On Sunday night, after seven episodes of mischief, romance and the beginnings of an unprecedented reign, we watched Queen Victoria welcome her first child with Prince Albert on the season finale of Victoria on Masterpiece on PBS. But the breakout hit, which chronicles the rule of Great Britain’s second longest-reigning monarch, is only just getting started (we still have 61 years to go). BAZAAR.com called up the queen herself, Jenna Coleman, to discuss donning Victoria’s legendary crown and what to expect from Season 2, which is currently filming in the UK.
On her impression of Queen Victoria before playing her onscreen: “I think, like most people, it was of the black, stern photographs we see of her. I knew she was known for being a passionate young queen and spirited, but I didn’t really know her character at all. I was really surprised and I think I keep on being surprised, actually, the more I learn about her.”
On what she learned during her research: “Lots of things. Trying to get a grasp on her; when you begin reading the biographies and her diaries—I was really shocked, first off, by how candid she is and how frank, and how much she’s there for us, given that these diaries are also edited by her daughter. It’s really interesting that she’s so open and effusive and [has] nothing to hide, will tell you every story, what she ate for breakfast—everything is there. I found that really charming, actually. Victoria’s context in so many ways is really inconsistent, but there’s a kind of honesty there. I think given her position, I find it really charming that she’s as candid as she is.
I have always accepted that Queen Victoria was, up until very recently, our longest-reigning monarch. I never really considered that she was only 18 the day that she became queen, a role that she was born into. [She] didn’t have a choice, had grown up in the manner in which she had grown up without a father figure and her mother, who she didn’t trust. [Victoria] had never been in a room with a man on her own before, had never slept in a bedroom on her own before, and [she] woke up the following day to govern the entire nation. Again, it’s part of what’s so charming when you read these. She talks about people that she met, and when you experience her falling in love with Albert, and becoming a mother for the first time, it’s so relatable to go through everything that we go through now. Obviously, she has the extra responsibility of happening to be queen at the same time and being a teenager and learning all these lessons that teenagers learn at some point. It’s a real journey told through a very unique set of eyes.”
“The Victorian era, socially, politically, historically, was a real kind of revolution, and a young girl was leading this and was the face of this.”