders if she is too young and inexperienced. He promises her that she can do it in a letter and tells her she is stronger than she looks. The Duchess writes to Victoria attempting to reconcile despite their differences. She breaks down in tears.
Victoria writes to Albert telling him that she needs his help. He returns to London and presents Victoria with two of his prized hounds. They are happy to see each other. They retire in private and she tells him that she is happy he is here and she wants him to stay to which he inquires as to whether or not she wants him to marry her. The two are happily wed and consummate their relationship that night. They spend the next three days enjoying themselves.
Sir John wonders what he has done with his life while continuing to drink heavily. The Duchess tells him that he served her well and wonders, “what does that mean?” Leopold writes to Albert wondering why he has not responded. Albert asks Victoria if they can make changes, which worries Victoria since she thinks he is trying to take advantage. Albert interrogates Sir John about Victoria’s and the Duchess’s money and Sir John cannot answer. Victoria finds out she is pregnant and Albert is thrilled. Lord Melbourne offers Albert advice, but Albert brushes him off, reminding him that he is not one of Melbourne’s party but Victoria’s husband. King Leopold is pissed that Albert does not talk politics with him.
Sir John corners Victoria when she is alone. He says “Your Majesty,” but she walks away. Sir John leaves the palace, presumably never to return. One night, Albert talks over Victoria, which pisses her off. She refuses to cave to Albert telling him that she is Queen to make her own decisions. He storms out of the room despite her orders not to. He accompanies the Queen on a ride through the streets when a man draws a gun and prepares to shoot her. Prince Albert pushes himself in front of Victoria to protect her and is shot. Albert survives but Victoria is worried and spends her time by his side, upset about their fight. She asks why he stepped in front of the bullet and he gives her two reasons: 1.) He is replaceable and she is not. 2.) She’s the only wife he will ever have and will love her till his last breath.
One year later, their child is born. The Duchess looks upon her daughter and granddaughter and approaches. Victoria and Albert had nine children and their descendants are the Royal Families of Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Yugoslavia, Russia, Greece, Romania and Germany. They reigned together for 20 years. Albert died from typhoid at age 42, and Victoria had his clothes laid out every day until her death at age 81. Among their accomplishments, they championed reforms in education, welfare and industry along with arts and science. Victoria remains the longest reigning sovereign to date.
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