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The Young Victoria tells the story of Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt)'s early years, beginning with her isolated childhood with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her tyrannical aide John Conroy; her headstrong reactions to the attempts of her mother, her uncles King William IV of the UK and King Leopold of Belgium, and her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, to control her; and the beginning of her lifelong romance with her cousin and future husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
This film provides examples of the following:
- Artistic License: Albert was not actually wounded during the assassination attempt; the director stated he put that in to make it more dramatic.
- The Queen HRM ER II got a sneak preview and didn't like this bit. Apart from this event, the film is mostly an aversion of this trope.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Played twice for good measure.
- British Royal Family: Literally as well as figuratively. Princess Beatrice of York, the real Queen Victoria's great-great-great-great-granddaughter, has a small part in the film as one of Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. (The film was produced by Princess Beatrice's mother.)
- Cool Old Guy: The Duke of Wellington.
- Dances and Balls
- Evil Matriarch: The princess has a very difficult relationship with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who under the influence of Evil Chancellor Sir John Conroy controls the princess's every move and conspires to browbeat her into allowing the Duchess (and consequently Conroy) the regency until well into her adulthood. Upon her accession, Victoria banishes her mother to a far corner of Buckingham Palace and turfs Conroy altogether. Happily, she can rely on the counsel of her kindly aunt, the dowager Queen Adelaide, and eventually thaws slightly to her mother after the birth of her first daughter.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Oh yes, including Princess Curls. The film even won an Academy Award for its Gorgeous Period Dress.
- Happily Ever After: The real Victoria and Albert more or less got to do this, going on to have nine children and a very successful monarchy, until his death.
- Held Gaze: Victoria and Albert have one long gaze into each other's eyes as they waltz together at the ball to celebrate Victoria's becoming Queen of England.
- Heroic Bystander: When Victoria is shot at, the man standing next to the shooter immediately wrestles the gun away from him.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: The Duchess of Kent is Queen Elizabeth, while King William is Professor Kirke/Slughorn, John Conroy is Prince Septimus/Lord Blackwood, King Leopold I is Alcide Nikopol and Lord Melbourne is Stephen Maturin.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: The historical Sir John Conroy, while indeed an adventurer and a nasty piece of work, nevertheless was not so stupid as to physically abuse the future Queen of England.
- Hollywood Old: Lord Melbourne was 58 when Victoria became queen. Paul Bettany had just celebrated his 38th birthday when he played the role.
- Hot Consort: Oh yes.
- I Was Quite a Looker: That too.
- Kick the Dog: Literally; after violently manhandling Victoria (a scene which she promises she will never forgive her mother for standing by and watching), John Conroy actually kicks her dog, Dash, as she storms from the room.
- Kissing Cousins: Albert was Victoria's first cousin; his father was her mother's brother.
- The Man Behind the Man: The whole movie is about how she thwarts everyone vying to control her: her mother and her advisor; King William (who mostly just wants to die after she turns 18, so she can become Queen with no regency); King Leopold (whose tyrannical attitude is exaggerated - actually he was her favourite uncle); and Lord Melbourne (whom the real Victoria loved dearly). Melbourne, at least, is portrayed as genuinely caring for the young Queen and mostly having her best interests at heart; but he was, of course, a politician.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Played subtly at the start, then amped up with the whole "let him rule with you" bit.
- Pet the Dog: At the end of his appointment as Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne admits that some of his counsel to Victoria may have not been in her best interest and asks Victoria for her forgiveness. He also advises for Victoria for the last time, asking her to trust in Albert, despite all the animosity Albert may have with Lord Melbourne.
- Playing Against Type: A behind-the-camera example; produced by Martin Scorsese, of all people.
- Real Life Relative: See: British Royal Family above.
- Rebellious Princess: Victoria fights off the determined attempts of her mother and John Conroy to control her and force her to accept a regency.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite the dissuasions of her Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, who didn't think much of the common lot of mankind, Victoria is anxious to help the poor, and Albert endears himself to her by being abubble with ideas on the subject.
- Shown Their Work: King William IV's astonishing public tirade against the Duchess of Kent at his birthday dinner is not only not exaggerated, much of it is quoted verbatim.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: After Victoria is crowned, Lord Melbourne announces to John Conroy and the Duchess of Kent that they would not be living together with the queen in the palace, effectively cutting off all influence they may have over her. The two get very upset, alternatively threatening and appealing to Lord Melbourne's better nature. In the middle of Conroy's rant, Lord Melbourne effectively cut both of them off with this.
Lord Melbourne: I'm sorry. I see I have not expressed myself clearly. You have played the game... and lost.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Victoria muses extensively on how to avoid being controlled or making mistakes due to her youth and inexperience.
- Young Future Famous People: The main character.