In 1838, at the age of 18, young princess Alexandrina's life is transformed when she ascends the throne of Great Britain and becomes Queen Victoria. Suddenly finding herself freed of the repressive shackles placed on her by her mother's advisor, Conroy, she builds a new alliance with the charismatic prime minister Lord Melbourne.
Lord Melbourne's resignation as Prime Minister leaves Victoria devastated. As Lord Melbourne's popularity in the house wanes, the Tories eagerly await their imminent triumph, while the Duke of Cumberland views it as a chance to prey on his niece's vulnerability.
A Chartist uprising in Newport underlines the instability of the monarchy. King Leopold suggests to Victoria that she consider Prince Albert as a possible consort, a development that results in the young queen being surrounded by suitors.
Prince Albert arrives in England for the first time, and he and Victoria take an instant dislike to each other in an awkward first encounter. Below stairs, Albert's valet clashes with the royal servants, while Skerrett is visited by a girl in need of money.
Melbourne warns Victoria that Parliament will not be happy about her marrying a German prince, a prediction that proves all too accurate when the Privy Council refuse to grant Albert a royal title. The prince fears for his future in England, while Victoria succumbs to paranoia, becoming convinced that he only intends to marry her for the financial independence he will gain.
Albert feels he needs a greater role in public affairs, and becomes involved in the anti-slavery movement. Victoria matches wills with the Duke of Sussex to see that her husband is granted more respect, while Skerrett faces a dilemma when she realises that the only person who can save her cousin and child from certain death is the man she trusts the least.
The queen becomes pregnant, and declares that Albert will become head of state in the event of her death. The developments outrage members of the Tory party, who fear a German prince holding sway over the nation and make arrangements to disrupt his visit to the industrial north. The consort finds an unlikely ally in Sir Robert Peel, who seeks royal approval for the rapidly developing railway. At first, Victoria does not approve, but soon changes her mind when she experiences Peel's creation for
A heavily pregnant Victoria is frustrated by both Albert and her mother's attempts to confine her to the Palace. Cumberland arrives in London, hoping that Victoria may die in childbirth, as he is still the heir Presumptive. Determined to show herself in public, Victoria goes for a drive and is accosted by an unhinged admirer, desperate to free her from her ‘German tyrant'. Whilst Victoria is taken aback, she is resolute that it will not frighten her and despite Albert's misgiving, goes out
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