The Young Victoria

Her country. Her heart. Her majesty.

Emily as: Queen Victoria
Genre(s): Biography | Drama | History
Written by: Julian Fellowes
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
Other Cast: Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent
Release Date: February 12, 2010
Production Budget: $35m
Total Worldwide Gross: $27.4m
Filming Locations: Wiltshire, England, UK and Derbyshire, England, UK

Dominated by her possessive mother and her bullying consort, Conroy, since childhood, teen-aged Victoria refuses to allow them the power of acting as her regent in the last days of her uncle, William IV’s rule. Her German cousin Albert is encouraged to court her for solely political motives but, following her accession at age eighteen, finds he is falling for her and is dismayed at her reliance on trusty premier Melbourne.

Victoria is impressed by Albert’s philanthropy which is akin to her own desire to help her subjects. However her loyalty to Melbourne, perceived as a self-seeker, almost causes a constitutional crisis and it is Albert who helps restore her self-confidence. She proposes and they marry, Albert proving himself not only a devoted spouse, prepared to take an assassin’s bullet for her, but an agent of much-needed reform, finally endorsed by an admiring Melbourne.

Production Info

  • Filmed on location in England and at Shepperton Studios during a ten week shoot beginning in August of 2007.
  • Many of the interior scenes were filmed at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. The bed used in the honeymoon scene was slept in by Queen Victoria when she visited the castle in 1843. The bedroom is so small that all the cameras had to be placed outside the windows.
  • Emily Blunt’s costumes wore were insured for £10,000 each.
  • The large green bed cost £25,000 to build. The Duke and Duchess of Rutland, owners of Belvoir Castle, purchased it after filming.
  • Producer Graham King had originally looked at filming in Eastern Europe and Germany, because of the expense of filming in the UK, but soon decided that it was essential to film in the UK in order for the film to be as authentic as possible.
  • Filming took place at 17 locations throughout England including Blenheim Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Arundel Castle, Lincoln Cathedral, Ham House, Lancaster House, Belvoir Castle, Wilton House, Ditchley Park and Balls Park.
  • Character Quotes

  • Some people are born more fortunate than others. Such was the case with me. But as a child, I was convinced of quite the opposite. What little girl does not dream of growing up as a princess? But some palaces are not at all what you’d think. Even a palace… can be a prison.
  • Why don’t we ring for some music? And then we could dance. I’ve recently discovered the waltz and I am quite in love with it.
  • There’s no need to shout, Sir John. I’m sure the people of London will find out our business soon enough without hearing it from your lips.
  • If you think that I will ever forget that you just stood by silent and you watched him treat me thus, you are dreaming!
  • I am young, but I am willing to learn. And I mean to devote my life to the service of my country and my people. I look for your help in this. I know I shall not be disappointed.
  • Dearest Albert, on Tuesday, I went to inspect Buckingham Palace. It is only just finished and I shall be the very first sovereign to live there. As I stepped out of the carriage, for the first time in my life, I felt freedom.
  • I do want to help them, whatever you say. Not just the laboring poor, but the hungry and the homeless. There are people who are lost. Whose business is it to see to their welfare?
  • Oh, dear. I have a quadrille with the Price of Prussia next. My poor little toes. I feel sorry for them already.
  • If I ban everyone who thinks me wrong, you and I will be alone in the ballroom.
  • My dearest Albert. You asked me once if you could be of help to me, and I so proud and confident of my great powers replied, “Not yet.” But since that day so much has changed.
  • Duchess of Kent: You still don’t look well. Maybe we should go away for August.
    Victoria: No, Mama.
    Duchess of Kent: What do you mean, no?
    Victoria: We’ve already missed the Queen’s birthday. We will not miss the King’s. We’ve accepted. We’re going.
    Duchess of Kent: Really, Victoria, don’t issue orders to me. I’m not a servant.
    Victoria: Well, you’ve already disobeyed about the extra rooms. That’s enough.
    Duchess of Kent: Are we to live like rabbits, crammed in a hutch?
    Victoria: We live in a palace, Mama. We’re a lot better off than most people.
  • Victoria: Do you ever feel like a chess piece yourself? In a game being played against your will?
    Albert: Do you?
    Victoria: Constantly. I see them leaning in and moving me around the board.
    Albert: The Duchess and Sir John?
    Victoria: Not just them. Uncle Leopold. The King. I’m sure half the politicians are ready to seize hold of my skirts and drag me from square to square.
    Albert: Then master the rules of the game until you play it better than they can.
    Victoria: You don’t recommend I find a husband to play it for me?
  • Baroness Louise Lehzen: Those boys pester you.
    Victoria: Oh, please, Lehzen. You don’t think I’ve come this far to walk straight into another jail, do you?
    Baroness Louise Lehzen: You must marry one day.
    Victoria: Well, I don’t see why. And if I do, I shall please myself, not Mama or Uncle Leopold or the King or anyone else. Trust me.
  • Sir John Conroy: You’re too young! You’ve no experience! You’re like a china doll walking over a precipice!
    Victoria: Well, then, I must smash! For it’s too late to mend my ways now!
  • Victoria: I can’t marry the man they “want” me to marry.
    Queen Adelaide: Oh! Every suitor will come with strings attached.
    Victoria: Can’t I be my own mistress for a while? Haven’t I earned it?
  • Victoria: It seems I have a lot to learn. With all my duties and I do take them very seriously.
    Albert: I know you do.
    Victoria: But there are plenty of people who will expect me to fail. And there are even more trying to take advantage of my youth and inexperience.
  • Victoria: I’m sure you’re aware why I wished you to come here. Because it would make me happier than anything… too happy, really, if you would agree to that I wish.
    Albert: And stay with you?
    Victoria: And stay with me.
    Albert: And marry you?
    Victoria: And marry me.
  • Victoria: We will take care of each other, won’t we?
    Albert: Always.
  • Victoria: How dare you speak to me in that way before them. How dare you talk across me, as if I were a child.
    Albert: I did no such thing.
    Victoria: Oh, no? Well, you’ve sorted this, you’ve sorted that. You and Sir Robert. You and the Duke. All without reference to me!
    Albert: Victoria, I thought you’d be pleased.
    Victoria: I will tell you what you thought. You thought that I was a woman! To be petted and passed over and ignored!
    Albert: Would it were so simple then we might avoid more scandals of your making.
    Victoria: Have you lost your mind?
    Albert: Do you wonder at it? Less than three years on the throne and you and your precious Melbourne have pushed this monarchy to the brink of an abyss!
    Victoria: I’ve told you before and I will tell you again, you are my husband here, and that is all!
    Albert: And that is quite enough, believe me!
    Victoria: I will not have my role usurped! I wear the crown. And if there are mistakes, they will be my mistakes, and no one else will make them. No one! Not even you!
    Albert: I am leaving before you excite yourself and harm the child.
    Victoria: You will go when I dismiss you. I am your Queen and I am telling you to stay.
  • Quoting: Emily Blunt

    On her character: I was blown away by how remarkable she was and she seemed like a very modern character, a very 21st century sort of woman. It appealed that it was an opportunity to play someone who is a contradiction to people’s preconception of what she was like. Everyone knows her as the mourning Queen who was wheeled around in black with a hanky on her head and was kind of repressed, but she was just the polar opposite when she was younger. That was exciting to me, that I could change people’s opinion of what Victoria was like.

    On her attraction to the role: I couldn’t help but be attracted to this remarkable, high-spirited, feisty girl. The script was very exciting, as the public and private Victoria are very different and you realize what a performance it was to be a queen. I identify with her hugely. We all know what it is like to be a teenager, to stubbornly think we know it all and to actually be in a job which is way over your head, not to mention being deeply in love for the first time. She had such zest for life at a young age and would talk with such passion about the people she loved, opera, even food.

    On working with Jean-Marc Vallée: I’ve never met a director as passionate about a project as Jean-Marc before. I think he was the perfect choice, because he has the most beautiful eye. I can’t even begin to compliment him on his vision for this film. It’s good not to have an English or European director, because he doesn’t hold this period in too much reverence. I think we all have a tendency to do that here and then it becomes stuffy and unapproachable. I think that Jean-Marc brings this very modern approach to it and he’s sees her as a rebel. When he said that to me at our first meeting I was completely taken aback at first, and then I realized he’s so right it’s scary! We couldn’t have asked for a better guy for this.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Jean-Marc Vallée: It was perfect timing that this script and Emily came together. There was some hype around her in Hollywood and after seeing her in My Summer of Love you could see she was a wonderful actress on the rise. At my first meeting with her I knew that she understood the character. Casting is very instinctive and you have to trust in the performance you’re going to get. After I saw the first dailies, she more than matched my expectations. She’s so talented, she brings such nuances to the performance that she makes us care about the character and the camera adores her.

    Producer Graham King: Before I had really had time to think about who would play Victoria I got a call from Emily Blunt’s agent saying she would like to meet me. She came over and said she had read the script and she was desperate to play this part. She had a huge passion for the role. After that I watched everything she’d been in and realized she was perfect. She’s the real deal as an actress. Shortly after my meeting with her, Marty and I were at the Golden Globes and as we watched Emily accept her Globe (for Gideon’s Daughter), Marty [Martin Scorsese] said “that’s Queen Victoria”

    Producer Denis O’Sullivan: We are all amazed by the chemistry between Emily and Miranda [Richardson], there are times when it is genuinely uncomfortable watching them in a scene, as the scenes are so intense and real. It is a joy to watch.

    Co-star Rupert Friend: I was really, really excited to work with Emily as I’ve been a fan from a distance for a long time. I think she’s one of the most exciting actors we have. Her work is consistently exciting, challenging and always so real so I was over the moon to be able to work with her.

    Critical Response

    Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: The Young Victoria has put to rest any question of whether Blunt, who’s done well by so many secondary characters including the scene-stealing assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, could carry a film. This is a big movie, big story and Blunt proves more than up to the task. She infuses the character with high spirits, humor, intelligence and headstrong determination, dancing neatly between a teenager’s whimsy and an adult’s sense of history. Blunt’s face has that openness of youth that allows you in, even tiny emotional shifts register with barely a blink.

    Claudia Puig, USA Today: The film belongs to the title character, and Blunt deftly conveys the young queen of England’s grace and burgeoning steely resolve.

    Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter: Emily Blunt, one of the best and most glamorous actresses to come out of England in recent years, makes an unusual but highly successful choice for the young Victoria. She puts healthy vigor and sexuality into a woman not associated with either.

    Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Though Blunt is excellent at delivering slightly off-kilter turns, it’s easier to build a performance on quirks than on character. It’s a pleasure to see her digging so deep here, especially with such a capable cast backing her up.

    Anthony Lane, The New Yorker: Blunt strikes me as the real deal: languid but biting, like Jeanne Moreau, yet able to command a scene while somehow appearing to shift to one side (as Moreau would never do) and observe with a skeptic’s smile. The little puff of relief that Victoria gives after addressing the Privy Council on the morning of her accession is, despite her duties, the exhalation of a free spirit, and one prays that films more liberating than this, and more likely to feed Blunt’s appetites, will come her way.

    Awards and Nominations

    Below is a list of all accolades Emily has received for her role in the film.

    NOMINATED: British Independent Film Awards – Best Actress
    NOMINATED: Critics Choice Award – Best Actress
    NOMINATED: Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards – Best Actress
    NOMINATED: Empire Awards – Best Actress
    NOMINATED: Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama)
    NOMINATED: London Critics Circle Film Awards – British Actress of the Year
    NOMINATED: Satellite Awards – Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama)

    WON: Jupiter Awards – Best International Actress
    WON: Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Virtuoso Award
    WON: Vancouver Film Critics Circle – Best Actress in a Canadian Film