When it comes to making a period drama like “Victoria” soar, being able to give audiences a detailed glimpse into the behind-the-scenes nature of an important historical figure is crucial.
To help bring the personality of Queen Victoria out of the pages of history books and to the television screen, lead actress Jenna Coleman studied the monarch’s private thoughts.
“I had access to [Queen Victoria’s] diaries, which was great,” revealed Coleman in a 2017 interview with Vulture. “I’ve read so many biographies, but I’m always looking for certain details which give me access to her character and her psychology. Her diaries are so methodological in a lot of ways. You can find out what she ate for breakfast, and what time she did this, and what time she rose, and what time she did everything. The detail is crazy.”
One particular aspect that fascinated Coleman about Queen Victoria was how fast she had to mature in order to take on a role of great responsibility and expectation. While that type of drastic lifestyle change could paralyze some, the young Queen was able to turn her sudden ascent to the throne into a liberation of sorts.
“Victoria was famous for being a passionate queen, so to speak. It was a real revelation to me what a lust for life she had, and how romantic she was in lots of ways,” said Coleman. “When she became queen at the age of 18, at that point she had never been in a room with a man on her own before, and now she had to govern the nation.”
Continued Coleman: “[Queen Victoria] had never even slept in a bedroom by herself because her mother was so controlling. She even wasn’t allowed to walk downstairs without holding somebody’s hand. So the day she became queen effectively was like being set free.”