February 28, 2011

Happy Mon. Nice day here. Cool at -27. The temps have been fairly mild for this time of year.

Yokelly, we watched a great BBC production about Queen Victoria and her German-born husband Prince Albert called “Victoria and Albert.“ It runs about 3 hours and is very absorbing. From 2001, I believe. The acting is excellent, the sets and costumes are outstanding, it’s educational and entertaining. What more could a person want? Victoria was 18 when she became Queen. She had been sheltered by a controlling mother and mom’s greedy boyfriend (her father died when she was young). She and Albert met when they were both 17. They met again three years later and Victoria, now Queen, proposed to Albert (it would have been impertinent for him to propose to her). He accepted, though he did not love her.

Albert had to stomach many indignities as a foreigner. He had no real power except through his wife. She slowly came to realize he was a shrewd and hardworking administrator and she gave him more and more tasks, despite centuries of encrusted tradition. The chamberlain could light a fire in the hearth but could not fetch the coal. House staff could wash the inside of the windows but not the outside, which was the prerogative of the grounds staff. Security was lax. When a man attempted to assassinate Victoria in her open carriage, Albert knocked the man down and ordered the carriage driver to get a move on. Albert was the force behind the Great Exhibition of 1851, a high water mark of the British Empire. He encouraged reform at the universities. They had 7 children, though Victoria was not especially fond of children. Albert died at 42 and Victoria was queen for another 40 years, dying in the 61st year of her reign and giving her name to an era. Highly recommended. Suitable for family viewing.

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