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Breaking the Ice: Tom Hughes on Queen Victoria & Albert’s Bond

When Victoria took the throne as Queen at the age of 18, her whole life was turned upside down. Not only was she tasked with becoming the figurehead of a country, but also external expectations that she wasn’t interested in embracing. One such external expectation was marriage and the tough process of picking the right suitor.

After much debate and manoeuvring, Queen Victoria soon chose her cousin Albert, a man she at first had little interest in considering. But alas, the two – despite their differences – found a way to come together and stay married for more than 20 years.

“There’s definitely a frostiness between them to begin with,” explains actor Tom Hughes, the man who stars in ‘Victoria’ as Albert. “When Albert was five his mother left him and his brother and ran off with his father’s equerry. She then passed away a few years later. So Albert’s relationships with women would naturally have been coloured by that and therefore there is a necessary reticence with Victoria, not just because she is female but because of everything she brings to the table.

“We are not just talking about a young man and woman falling in love, we are talking about the Queen of England choosing a suitor and there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with that and a degree of detachment from who he is,” he continues. “He would have to support her and provide a role within a system that he doesn’t really know. Albert’s more sensitive side is exacerbated in this situation because of who Victoria is.”

Interestingly, Hughes holds up Victoria and Albert’s relationship as the polar opposite to that of one of literature’s most iconic, romantic couples: Romeo and Juliet.

“In a way it is the opposite of Romeo and Juliet,” offers Hughes. “There are two lovers going against their families’ wishes because of this attraction. Whereas with Victoria and Albert, we show the transition of not wanting to do what they have been told to do to, then realizing this magnetism is very much there, to then taking control to such a degree that they get ownership of their relationship.”

This week on “Victoria” (Tuesday, April 25 at 8pm ET/5pm PT), Albert immediately puts Victoria on the defensive, but despite her protestations of indifference, she struggles to hide her true feelings and faces a difficult choice between the comfortable familiarity of Melbourne and the enthralling but prickly Albert.

-Adam Grant

WATCH: The Relationship of Victoria and Albert