Representations of Queen Victoria's Agency in Films and Miniseries

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Maggie LeGrand (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:

Abstract: This thesis examines the representations of Queen Victoria's agency through films and miniseries. For the selection of the films and miniseries had to be released in the twentieth century and present Queen Victoria in a historical context. In the films and miniseries , several common themes are depicted in Victoria's life , such as morality , seclusion , assassinations , intruder , and gender roles. All of these highlight the different phases in Victoria's life that have defined her reign. Before the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign , the monarchy had suffered through several immoral kings. These kings were Victoria's uncles who soiled the reputation of the monarchy due to their numerous affairs and illegitimate children. The monarchy under Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert's agency would be represented as a moral and middle class family that would not tolerate immoral behavior. Victoria was secluded twice in her life , once in her childhood and once as an adult. Her agency has been demonstrated as a young woman with good intentions , wanting to rebel from her mother , the Duchess of Kent , and her advisor , Sir John Conroy. After the death of her husband Prince Albert , Victoria goes into a ten year seclusion which causes political havoc in Parliament. During her time as queen , Victoria was a victim of seven assassination attempts. In films and miniseries , the first assassination attempt is dramatized to show the growing and complex relationship between Victoria and her new husband Albert. Another attempt on Victoria's life occurred when she leaves a thanksgiving service for her eldest son , the Prince of Wales , who has recently recovered from illness. The attempt his thwarted by her servant John Brown. Initially in their marriage , Victoria had the more dominant male role of being sovereign and Albert wanted to be known more for than being the husband of the Queen. Albert began to take a bigger role in politics and took over many of the Queen's roles. Although Victoria was a powerful queen , she wanted to be represented as a traditional middle class subordinate to her husband , Prince Albert. When he died unexpectedly from typhoid , Victoria had to learn all over again how to be queen. The grieving queen could not imagine making speeches again without her husband by her side and would not allow for her son , the Prince of Wales , to take her place due to his immoral behavior. Films and miniseries have represented Victoria's later years as her slowly returning to her public role during her Golden and Diamond Jubilees , after the Prince of Wales recovers from the same fever that killed his father. Victoria's death was a devastating blow to many of her subjects but her long and fascinating life has allowed filmmakers to represent her agency during the various stages of her existence.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018

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