Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Close We Came to Not Having Victorian Swag

As the name of our blog indicates, we love the Victorian Era.  
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I watched The Young Victoria the other day, and that movie is just so beautiful.  The filming is breathtaking, the costumes make me want to learn to sew, the acting is brilliant, and it's just all around a fantastic movie.  
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I want to be Emily Blunt when I watch this film.  I think it's amazing that Victoria was able to stay strong against such persistent pressure from her mother and Sir John Conroy.  But thank goodness she did.
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Of course, I think most of us get caught up in the love story between her and Albert.  I mean, who wouldn't.  They're both gorgeous, strong people, and there's just so much great bone structure going on when it comes to Rupert Friend.
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I also think it's adorable that this was Albert's favorite picture of Victoria:

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I'm a history nerd, I can't help myself, so anytime I watch this movie, I think of Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams.  It reminds me of how close Victoria came to not being queen.
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Charlotte was the daughter of King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick.  She was seen as a beacon of hope by the British people - destined to make right everything that her father and grandfather, King George III, had done wrong.  Charlotte's parents hated each other and soon separated after he birth.  Her upbringing was left to servants and governesses, and that may honestly have been a blessing.  Both her parents were really more like very large children.  
Princess Charlotte
Victoria was very much like her cousin Charlotte in that they were both bullied by their parents but remained strong.  For Victoria, it was to refuse a regency.  For Charlotte, it was to marry the man she loved.  Charlotte's father pressured her to accept the proposal of William, hereditary Prince of Orange.  She did not like him, let alone love him, and after personal and familial struggle, she broke off the engagement.  Her heart truly belonged to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who would later become King of the Belgians.
Prince Leopold
King George IV and Charlotte participated in a drawn out contest of wills over Leopold.  He had no money and little power, but Charlotte loved him just the same, and she eventually won the standoff.  
Charlotte and Leopold
Leopold and Charlotte had a year and a half of blissfully happy marriage before Charlotte's untimely death.  She gave birth to a stillborn son on November 5, 1817.  Charlotte died the next morning at the age of 21.  Leopold was inconsolable, as was the British nation.  High hopes had been placed on Charlotte, and she had been very much a celebrity of her time.  She and her son are buried at St. George's Chapel, and a large memorial was placed over their tomb.
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Charlotte was the only legitimate heir, so her death brought panic to the Royal Family.  King George III's sons were not interested in settling down.  They preferred their freedom and seeking only the pleasures of life.  However, Charlotte's death brought on a major wedding and legitimate-heir-producing frenzy.  Edward, Duke of Kent, and King George III's fourth son, married Leopold's sister, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld on May 29, 1818.  Their daughter, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, was born June 20, 1837.  Victoria was the only surviving legitimate heir of King George IV, a similarity to Charlotte not lost on the British people.  It really is amazing to see how tenuous the events of history really are.  

6 comments:

  1. I haven't seen The Young Victoria - for some reason I thought it'd be sad (but I already KNOW they get together, so I don't know what I was thinking?!) but I'm familiar with Victoria's story and her resilience against her (kind of crappy) family.

    Also, that picture of Victoria that happens to be Albert's favorite? So much adorableness dripping off the screen! Too cute. And the fact that she has her hair out and seems to be relaxing and not all laced up in usual regal regalia makes it all the better >.<

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    1. You really must go rent or buy this one. There's lots of proximity (Sally's favorite) and it's JUST SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

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  2. "The Young Victoria" is one of those movies that always ends too soon for me, I want it to keep going. And then I realize that it is called "The *Young* Victorial," not "The Full and Complete Life of Victoria." But it does make me hope that there will be another movie about a later part of her life (like "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age") and that Emily Blunt will again portray Victoria.

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    1. What a fantastic idea! I, for one, would have enjoyed about 10 more hours of footage tacked onto the ending. SRSLY.

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    2. At least 10 hours, heh! And I loved your analysis of the Young Victoria proposal scene (my heart lurches every time I watch it) in the previous post, I wasn't sure if I should post my comment there or on this one. :)

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    3. I think we should write a letter to whoever wrote The Young Victoria telling them of your proposal, because WHAT COULD BE BETTER than a sequel? Nothing, I tell you!

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