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A touching romance and a gripping human drama
JamesHitchcock23 March 2009
Apart from having the longest reign in British history (63 years), Queen Victoria also holds two other distinctions. She was, apart from our current Queen, the oldest ever British monarch, living to the age of 81. And she was also the youngest ever British (as opposed to English or Scottish) monarch, coming to the throne as a girl of eighteen. And yet whenever television or the cinema make a programme or film about her, they seem far more interested in the older Victoria than they do in the young girl; the version of Victoria with which modern audiences will probably be most familiar is Judi Dench in "Mrs Brown". "The Young Victoria" tries to redress the balance by showing us the events surrounding her accession and the early years of her reign. It has the rare distinction of being produced by a former Royal, Sarah Duchess of York, whose daughter Princess Beatrice makes a brief appearance as an extra.

There are three main strands to the plot. The first concerns the intrigues of Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, a highly unpopular figure even with her own daughter, largely because of the influence of her adviser Sir John Conroy, who was widely rumoured to be her lover. (According to one unfounded rumour he, and not the late Duke of Kent, was Victoria's natural father). The second strand concerns the growing romance between Victoria and her German cousin Prince Albert, and the attempts of King Leopold of Belgium, who was uncle to both of them, to influence this romance. (Leopold's hope was to increase the prestige of the House of Saxe-Coburg, to which both he and Albert belonged). The third concerns one of the strangest episodes in British political history, the Bedchamber Crisis of 1839, when supporters of the Tory Party (which had traditionally supported a strong monarchy) rioted because the young Queen was perceived to favour the Whig Party and their leader Lord Melbourne, even though the Whigs had historically supported a quasi-republican system of government, with the monarch reduced to a figurehead.

Scriptwriter Julian Fellowes is known for his Conservative views, and at times I wondered if this may have coloured his treatment of political themes, as he seems to lean to the side of the Tories, the predecessors of the modern Conservative party. Their leader Robert Peel is shown as statesmanlike and dignified, whereas Melbourne, for all his dash and charm, is shown as devious and uninterested in social reform. There may be some truth is these characterisations, but Fellowes glosses over the fact that only a few years earlier the Tories had opposed the Reform Act, which ended the corrupt electoral system of rotten boroughs, and that they had benefited from William IV's unconstitutional dismissal of a Whig administration.

Lessons in dynastic and constitutional history do not always transfer well to the cinema screen, and this one contains its share of inaccuracies. Prince Albert, for example, was not injured in Edward Oxford's attempt on Victoria's life, and Melbourne (in his late fifties at the time of Victoria's accession) was not as youthful as he is portrayed here by Paul Bettany. King William IV certainly disliked the Duchess of Kent (who was his sister-in-law), but I doubt if he would have gone so far as to bawl abuse at her during a state banquet, as he is shown doing here. I also failed to understand the significance of the scene in which the Duchess and Conroy try to force Victoria to sign a "Regency Order"; the Duchess's constitutional position was made clear by the Regency Act 1830, which provided that she would become Regent if her daughter was still under eighteen at the time of her accession. No piece of paper signed by Victoria could have altered the provisions of the Act.

There are also occasional infelicities. In one early scene we see Victoria and Albert playing chess while comparing themselves to pawns being moved around a chessboard, a metaphor so hackneyed that the whole scene should have come complete with a "Danger! Major cliché ahead!" warning. Yet in spite of scenes like this, I came to enjoy the film. There were some good performances, especially from Miranda Richardson as the scheming Duchess and Mark Strong as the obnoxious Conroy. It is visually very attractive, being shot in sumptuous style we have come to associate with British historical drama. Jim Broadbent gives an amusing turn as King William, although he does occasionally succumb to the temptation of going over the top. (Although not as disastrously over the top as he was in "Moulin Rouge").

The main reason for the film's success, however, is the performances of Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as the two young lovers Victoria and Albert. Blunt is probably more attractive than Victoria was in real life, but in her delightful portrayal the Queen is no longer the old lady of the popular imagination, the black-clad Widow of Windsor who was perpetually not amused, but a determined, strong-minded and loving young woman. Her love for Albert, and their happy family life together, was one of the main reasons why the monarchy succeeded in reestablishing itself in the affections of the British people. (With the exception of George III, Victoria's Hanoverian ancestors had been notoriously lacking in the matrimonial virtues). Blunt and Friend make "The Young Victoria" a touching romance and a gripping human drama as well as an exploration of a key period in British history. 8/10
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Better than I expected
graham-16710 March 2009
I went into this expecting not to like it; I figured it would be terribly worthy and earnest, and rather plodding and dull.

It's actually far better than that, and I found myself really enjoying it. I don't know too much about Queen Victoria beyond what most know - married to Albert, who died young, and she mourned him ever after. Seeing the circumstances she grew up under was fascinating; in fact I found myself wishing I'd seen more of the story, and I imagine we may see a sequel at some point.

Visually the film is stunning. The sets and costumes are incredibly lavish without being too gaudy and over the top. The acting is top notch from everybody involved.

In a word, it was great!
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Emily Blunt Shines as Queen Victoria
evanston_dad11 May 2010
Sometimes I'm glad that my grasp of English history is pathetically feeble. It makes movies like "The Young Victoria" much more suspenseful than they might otherwise be. I of course knew that Victoria reigned for a large part of the 19th century and that she died in 1901; I also knew that she was a renowned and powerful monarch. I didn't know much about her love life, and "The Young Victoria" filled that gap in my knowledge nicely.

Emily Blunt plays Victoria with a distinctly modern edge of feminism which may feel a bit anachronistic to picky historian purists but which also works. After all, women like Victoria WERE the feminists of their time, forced into making their mark in what was largely a man's world by a man's terms. I'm convinced that Blunt is one of the most promising of today's young actors. She has tremendous presence on screen; while she's on it, you don't want to look anywhere else. That presence is somewhat wasted in this movie, because her biggest competition comes not from any other actors but from the period sets and costumes. But she gives this rather light and inconsequential film some substance by virtue of simply being in it.

Rupert Friend plays Albert, the man Victoria eventually marries, while Paul Bettany plays her chief adviser and confidant, the man angling to get himself married to her for his own political gain. The cast of British regulars also includes Jim Broadbent, who gets crazier with every role he plays, Miranda Richardson, as Victoria's doormat of a mother, and, notable in a small role, Harriet Walter as Victoria's widowed aunt and the only person other than her eventual husband who gives her any advice that's worth a damn.

Grade: B+
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To be Blunt, haha, Emily B does beautiful work in this lovely bit of historical drama
inkblot1127 January 2010
Princess Victoria (Emily Blunt) is in line for the throne of England. The present King William (Jim Broadbent) is not well and may not live long. However, Vicky's scheming mother, The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richandson) and her aide, John (Mark Strong) want to force Victoria to sign papers declaring them to be the "regents" until she is older, since she is only 20 years of age. The young lady refuses, despite John slapping her around. It is another sign that Victoria has a strong will and deep love for her country. Yet, when William does pass away, shortly after her 21st birthday, Victoria knows she has a heavy duty before her. First, she must surround herself with the "right" advisers to govern wisely. She chooses handsome Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) who, although an older man, is mentioned as a suitor for Vicky. Which brings us to the young queen's second major decision. Sooner than not, the young queen should select her future mate, as it will bring stability to her life and to those of the kingdom, for an heir must appear in the coming years. Meanwhile, in Germany, some distant relatives of the British royal family are hatching some plans as well. Handsome Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), of the Saxon-Coburg dynasty, is prodded by his father to court the young English royal. Once he arrives at the palace, he is smitten and the feeling seems to be mutual. But, since he is a minor player on the map of royal match-making, can he succeed in winning her heart? This is a lovely film, made even better by a completely winning performance by Emily Blunt as Victoria. Yes, she is beautiful but it is her intelligent reading of the role that scores mightily. Friend, too, does well, as do the other actors, including Broadbent, Richardson, Bettany, Strong (what a repulsive role!), and the rest. Also, the movie is gorgeously shot, costumed, and set, making it a visual treat in every way. If anything is lacking, it is an extra dose of dazzle, as the film seems a bit too straightforward and prosaic, at times, with a somewhat unimaginative edit. However, this is only a minor, minor point of argument in an overall very successful and gorgeous film. In short, young and old, should make time for Young Victoria. It is a most worthy film among 2009 cinematic offerings.
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Beautiful, memorable but most of all, human.
Otoboke12 July 2009
The 63 year reign of Queen Victoria is perhaps one of the most documented and popularly known historical reigns in British history. On the one hand, her story lacks the theatrics of earlier royals thanks to a change in social climate and attitudes, and on the other her story is one that perpetuates because it is notably human. Taking on the earlier years of her life where the budding romance between herself and the German Prince Albert was taking forefront, director Jean-Marc Vallée who has only until recently remained in the unbeknownst shadows of the industry here takes Victoria's story and captures that human element so vital to her legacy. It's a story that feels extremely humble considering its exuberant background, and yet that's partly what gives it a distinct edge here that separates it from the usual fare.

Taking a very direct and focused approach that centres in on a brief five or so year period between her ascension and marriage to Albert, The Young Victoria does what so little period pieces of this nature offer. Instead of attempting a sprawling encapsulation of such a figure's entire life, Vallée instead opts to show one of the lesser known intricacies of Victoria's early years which are easily overlooked in favour of the more publicly known accolades. The result is a feature that may disgruntle historians thanks to its relatively flippant regards to facts and the like, yet never to let document get in the way of extracting a compelling story, writer Julian Fellowes sticks to his guns and delivers a slightly romanticised yet convincing portrayal. Vallée takes this and runs, making sure to fully capitalise on those elements with enough restraint to maintain integrity in regards to both the history involved and the viewer watching.

A major part in the joy of watching The Young Victoria play out however simply lies in the production values granted here that bring early 1800's Regal Britain to life with a vigorous realism so rarely achieved quite so strikingly by genre films. Everything from the costume designs, sets, hair styles, lighting and photography accentuates the grandiose background inherent to Victoria's story without ever over-encumbering it. Indeed, while watching Vallée's interpretation come to life here it is very hard not to be sucked in solely through the aesthetics that permeates the visual element; and then there's the film's score also which works tremendously to further the very elegant yet personal tones that dominate Fellowes' script. Entwining the works of Schubert and Strauss into Victoria and Albert's story not only works as a point of reference for the characters to play with, but also melds to the work with an elegance and refrain that echoes composer Ilan Eshkeri's original work just as well.

Yet for all the poignant compositions, lush backdrops and immaculate costumes that punctuate every scene, the single most important factor here—and indeed to most period dramas—are the performances of the cast and how they help bring the world they exist in to life. Thankfully The Young Victoria is blessed with an equally immaculate ensemble of thespians both young and old that do a fantastic job of doing just that. Between the sweet, budding romance of Victoria (Emily Blunt) and Albert (Rupert Friend) and the somewhat antagonistic struggles of her advisors and the like (spearheaded by a terrific Mark Strong and Paul Bettany), the conflicts and warmth so prevalent to Fellowe's screenplay are conveyed perfectly here by all involved which helps keep the movie from being a plastic "nice to look at but dim underneath" affair so common with these outings.

In the end, it's hard to fault a work such as The Young Victoria. It's got a perfectly touching and human sense of affection within its perfectly paced romance, plus some historical significance that plays as an intriguing source of interest for those in the audience keen on such details. Of course, it may not take the cinematic world by storm and there lacks a certain significance to its overall presence that stops it from ever becoming more than just a poignantly restrained romantic period drama; yet in a sense this is what makes it enjoyable. Vallée never seems to be striving for grandeur, nor does he seem content at making a run-of-the-mill escapist piece for aficionados. Somewhere within this gray middle-ground lies The Young Victoria, sure to cater to genre fans and those a little more disillusioned by the usual productions; beautiful, memorable but most of all, human.

  • A review by Jamie Robert Ward (
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A warm and moving love story, beautifully acted by Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend
cliveevansnp8 March 2009
Despite some reviews being distinctly Luke-warm, I found the story totally engrossing and even if some critics have described the love story as 'Mills and Boon', so what? It is good to see a warm, touching story of real love in these cynical times. Many in the audience were sniffing and surreptitiously dabbing their eyes. You really believe that the young Victoria and Albert are passionately fond of each other, even though, for political reasons, it was an arranged marriage. I did feel though that Sir John Conroy, who was desperate to control the young Queen, is perhaps played too like a pantomime villain. As it is rumoured that he was in fact, the real father of Victoria (as a result of an affair with her mother The Duchess of Kent) it would have been interesting to explore this theory. Emily Blunt is totally convincing as the young Princess, trapped in the stifling palace with courtiers and politicians out to manipulate her. She brilliantly portrays the strength of character and determination that eventually made Victoria a great Queen of England, which prospered as never before, under her long reign. I believe word of mouth recommendations will ensure great success for this most enjoyable and wonderful looking movie.
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Victorian Rebel without a Cause, but a Crown
ferguson-68 February 2010
Greetings again from the darkness. Emily Blunt would have stolen The Devil Wears Prada if not for the queen of screen, Meryl Streep. Here she competes with no one and does a nice job of carrying the film based on the early years of Queen Victoria. If you are rusty on your British sovereign history, she ruled from 1837-1901.

For 20 of these years, she was married to her true love, Prince Albert (played well by Rupert Friend). While the two meet as youngsters, the bond between them comes from their letters ... an early precursor to eHarmony?? We know Victoria mostly from royal portraits, so it's nice to see her as a rebellious youngster trying to learn the tricks of the trade, even while being manipulated like a pawn by her mother (Miranda Richardson) and her lover (Mark Strong). We get to see her tenacity blossom as she matures and literally grows into the monarchy.

While Ms. Blunt's performance is strong, Julian Fellowes' writing is not at the level of his previous work in Gosford Park. We do get some of the same power plays, but it is missing the nuances of that much better film.
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A great production
Gordon-114 June 2009
This film is about the life of Queen Victoria during her youth and her first few years as the monarch of Great Britain.

"The Young Victoria" has amazing production. Every scene is designed and decorated to immaculate detail. The extravagant costumes, lavish locations and beautifully landscaped gardens all make "The Young Victoria" very impressive. I was the most amazed by the thoughtful cinematography. How every person is placed in relation to the background or foreground is well thought out, every scene is well composed. The scene that strikes me the most was when Victoria talks to Melbourne. Melbourne was positioned in the middle of the door frame from Victoria's angle, while from Melbourne's angle Victoria was situated between the space where Melbourne held his arm on his hips.

Story wise, it is far too compressed to be followed and understood by a person without historical knowledge of Queen Victoria. Many events are rushed through or not even explained. I expected a grand scene of the coronation, and disappointingly it only lasted for a few seconds.

Overall, "The Young Victoria" is a good film, and it would have been even better if it was longer, so that events could be properly explained without rush.
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Prince Rupert
littlemartinarocena22 February 2010
Rupert Friend gives a performance, as Prince Albert, that lifts "The Young Victoria" to unexpected levels. He is superb. As we know, Queen Victoria fell into a dark, deep depression after Prince Albert's death and looking into Ruper Friend's eyes I understood. The film doesn't take us to his death but to an incident that may very well could have cost his life. An act of love. I believed it, or I should say, him. I believed what he felt was real. Nothing or anybody gets anywhere near the delicacy and profundity of Friend's characterization. Emily Blunt is good but I didn't believe for a minute she was Victoria. No real sense of period. It may no have been her fault but her prince deserved the crown.
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A Nutshell Review: The Young Victoria
DICK STEEL24 May 2009
The cinematic interests in the British monarchy continues with The Young Victoria (1837 to 1901), after having seen in recent years, the efforts with Keira Knightley's The Duchess, Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth films, and Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman's take on the Boleyn sisters with The Other Boleyn Girl. More contemporary stories would include Helen Mirren's award winning portrayal of The Queen on the current reign of Queen Elizabeth II at the turn of Princess Diana's death.

Each of the films mentioned featured stunning actresses with acting gravitas (ok, so some may dispute Johansson) or were the flavour of their moment, and each film had a definitive moment in their historical character's legacy that it becomes a no brainer to have those events featured, and in fact Elizabeth had enough to span two films. However, The Young Victoria, as the title already suggests, is a lite-version of the young queen's life, and if you're looking for that definitive event, or the staple political intrigue that plague all royal households and their dealings with shady, self-serving politicians, unfortunately there's nothing of depth here.

That's not to say The Young Victoria is without. Directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee (best known for CRAZY) and written by Julian Fellowes, this film chronicles in very plain terms, ,the life and times of Victoria (Emily Blunt, soon becoming the new It girl) when she was a child, the troubles she faced before Coronation such as the eagerness of her mom The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson) and her adviser Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) to appoint themselves as joint-Regent to her throne, as already planned for by reigning King William (Jim Broadbent). As if that wasn't enough, the political power play enters the picture with Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) being a Prime Minister-in-waiting trying to gain the trust of the new Queen, and subtly plants his own trusted allies into positions within the palace. On one hand you'd understand the need for a young, and new Queen to have trusted people in key positions, but on the other, are they really acting in her interests, or in the interests of others?

Even this angle of intrigue creeps into her romantic story with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), where their relationship forms the bulk of the second half of the film, and pretty much everything already included in the trailers. For both, they've been brought up under the influence of others, and told each step of the way exactly what to do. Even their union may seem like a firm registration of an alliance, if not for both lovers recognizing their common need to establish their own grounding, and to do so with the help of each other. Instead of being pawns, there's this constant search and probing of opportunities to break out of stifling, and at times absurd, rules and regulations. Trust also becomes a much valued commodity, and loyalty too can be traded for wanting to set the slate clean.

However, all these themes become but a breeze through the narrative, from childhood to romance, marriage and children. In fact, there's so much fast-forwarding here, especially the last few minutes filled with inter-titles, that it actually leaves the audience wanting for more, and room of course for another movie, which I suspect would probably not see the light of day, but perhaps a television series might pick up on the film's response, and come out with a mini-series or such. It's a pity that all the effort here in ensuring the gorgeous costumes, sets and art direction would be confined to a film that's quite lightweight in theme and brief mention of issues, that they don't really challenge the protagonists in order to allow for some overcoming of character-defining adversary.

With its star-studded cast, one would expect more, but one would be left wanting more instead. Recommended for those who are ever curious about Kings and Queens in the British Monarchy, only as a complement to other more engaging stories available in the other films already mentioned.
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Sparkling Emily Blunt; Very entertaining/teaching picture.
paulo_ljcc13 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
And that's why historic/biographic movies are so important to all of us, moreover when they are so well done, like this one!

Before I saw "The Young Victoria", I knew a few things about Queen Victoria, but in the end I got much more knowledge about it.

Emily Blunt is simply GREAT as Victoria (Who would guess that!) and She probably will get a nomination at this years Oscar's. Personally, I'm cheering for her...

For technical issues, I am pleased to say that is a very successful production, with wonderful Art Direction/Set Decoration and, of course, like It was expected to be, a terrific periodic Costume Design!

The one drawback is that I want to see more and know more about this interesting queen, but foremost, incredible woman and mother!

BRAVO: 9 out of 10!
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A fine period film and a wonderful love story
ncgraham10 May 2010
I just came back from seeing The Young Victoria. What a beautiful movie! Despite some flaws, I think it's probably the strongest costume drama we've had since 2006's Amazing Grace, although unlike Amazing Grace I don't think it's going to become one of my favorites. Let me set out by stating my problem with the movie: the pacing (also a common criticism of AG, but one that I considered unfounded in that instance). A large portion of it consists of a flashback, and a very awkwardly set up flashback at that; however, even putting that sequence aside, the narrative structure is just odd. The various scenes and plot threads just seem to be cobbled together without any dramatic purpose. But then again, I caught myself thinking that this approach—while questionable artistically—might better reflect real life than a more typical scriptwriting/editing job. The ending, too, doesn't feel particularly conclusive, but again this seems to be a conscious decision. Whether these things sink the movie or not is debatable, but they certainly distracted me.

However, The Young Victoria is also one of the best, most human love stories I've seen on the screen in many years. If what it shows us is factual, Victoria and Albert were a couple who really loved each other in every sense of the word, in spite of each others' mistakes, and in spite of the political maneuvering going on around them. Their refreshingly chaste courtship makes the intimacy they achieve in marriage that much more beautiful and satisfying: many of the scenes during their honeymoon period are highly sensual without being explicitly sexual, and the whole presentation just reeks of taste and class. But their relationship isn't idealized, either. They fight rather bitterly at one point, but make up later. (This scene does go rather over-the-top when Victoria accuses Albert for walking over her simply because she's a woman—a comment that seemed a little too modern in a movie that otherwise sticks close to the values of its period.)

Emily Blunt and Rupert Fiend do a beautiful job portraying this fascinating couple. Blunt manages to make Victoria a strong woman without falling into many of the standard Hollywood Strong Women clichés; again, she seems to be very much a woman of the period, but one with her own moral convictions. Friend's performance is similarly refreshing. Too often men in period movies are so charismatic and "in control" that they don't seem quite real; Friend's Albert, on the other hand, is timid, quiet, and has struggled with many of the same social inhibitions as Victoria. At the same time, he never comes across as a ninny. Kudos to them both!

The rest of the cast is quite strong, with Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, and Harriet Walter all giving laudable performances, but not star turns. This too is in keeping with the film: it is Victoria and Albert whom we are supposed to remember. The costumes and cinematography are simply gorgeous, and the soundtrack by Ilan Eshketi (whom people may know from Stardust) is going straight to the top of my wish-list.

Recommended to all costume drama lovers.
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A nice, loving portrait...
MartinHafer30 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
As a history teacher, watching this sort of film is pretty natural. However, it was actually my youngest daughter and her obsession with the British monarchy that got me to watch this film. I am happy to report that this film was far better than I expected, as I usually HATE costume dramas because they are very dull and stuffy--with way too much emphasis on clothing. "The Young Victoria" succeeds because it attempts to show the viewer insights into the personality of the princess--not just show you a series of events from her life that are re-created on screen.

When the film begins, Victoria is still a year from ascending to the throne. How her mother and her mother's lover attempt to manipulate her is the subject of the beginning of the film. However, surprisingly, who will manipulate and control her next seems to be the gist of the rest of the film. But, as Victoria was a strong woman, over time, she learned to strike a balance and chart her own course. This was not without a few hiccups along the way, however, and a few of them are shown in the film--though one of the more famous blunders of the period involving a dead lady-in-waiting is skipped--mostly because the film just wasn't long enough to include this sticky business.

Much of the last third of the film involves her marriage and learning to trust and rely on Albert to be her husband and confidant. I really liked this part of the film, as the movie became amazingly romantic and touching. According to the movie, Albert was one heck of a guy--knowing that he died extremely prematurely made this all the more touching.

All in all, there is a lot to like in the film--even if it DID take a few liberties with the truth. For example, when an assassin tried to shoot his new bride, Albert is shown shielding her--which he DID do. However, in this and two subsequent attempts by other maniacs, Albert was NOT shot in the process! It made for better drama to have him shot--but it's just not true. But, we sure wish it was!! By the way, I'd sure like to see some followup films from this production company--perhaps the middle period of her reign would be a great subject for another film--though I am sure a few would be turned off by how utterly sad such a film must be, as her beloved Albert died at only age 42.
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Victoria Sponge
nickyxmas6 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Britain's longest serving Monarch gets a style makeover in The Young Victoria, transforming her from a grief stricken Judi Dench to a young and feisty Emily Blunt (with snazzy clothes, pearly white teeth and a spray on tan).

The film follows Victoria as a queen in waiting, unable to take control of her life and the throne until she is 18. Imprisoned in her Kensington Palace, she is bullied by a power hungry politician who has been allowed to rule the family nest by her weak willed mother. All the while overseas her uncle is training a young Prince Albert the art of seducing the soon to be Queen in the hope of retaining some political advantage over his rivals in Europe. You can imagine the young Princess feeling trapped, used… almost like a pawn in some sort of chess match… well actually you don't need to imagine it, the obvious metaphors and visual imagery give it away. Constant shots of gates shutting, keys turning, and doors slamming do the trick and if this doesn't work the chess game between Victoria and Albert with all eyes watching should hammer it home.

The overburden narrative picks up pace once Victoria takes over the throne from William IV (played by a bellowing but amusing Jim Broadbent). The costumes and locations become more sumptuous as we are introduced to the world in which Victoria must find her feet. This she does, skipping lightly into her court only to be faced with the sudden realisation that life as a Queen can be a lonely one. She makes mistakes, faces tough decisions and relies on advisors that perhaps have their own interests in mind (draw your obvious comparisons to Cate Blancett's rip roaring Elizabeth I here). Sidelined in Germany, Albert must wait until he is summoned by the Queen to take his place by her side. Once he does the love story takes stride and it is satisfyingly sweet although not as bodice ripping as one might have hoped.

This is the crux of the problem; the film is merely satisfying on a visual leave, more Victorian Sponge than Crème Brule. The plot's political conspiracies are not deceptive enough to carry the story so tends to falter and the two love interests do not see enough of each other to make this film burn with passion. The decision to fictionalise parts of the story by allowing Prince Albert to get shot while trying to protect Victoria from an assassin just makes the flaws in the narrative all the more obvious. It is a shame because the cast is full of strong actors and the story of Queen Victoria and the era in which she reigned is fascinating. Personally I would like to have seen more of the intense desire and attraction that Albert and Victoria shared which produced nine children and led her to mourn his passing everyday for the 40 years that followed his death.

Stunning costumes - tick. Gorgeous scenery – tick. Romance and Intrigue at court – tick. The Young Victoria is a paint by numbers historical drama, beautiful to look at but could do with a little more originality and substance.
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It's not easy being Queen...
Chalice_Of_Evil30 August 2009
Having to have someone hold your hand whenever walk up and down stairs? Having others taste your food before you eat it? Everyone (including your overbearing mother) dictating how you live? These are only a few of the obstacles which the young Victoria has to deal with in this film (there's also the various power struggles going on, as well as attempts on her life). Needless to say, it makes for very fascinating and informative viewing.

I had only previously seen Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada (and little else). As she was in that film, she is once again the standout here. I was extremely impressed with her portrayal of the young Victoria, and thought she handled the role very well. She makes the transition from the young Victoria we meet at the start of the film to the Queen Victoria she becomes later entirely believable. Blunt is perfectly cast in the role, showing all the different sides (from the vulnerable, to the strong, from the young Victoria who makes mistakes to the Queen who takes control). Not enough can be said about Emily Blunt in this role. She's - quite simply - exquisite, commanding your attention every second she's on screen. She keeps you transfixed up to and including the final shot of the film.

Rupert Friend proves to also be well-cast as Victoria's love interest (and eventual husband), Prince Albert. The actors have nice chemistry and you absolutely believe in their developing relationship. They have their disagreements, but you can tell that they are in love. Blunt and Friend are excellent in every scene that they share and keep you interested in what is happening between Victoria and Albert. The other actors in the film are also very good. Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne, Miranda Richardson as the Duchess of Kent, Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy and Jim Broadbent as King William. There is not a single bad performance in this film. The less-focused-upon people are well-portrayed also, given what little screen time they have. Even Victoria's dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Dash) is memorable and makes an impact in the film.

Although the movie does tend to skip more than a few aspects of Victoria's life - especially at the end - and instead *tells* us what happened (with her and Albert) on screen, what matters the most is what we actually *see*. This is, after all, a film about 'The Young Victoria' (not 'The Middle-Aged Victoria', nor 'The Old Victoria'). While there are some embellishments made on history with this film, it remains focused on what it sets out to do - which is tell us the story of how the young princess rose to power.

The movie looks amazing, the costumes Emily Blunt wears are visually stunning and the music only adds to the film, never detracts from it. It's powerful (especially at the beginning when Victoria is crowned), it packs an emotional punch where needed and the end credits song performed by Sinead O'Connor is one you'll want to sit through. Like the film and lead performances, 'Only You' is simply beautiful. The movie is exceptionally shot and, unlike a lot of films these days, it is actually a good length, as it doesn't run on so long that you lose interest or feel that it's needlessly being drawn out.

It goes without saying that what makes this film so great is Emily Blunt. She's in fine form here, turning in another excellent performance and elevating this film above what it might have been, had another actress been cast in this rather important/historic role. This is one finely-crafted film, with excellent performances, that should definitely be seen. If you have an appreciation for a fascinating look at a woman who was extremely significant in history, this is a must-see.
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LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!!!!!! Great movie
BronzeKeilani2622 May 2009
One of those beautifully intense movies that draws us so intimately far in, it ends much to soon! Than were left looking at the screen like, "No they didn't!", lol. Good performances all around! The acting is marvelous with Emily Blunt simply outstanding! I knew she would give a solid, convincing performance catching young Victoria's regality, temper, and vulnerability through out the entire movie. Also, the production is outstanding in every way: style, substance and sensitivity. A remarkable glimpse at a remarkable time in Britian's history told via a very personal and touching biography of the school age princess until her reign as Queen, later marrying Prince Albert, than ending with the birth of their first of nine children. It had a well written screenplay and flawless editing. Rupert Friend as the ever so patient and compassionate young Prince Albert vying to win the young Queen's attention, than securing her love, before Lord Melbourne(Paul Bettany), was engrossing to watch. Just as engrossing was the relationship between the teenage Victoria and her mother, which was fury at times, as with her mother and King William (whom also disliked her mother). The acting and scenes were captivating, highly emotional.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in the historical and political situation existing in that era, and indeed, anyone who loves a compelling true romance story
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Games Royals Play
slokes16 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Emily Blunt displays enough star wattage to light up an Empire, and smart editing and sumptuous production design add to the overall positives of "Young Victoria." While not a particularly engaging or stimulating movie, it manages to keep one interested.

Blunt plays the title character, a teenager about to inherit the throne of Great Britain at about the time of its world-conquering zenith, 1837. Victoria is to be a constitutional monarch, bound by the strictures of popular will. She is also bound by other forces, including the connivances of a court that doesn't always wish her well. In such straits, she needs the love and support of Albert of Belgium (Rupert Friend), a real prince who also proves a prince of a guy.

"I know what it is to live alone inside your head," he tells her, "while never giving a clue as to your real feelings."

Friend presents Albert as a likeably awkward man of real depth, a deserving match for the ravishing Blunt. Like nearly every other reviewer here, I'm in awe of what she brings to the screen, beauty and charm in equal measure. I can't say she's a great actress here, just a compelling star with her two killer expressions, Earnestly Pained and Serenely Pleased.

That's all she needs, though, in a movie that works more by way of effective montage sequences than dramatic arcs or character building. "Young Victoria" tries something I haven't seen before, where one scene ends and another begins while both alternately play out on the screen for a minute or so of seamless cross-cutting. Director Jean-Marc Vallée and his editors, Jill Bilcock and Matt Garner, make this costume drama/chick flick an easy experience for those of us outside "Young Victoria's" target demographic, keeping information on a fast boil and served up with the right amount of energy and easy flair.

This helps a lot, considering any lack of real conflict. When you think of it, there's really nothing going on in this film that isn't resolved with considerable ease.

{SPOILERS} We are told in the opening moments that Victoria is fighting an attempt by a conniving noble to seize power from her by getting her to agree to a regency, but even before the title credit we see her saying no and pretty much settling that. The nasty noble manhandles Victoria a couple of times and even kicks a dog just so we can hate him better, but winds up out of gas by the time she takes the throne. Then we get a constitutional crisis that doesn't really seem serious, especially once Albert returns to claim his queen. Albert has his own people to get free of back home in Belgium, who want to profit politically from Albert's new love, but he just ignores them and that takes care of that. {SPOILERS END}

There is little to distract from the spectacle that seems "Young Victoria's" main purpose. Given the fantastic locations where the crew was allowed to film, you'd understand a tendency to bask in long costumed sequences with "Zadok The Priest" playing overhead, but Vallée doesn't stay static. Changing up camera angles and perspectives, he keeps his camera on Blunt and lets her stares and reactions fill the screen.

Most of the time she's ravishing. Sometimes she's even interesting. One moment, offering a rill in this otherwise still mill pond, features an argument with Albert where she screams at him about defying her queenly authority, even commanding him to stay so she can scream at him some more. He declines, saying he is concerned for the health of the unborn baby she carries, and leaves her to huff alone.

Blunt in that scene asks you to not simply bathe in her beauty, but laugh at her character, succeeding well enough to make you think she has a future in movies long after her cheeks lose their rosy glow. "Young Victoria" seems mostly about those cheeks, though, and doesn't do badly by them.
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Stately portrait of a young queen
Leofwine_draca7 January 2012
Taking place in the mid 19th century and at the height of the British Empire, THE YOUNG VICTORIA is a film that explores the early life of one of Britain's most famous monarchs. It's a beautifully shot film with a stately feel that moves along in its own time, building a tapestry populated with foreign princes, conniving politicians and overbearing family members. How much you'll enjoy it depends on your tolerance for pomp and splendour, because THE YOUNG VICTORIA is absolutely packed with it.

Given that the movie takes place during one of the most reserved eras of British history, it's no surprise that most of the cast give carefully mannered and subdued performances. Emily Blunt feels sufficiently regal in the part, although I never warmed to her character; her entire career seems to consist of playing a snob, and there's no exception here.

Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson all get important parts but are basic window-dressing, while Mark Strong is a shoehorned-in villain. Jim Broadbent has one excellent outburst during a dinner scene which really shakes things up. This film may not be entirely historically accurate, but it provides a neat counterpart to the popular royal topics in recent time s(i.e. 20th century or Tudor monarchs).
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myetvmedia recommends this romantic drama
etvltd7 October 2010
England, the centre of the British Empire, at the zenith of her power is about to crown young Victoria (Emily Blunt), queen. Director Jean-Marc Vallee does a masterful job bringing the glory, magnificence and intrigue of the Royal court to life replete with all the significant characters of the period. Rigid protocol and generations of power mongering lie behind every royal engagement, including the selection of a suitable king and husband for the future young queen.

This film exquisitely portrays this golden era and the complex characters that highlight this period of English history. At its essence this film is a beautiful and romantic love story that would change the course of history. Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) is sent by his scheming Belgian uncle King Leopold to win Victoria. Surprisingly, Victoria and Albert are taken with each other. Many pitfalls await the two young lovers. Impeccable attention to historical accuracy, remarkable performances from a stellar cast, and exceptional cinematography make this an outstanding production at every level... read more @ review/young-victoria/
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Victoria… not quite as special as Elizabeth
joker-41 October 2010
THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009), directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is a simple love story and performs a great job at romanticizing such by wooing the heart of many a teen and twenty-something girl who still wish they were a princess with a showcase of glamorous balls, elaborate costumes and a good-looking prince with a sharp accent. For every other demographic watching the film, this reviewer included, the political intrigue of a dying king, an overbearing mother and a manipulative PM, however, isn't quite as rewarding.

Emily Blunt, who, as it has been noted, fought for this role, passing on the opportunity to co-star in the comicbook film IRON MAN 2, proved that she had every right to play the monarch and did so with a beautifully royal countenance. Along side of her, Rupert Friend is both dashing and enjoyable as her loving paramour bringing an elegance to an otherwise everyman role.

Where the film fails, if the telling of two people successfully in love is a failure, is that aside from the romantic yearning and positively – ahem – Victorian dating rituals practiced within, the viewer does not get to witness the social policies that her reign was responsible for or any true conflict thereof. She has almost already won before the film ends. In contrast, Shekhar Kapur's ELIZABETH (1998) weds the yearning of romance with hard, state-wide deliberations and a very dangerous conflict, thus creating a more compelling film.

The conflict in this film comes as a result of two different characters and types of love. The first is Paul Bettany in an outstanding performance as Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria's PM. Melbourne courts Victoria and offers love but his is a love of power with wedding Victoria as a clever and manipulative means to grabbing all. The other is King William played by Jim Broadbent, truly the king of acting nobility, who loves his niece and realizes that his own paternal instincts were denied by allowing the Duchess of Kent, her mother, to control every aspect of the young soon-to-be-queen's life. Alas, Broadbent's scenes are shorter than a drink of champagne and Bettany's are as political as the U.S. President in any Jerry Bruckheimer presentation.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA is an enjoyable, romantic film to watch with clever dialogue and outstanding locations. However, the Young Victoria will always be a girl when compared the rich majesty that was Elizabeth.
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A Good Period Piece Depicting Queen Victoria's Early Life
sddavis6319 August 2010
This is first of all a beautiful period piece, with exquisitely designed sets and costumes. Set in the period just before and in the early years of Victoria's reign as Queen of England, there is a definite sense of authenticity that flows throughout this movie.

The story itself revolves essentially around two aspects of Victoria's early life. The first deals with the troubled relationships that existed within the royal family. Victoria's uncle was King William IV - a man who only became King at the age of 64 and had a touch of eccentricity about him. Since William was childless, the heir to the throne was his niece Victoria. Victoria's mother and her partner Sir John Conroy (who many believe was her lover) conspired to take control of England themselves by convincing Victoria to establish a regency. William, however, survived until Victoria's 18th birthday, and Victoria - hostile to Conroy and unsympathetic to her mother - refused to consider a regency, instead reigning in her own right. This was an interesting view of royal life and of some of the intrigues taking place behind the scenes, as well as a somewhat rare depiction of William IV, who's largely forgotten today. The second part of the story dealt with the growing relationship and eventual romance between Victoria and her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe, Coburg and Gotha. This took up the bulk of the movie, although I would say personally that I found the political machinations within and without the royal family more interesting. It was, however, a good (and corrective) look at a side of Victoria rarely reflected upon. The image we have of her tends to be of her later life - after Albert's death, when she went into extended mourning. Her name sums up an era (the Victorian) widely seen as passionless and, frankly, somewhat dull. Thus, it's refreshing to see Victoria shown as passionately in love with Albert (which she was in truth.)

Emily Blunt's performance as Victoria was top-notch, with Rupert Friend offering a very good performance as Albert. Friend was appropriately in Blunt's shadow for most of the movie, just as Albert would have been in Victoria's. This is an interesting take on Victoria's early life. It's not especially exciting, and adds nothing really that anyone with knowledge of the outline of Victoria's life wouldn't know already (which, of course, also means that it isn't hopelessly romanticized, although the scene in which Albert takes a bullet for Victoria is complete myth, as was the idea that was mentioned that Victoria's marriage made her more popular, when in fact her marriage to Albert was not popular at first with the public) but it's still a good watch.
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A nice story with lots of evening wear
moviemanMA25 April 2010
The Young Victoria luckily has a story, and even better than that, it has good actors. That's where a film like The Other Boleyn Girl fails. The acting just didn't match the characters. Emily Blunt, who has quickly risen up the ranks into Hollywood A-list status, gives one of her better performances, worthy of her Golden Globe nomination, as the famed English monarch Queen Victoria.

The film follows Victoria in the year leading up to her coronation and into the first few years of her reign, including her relationship of Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Victoria was a very protected and sheltered princess who was under constant surveillance by her mother and close friend and adviser. Victoria was next in line to take the crown once the King had passed, on so naturally a lot of attention as to when she would ascend to the thrown and how was being discussed. One thing is clear; Victoria does not want to be treated like a child.

Her budding romance with Prince Albert starts before she is made Queen. The Prince is selected to try and win her affection as a political ally, but one thing leads to another and the two become smitten with each other. Albert is aware that the two of them are very young and must look out for one another, especially in the realm of politics. So called "friends" can become powerful influences on the crown, especially in the case of Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), who imposes his political party's agenda upon the queen in a back door sort of way, surrounding her with his own people.

Victoria learns quickly, and so do we, that the game of politics is a dicey one. It's hard to see which side people are really on, and by the time you do it might be too late.

I was pleased with the pace and direction of this movie. It could have been too much about the fashion or too much about the politics, but it balanced the two out pretty well. Blunt and Friend are fine opposite each other, playfully going back and forth with their Victorian era flirtations. There is a definite bond their that shows up well on screen.

The rest of the cast does an excellent job. Bettany, Miranda Richardson as Victoria's mother the Duchess of Kent, Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy, the Duchess' adviser, and a nice cameo by Jim Broadbent as an ailing King William. Bettany in particular plays his role quite well, never really telling us whether he is helping the Queen out or trying to do good for himself alone.

The costumes are quite authentic and well made. They don't always distract the viewer's eye but at times they are a bit showy. I guess those were the times. The sets are incredibly detailed. I particularly liked the attention paid to the little knick-knacks and pieces of furniture in the bedrooms and studies. It felt like people were living there.

It wasn't a perfect film and it did have it's dull moments. I thought it ended nicely and didn't wander off to take us places where we didn't need to go.
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More like a Lifetime Cable Channel film than a major motion picture.
jaybob21 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The story of Queen Victoria & her beloved Consort Prince Albert,is one of the most beautiful romantic stories ever lived.

The events & lives portrayed occurred in the mid-19th century. I did not feel transported back to that time period.

Granted the settings & costumes were beautiful,BUT the atmosphere was too modern for me.

The screenwriter is mainly at fault, Julien Fellows should learn more about the period & people he writes about. A few years back he wrote the screenplay for GOSFORD PARK,luckily that film movie had Robert Altman to direct,his direction did help the weak screenplay seem better.

The director this time is Jean-Marie Vallee, his direction failed to bring these 2 dynamic personalities to life.

Emily Blunt is a good actress, she however was not Queen Victoria,besides the fact she was too tall,she was not convincing in many scenes, A better director would have made her more like the Victoria of history.

Rupert Friend as Albert, at least tried, he too could have benefited by a better director.

Paul Bettany was OK as Melbourne & all the other did give good , if not great performances/

As I said the sets & costumes were great,the film itself was not.

Ratings: **1/2 (out of 4) 72 points (out of 100) IMDb 6 (out of 100)
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A touching, pleasing historical epic.
MetalAngel21 April 2010
There's something about historical epics that make us movie fans flock to the movie theaters in raw expectation, and stop my beating heart if that historical epic were to be an accurate, well-researched and moving romance. What greater delight is there than watching a nice, good romance while learning a good portion of history, all enveloped in an exquisitely-crafted film? Jean-Marc Vallée's charming "The Young Victoria" skillfully lives up to the aforementioned characteristics, and creates a feel-good movie experience that has your heart guzzling and your mind racing in excitement throughout its entirety.

Yes, we love monarchs and their epic, larger-than-life experiences. One such monarch we all fondly remember is Queen Victoria, born in 1819 and assuming the throne at a very early age. King William (Jim Broadbent) is soon to die, Victoria is soon to come of age, and all around Europe rise interweaving conspiracies and plots to have Victoria sign an order of regency extending her powers to someone else and/or having someone seduce her with wit and modern political ideas and therefore influence her reign towards favoring a particular country or political party. But Victoria isn't as silly as everyone thinks, and she has a mind of her own...which is constantly been careened back and forth between diverging influences such as the Duchess of Kent's (Miranda Richardson) trying to make her renounce power to the evil Baron Stockmar, or Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany) gaining her favour to help establish himself as Prime Minister...or Albert Conroy (Rupert Friend), King Leopold's nephew, who begins to fall in love with her while being part of a plot to earn the queen's protection of the Belgians.

Among all these conspiracies and mind-boggling plots is the shy, growing romance between Victoria and Albert. The film is about history, politics and the nature of regents, but above all these subjects the love these characters feel triumph above all else and end up in one of the best regencies England has ever seen and one of the best love stories ever told. Jean-Marc Vallée does a wonderful job in toning down the film to a light-hearted level, where the history is enjoyable and where the love story unfolding isn't stale and clichéd but original and refreshing. And Emily Blunt's performance as the young, strong-willed and charming Victoria is excellent and enthralling; she wins you over from the start and opens up Victoria's heart and mind to the audience, making it easy for us to love Victoria the Woman and to relate to her and her life problems, no matter how epically different they are from our own.

The screenplay is dazzling, such as we've come to expect from screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), and the film has that sublime, breath-taking, age-old beauty we can expect from lush, sweeping cinematography, mellow and inviting score and top-notch costume design. It's a film that doesn't depend on the acting, screen-writing or directing alone, but whose every part fit perfectly together into a pleasing, well-coordinated whole.

The film never lags, but sometimes it carries a particular emotion too far to the point where it loses it strength, or sometimes it cuts abruptly between scenes (and countries) in its attempt to fully involve us in every conspiracy or in every character's setting that we lose interest in most of the secondary characters and await impatiently to the flowering, letter-driven romance between Victoria and Albert. And what's with the rushed ending? You're enjoying the film, completely taken in by the story, and all of a sudden we get a black screen with an epilogue. It's not a grand flaw of the film, but it does inhibit it from becoming a masterpiece to rival such productions as "Shakespeare in Love" or "Elizabeth".

I highly recommend it! It's a crowd-pleaser that will make you smile.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4!
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A love story that happens to be true.
Red-1255 April 2010
The Young Victoria (2009) directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is a love story between a young woman and a young man. What makes it an interesting movie is that the young woman happens to be the Queen of England. The love story between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert has been told many times. This particular account of their romance succeeds because of several factors. It has great production values, it has reasonable historical accuracy, and it has Emily Blunt as Victoria.

The production values are what we expect from a BBC-style historical drama. It's impossible to deny the pleasure of watching actors wearing period costumes as they move through great English manor houses and castles.

Experts in Victoriana point out lapses in historical details, but, as far as I can tell, the main historical aspects of the film are accurate. More importantly, the plot goes beyond politics to emphasize the stultifying atmosphere in which Victoria was raised. Until she reaches her majority, her life is ruled by her overbearing mother. The fact that Victoria survived this upbringing with her psyche more or less unscathed is a testament to her psychological resilience. This makes the story more than simply a historical drama.

Emily Blunt is perfect as the young Victoria. Her attractive features are enhanced by her flawless, glowing complexion. She does, indeed, bear a likeness to portraits of Queen Victoria as a young woman, and she is as convincing in her role as Helen Mirren was as Queen Elizabeth II.

This movie is worth seeing as a love story and as a study of the psychological attributes of a young woman whose circumstances have made her a queen. It will lose something on a small screen, but it's worth seeking out on DVD if unavailable in a theater.

P.S. A special exhibition of art collected by, and portraying, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert will be shown at the Queen's Gallery in London through October 31, 2010.
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