How Historically Accurate is season 1 of Victoria
This article contains spoilers.
Victoria Season 1 looks at the early reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who ruled at a time when there were many social and technical changes in British society during the 19th century. Her long rule also saw the United Kingdom become a major global power, where the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was used to describe the fact that the United Kingdom's empire stretched to many parts of the globe. The first season looks at her accession to the role as queen, her marriage to Albert, and her struggles to assert her authority as many saw her as a child or lacked the reason to be an effective monarch.
Season 1 begins with the death of King William, who was Victoria's uncle. As the king did not have any legitimate children through his marriage, the succession passed down to Victoria. The first few episodes focused Victoria's inexperience, as she was only 18 years old at the time she became queen in 1837. Key events focused on her mother (Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld) and John Conroy, her mother's secretary and friend. Rumors, as suggested by the show, had it they were possible lovers, but this was unclear. In both reality and the series, Conroy and Victoria's mother caused difficulties for Victoria, where Conroy was portrayed as controlling. There is truth to this, as Victoria was brought up in a system called the Kensington system, which greatly controlled who Victoria could talk to and interact with. This made her have few true friends and Victoria did describe that she had a melancholy childhood.
As Victoria struggled to break free from the grips of Conroy, she forms a close relationship with Lord Melbourne, or William Lamb, who was the Prime Minister at the time. The series indicates a very close relationship formed between them, which it did. It even suggests Victoria had a romantic interest in Lord Melbourne, where she eventually proposes to him (the queen had to propose in order to get married). This is highly unlikely to have occurred, as Lord Melbourne was 58 years old at the time that Victoria came to power. The show focuses on political rivalries that were occurring at the time in the late 1830s between the Tories and Whigs, the two primary parties. There was even a crisis, the so-called Bedchamber crisis, where the Tory leader Robert Peel was to be given the Prim Minister role. However, he insisted that Queen Victoria remove some of her ladies of the bedchamber, as they had husbands who were Whig politicians, suggesting to Peel that Victoria was too heavily biased toward the Whigs. However, as these were Victoria's friends, she refused, causing a crisis since Peel would have normally taken the role of Prime Minister as his party controlled parliament. Eventually, Melbourne was again asserted as Prime Minister, where the events depicted are mostly accurate in the series.
As Victoria struggled to gain and show her authority, the series then introduces how she met and was introduced to Albert after a series of other potential suitors. In reality, she had already known Albert prior to her ascension and had already indicated her interest in him. As the show depicts, she was very struck by him, although the series depicts that his stiff personality at times was off putting to her. It also shows Albert as protective and jealous of Melbourne, although this probably was not the case. However, with the rise of Albert at court, the influence of Melbourne did diminish on Victoria. This is more to do with the fact as Albert became her husband he played also a greater role in government and fulfilling Victoria's official roles. Victoria formally proposed to Albert in October 15, 1839, with the wedding taking place on the 10th of February 1840.
Although Victoria was sometimes called the grandmother of Europe due to the many monarchs that derived from her line and that married into various European households, she, in fact, hated childbirth and having to go through the process of having children (she had nine children). This worry about childbirth was shown in the series, where she brings up her fear of death in the process. Some of Victoria's diary entries did, in fact, suggest her worry and fears. Meanwhile, there were social tensions in the UK, as widespread poverty in the country and social unrest in places created tensions. Edward Oxford did try to assassinate the young Queen as she road near Buckingham palace, which had just become the official palace. This did occur and Oxford, as the show depicts, was committed to an insane asylum after the attempt. The series indicates her uncle, who was now King of Hanover but also was the potential successor to Victoria until she gave birth to a child, did suggest that she may be assassinated, which possibly implicated him in a plot. However, no such evidence of this was found, in the series, and most likely there was never any suspicion of her uncle.