Jenna Coleman as Victoria in episode 8

Victoria: Young England

Previously on Victoria: Victoria found out she was pregnant, which did not delight her. But the railroad does, as she and Albert start checking out this whole ‘modern living’ thing.

Victoria’s reaching the end of her third trimester, and like many women at that time, she is OVER IT. Also, it’s getting a bit creepy, because the vultures are starting to circle already, the staff are tense, and everyone keeps bringing up Princess Charlotte again and again and again. We GET IT. She died young and tragically in childbirth. How come nobody’s countering that with the many, many women in Victoria’s family who came through it just fine? Like Charlotte’s grandmother, who produced fifteen children without a problem? Or Victoria’s own mother, who obviously survived?

Leopold comes over to just hang around, because, being King of the Belgians, he has absolutely nothing better to do. And Ernst shows up as well, ostensibly to support his brother, but really to continue his ‘flirtation’ with the Duchess of Sunderland. He winds up in her bedroom one night, at her invitation, and when Albert scolds him yet again, Ernst basically says, ‘Yeah, I could have tapped that, but I didn’t, because I respect you, Albert. All I got was a lock of hair.’ Which, to many Victorians, was basically the same as having sex anyway. It was a hugely intimate thing, is what I’m saying.

Guess who else is back? Cumberland. He takes time out of being a complete despot over in Hanover to smirk and look smug and straight-up threaten his niece with assassination. That last bit was so ludicrous I actually laughed. The real Cumberland publicly declared he’d take a bullet for his niece, and even if he did mean her harm, it’s insane to think he’d stroll into the throne room at Buckingham Palace and threaten her so blatantly in front of her mother, husband, and the Belgian king. That’s just stupid.

But the show tries really, really hard to make us think that, when an assassination attempt is made (a man named Edward Oxford shoots at Victoria while she’s out on a drive with Albert), Cumberland is behind it. Even though we all know now that Oxford was a lunatic acting as a lone wolf who probably fired weapons that weren’t loaded anyway.

So, life goes on. Oxford is arrested and found to be insane and locked away. Victoria decides she’s not going to follow in her mother’s footsteps and breastfeed, so it’s up to Lehzen and Miss Jenkins to feel a bunch of new mothers up to find a wet nurse. Not in their original job descriptions, I’m guessing.

Belowstairs, Francatelli is given the opportunity to open his own establishment. He invites Miss Skerrett to join him, and she considers it. She has a talk with her friend, who essentially points to her own kid and says, ‘this is where flirty dinners get you. Keep your job, honey.’ So Miss S turns Francatelli down and he leaves without even saying goodbye and she’s very sad.

Victoria finally goes into labour and breaks with all sorts of traditions. Albert is with her. The courtiers clumped at the door are sent away. She delivers a healthy baby girl and refuses to die in the ordeal, so Cumberland pouts and retreats to Hanover. Victoria and Albert coo over their newborn baby and decide to call her – you guessed it! – Victoria. I already feel a little sad, knowing what’s in store for that poor kid.

Back next year, everybody!

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