“From now on, I wish to be called Victoria.”
It’s so very close to Wednesday and I think it’s high time that I select a Woman Crush Wednesday for this week. This is something that I’ve done a few times already here on the blog (Tip: Search “Woman Crush Wednesday” in the little Search box at the bottom of this page to see all my past selections!), but I haven’t done so in awhile. I think it’s definitely time to do so today, however, since I encountered quite a remarkable female this past weekend.
~ Queen Victoria ~
She’s a very special person, not just to me, the overly enthusiastic Victorianist, but also to a whole nation of people who were given such a rich history through her. ITV (a television station in the United Kingdom) has recently produced a miniseries exploring the life of the young Queen Victoria. The series stars Jenna Coleman in the titular role, and the extended trailer and a first look clip were released this weekend. (You can find a link to the clip on my Twitter page.)
Now, although I am a huge fan of the time period to which Queen Victoria lends her name, I have to admit that my knowledge of the political aspects of her reign is limited to the information I could glean while reading the novels popular in her era. The facts I have heard, though, are very interesting and intriguing – I know that she became queen at the incredibly young age of 18, and that she was one of the first monarchs to marry for love. Her relationship with Prince Albert is much lauded and they still serve as an example of a great romance for the ages.
I can’t say that I’ve ever sat down and read a book just about Queen Victoria, so it is probably about time that I do that. Furthermore, I think it’s about time that a miniseries like this one is released – the Victorian era was so monumental from a cultural perspective, but it was also a time period that symbolized massive achievements for women. Female authors (the Brontë sisters and Elizabeth Gaskell among them, to name my favourites) began to take more risks during this age in literature, and women began to be more vocal and strong, which is no surprise considering they had such a great idol and example in their queen. The Victorian era is also important in that it shaped how humans began to understand themselves – sex and morals were major topics of discussion in the Victorian era, and individuals started to question the standards of propriety that had been in place for so many years. There was much upheaval and change at this time, but also many advancements in several sectors, and many significant literary theorists (most notably Michel Foucault) continue to assert that modern individuals are in fact still very much Victorian.
It’s time, then, for us to get to know the special woman who named an era but who also did a great deal for her own people and for society at large. So far, I think this ITV series is going to be excellent! I believe that Jenna Coleman was perfectly cast in this role. In the clip, we see her as somewhat shy and timid, but there are moments when we are given a glimpse of the powerful and influential monarch she will become. Her demeanour is quiet enough to be lovable and get the viewer on her side, but there is also a ferocity and a confidence about her that is crucial to such a role. She delivers all of her lines with grace and elegance, as is customary for the time period, but there is also a bit of fire behind them, which is something I love to see in a female character and something that I believe is highly characteristic of the Victorian era. The moment when Victoria asserts her name and demands that she be called “Victoria” moving forward is just the perfect example of this strength, and I believe that this one scene sums up the essence of who Victoria was and can be for all young women. She was a woman in an extraordinary position who named herself, who maintained her own identity despite the pressures around her. That is the true making of a Woman Crush Wednesday, and I am eager to grow to look up to Queen V even more than I already do.
I urge you all to check out the clips ITV released – and get ready for lots of raving about the series when it finally premieres!
Girl with a Green (and Victorian) Heart