Tom Hughes, Jenna reveal how Albert
s Albert finally begins to court the Queen in this week’s Victoria, you immediately see why he was once described as ‘the handsomest prince in Christendom’.
After all, The Game’s Tom Hughes is playing him and he ticks every one of the tall, dark and handsome boxes.
‘It certainly wasn’t just Albert’s mind that Victoria fell in love with,’ teases the drama’s writer, Daisy Goodwin.
In fact, it was an entry in Victoria’s own diaries that first grabbed Daisy’s attention years ago, when she was studying history at Cambridge.
‘Before then, I’d always thought of the Queen as a boot-faced old bag in a bonnet, gazing out from marble statues in town halls across the country,’ she laughs, ‘but there it was in black and white, with exclamation marks and underlinings… “How handsome dearest Albert looks in his white cashmere breeches. With nothing on underneath!”
‘You think of Victorian women laying back and thinking of England, but the Queen herself most certainly wasn’t one of them.’
Coleman and Victoria writer Daisy Goodwin won over his reluctant Royal...
Daisy returned to the deeply personal diaries when it came to writing the series, which centres on Victoria’s early years and marriage to Albert, her first cousin. She was just 20 when they tied the knot.
‘It’s an odd love story,’ Daisy says, ‘the reverse of Romeo and Juliet really, because it was their families who were pushing them together, while they at first resisted.
‘Victoria was broken-hearted after her marriage proposal to
Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) was kindly but firmly turned down. She’d resigned herself to ruling alone like Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, until Albert showed up and it was like, “Oh!”’
Albert also had his own emotional baggage. ‘When he was five, his mum ran off with one of his father’s equerries and Albert never saw her again, so he didn’t exactly trust women. But both of them were looking for their soulmates. And that’s exactly what they found in each other.’
For 30-year-old Tom, who stars alongside Jenna Coleman as Victoria, the role was both challenging and rewarding.
‘It was about playing someone with huge complexities,’ he says. ‘On the outside,
Albert can seem quite detached and reserved – someone who doesn’t have
Lord Melbourne’s easy charm. He’s a mathematician with a logical mind and yet beneath the surface, he’s also strident and passionate, with a really independent spirit.
‘Plus, you have to remember this isn’t just a young couple falling in love. We’re talking about a monarch choosing a suitor and all the responsibility that comes with that.
‘He’d have to support her and provide a role within a system that he doesn’t really know. And as a young German – just 19 – Britain must have felt so foreign, with a totally different style, tone and rhythm. Highlighting all those complexities was the challenge.’
For Daisy, Tom proved the perfect Albert. ‘He captures both the vulnerable, sensitive side that loved Victoria, but also his sheer intelligence. And, if you ask me, he was the brightest ever member of the Royal family. A genius.
‘He was also a proper oldfashioned Liberal who worked for the abolition of slavery, for example, and who guided Victoria away from some of her more hot-headed ways.’
Tom was always Daisy’s number one choice for Albert. ‘I loved him in The Game. And he was definitely Jenna’s choice, too. They’re old friends and when Tom came in to audition, Jenna came with him and they’d obviously been practising. You could see that they were right together and utterly convincing.’
Ask Jenna about some of the best filming moments and they’re not the big scenes such as the coronation and the wedding. ‘Of course, they were amazing,’ she says, ‘but the ones that really knocked me out were some of the quiet scenes between Tom and me, where he’d just give me a certain look or I’d see him walking towards me.
‘As actors, there was so much trust between us and we always seemed to have exactly the same instincts. It was joyous.’
Although, as Jenna reveals, the drama doesn’t shy away from the bedroom, it’s the intimacy – rather than the sex – that will win audiences over. ‘It’s about the human connection between them and explains why, after Albert died so young, Victoria spent the rest of her life in mourning.’
That is, perhaps, the inevitable sad consequence of being married to the handsomest prince in Christendom...
Albert is passionate, with a really independent
spirit It’s reigning men...
Daisy says Tom captures Albert’s vulnerability and fierce intelligence
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