From the scandals to the silk weavers, what elements of Episode 2 are fact, fiction, or somewhere in between? Victoria‘s writer and creator Daisy Goodwin shares her deep knowledge of the queen and her court to provide surprises and insights about the real history of Victoria Season 2, Episode 2.
Fact or Fiction: The real Boy Jones broke into Buckingham Palace.
Fact: “Yeah, he really did break into the palace—several times—and he stole the Queen’s underwear. [laughs] That’s what he did.”
Fact or Fiction: Albert was tasked with the design of the Parliament rebuilding.
Fact: “Yes, he definitely oversaw the rebuilding of the Parliament buildings and was very involved with the design of the interiors. It’s one of the many things that he took on and did brilliantly. He was an extremely able man, Albert.”
Fact or Fiction: Lord Melbourne was treated for his illness with leeches.
Fact: “I think anybody who was sick in the 19th century was treated with leeches. They put them on for everything.”
Fact or Fiction: Victoria used her ball to promote the silk weavers.
Fact: “Yes. That ball was Victoria doing a ‘buy British’ thing. The intention behind the ball was, ‘We’re going have this ball and I want everybody who wants to come to wear Spitalfield silk.’ It did backfire just in the way that we see, because people thought, that’s all very well, but the queen is wearing a dress that’s worth 60,000 pounds, because it’s covered with jewels. It’s an unbelievable amount in today’s money. There were lots of grumbling about it.”
Fact or Fiction: Victoria suffered from postpartum depression.
It’s Probable: “They wouldn’t have called it that, but there’s evidence of that—you can tell from her diaries and from the way that she doesn’t write at that point, especially after the birth of Bertie. I think it really was hard for her to have two children so close together. I think she found it hard to bond with Bertie.
“Most of the biographies are by men, but when you read her diaries, reading between the lines, I think that’s very much what’s going on.”
Fact or Fiction: Albert is Leopold's child.
The Jury’s Out: “There’s a lot of debate about that. A lot of evidence suggests that he could be, but we’ll never know. Leopold was around for that crucial period; he physically could have been the father, and we know that Albert’s parents were very unhappy at that point. He was sleeping with anything that moved. Though I don’t know whether she was, she had already begun to look around. It’s not certain, but there’s quite a lot of evidence that he might be.
“Leopold also took a huge interest, a paternal interest, in Albert his whole life. Albert is much more like Leopold than he is like the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. I’ve got no proof—you can’t do DNA, the guys are brothers—but I think it’s certainly possible, and there’s a number of historians who think it’s probable.”