I finally sat down to watch Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria (2009). After seeing the abundance of positive reviews, I was intrigued. If you’re looking for a good historical romance/drama, pick this one on Netflix! You can stream it. (I love Netflix!)
It was refreshing to see some great relationship-courting-marriage motifs in the movie. Even though the union was trying to be forced upon Princess Victoria and Prince Albert, it was notable to see that when they relaxed and were themselves with each other, they began falling in love. Albert transitions from anxious, forced manners to opening up about his unique tastes in books and music, which they begin to appreciate in each other. I particularly love how their relationship develops and matures steadily over the course of a few years through letter-writing and several visits, rather than on the impulse of the moment. And when they finally do marry, I just love how you can see genuine happiness and freedom on both of their parts, and how the movie shows some of that maturity over time as they both learn to sacrifice for each other in their marriage.
Some of my favorite lines:
One of their first conversations: Albert’s views on marriage:
V: You don’t recommended I find a husband to play it for me?
A: I should find one to play it with you, not for you.
As a prince, he could not propose to the Queen, and after a few years of reigning on her own, Victoria proposed to Albert on October 15th, 1839. I found this through some quick research, apparently taken from her memoirs:
I said to him that I thought he must be aware why I wished him to come here and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (to marry me); we embraced each other over and over again and he was so kind, so affectionate; Oh! To feel I was, and am, loved by such an Angel as Albert was too great a delight to describe! He is perfection; perfection in every way- in beauty- in everything! I told him that I was quite unworthy of him… he said he would be very happy… and was so kind and seemed so happy, that I felt it was the happiest brightest moment in my life, which made up for all I had suffered and endured.
She added that she would strive to make him feel as little as possible the great sacrifice he has made;
(I) told him it was a great sacrifice- which he wouldn’t allow…
They were married on February 10th, 1840.
Psst- isn’t that so gentlemanly? Using his hat to shield his wife?
Their first morning together:
V: Now I am quite married.
A: You know when we’re old…
A: … surrounded by our children. You will remember this as the day our lives began.
V: Not too surrounded, please. And not too soon.
A: I should warn you that I am expecting a very large family.
Isn’t Albert awesome? They obviously never quarreled on this issue. They had nine children!Rock on! Marriage as a lasting and fruitful union!
The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
-Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Point 2363
Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.
-Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Point 2366
And I enjoyed this quarrel- well, my husband enjoyed it more:
V: I will not have my role usurped! I wear the crown! And if there are mistakes they will be my mistakes, and no one else will make them! No one, not even you!
A: I am leaving before you excite yourself and harm the child.
V: You will go when I dismiss you. I am your queen, and I am telling you to stay!
A: Good night, Victoria.
V: [storms over to door] You may not go! You may not go! I order you to stay here in this room! Albert!
Albert, head of the household regardless of his wife being his sovereign, puts his foot down. . . as it should be.
And the scene where Albert takes a bullet for his wife. . .
V: Why did you do it? So stupid, why did you do it?
A: I had two very good reasons. First, I am replaceable and you are not.
V: You are not replaceable to me!
A: Second, you’re the only wife I’ve got or ever will have. You are my whole existence, and I will love you until my very last breath.
As time goes on, the Queen learns to rule with her husband rather than independently, and I think the point was well made- a nice counter-cultural message that our society needs to hear. Ring any bells from Ashley’s earlier post here?
I also love the simple scene where Victoria bids farewell to her lady-in-waiting who had practically raised her, and we see how she moves her husband’s desk next to hers. She is learning to be one with her husband in all things.
*Edited to add*
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. . . Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
The CCC on Conjugal fidelity :
2364: The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.”146 Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.147 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”148
Have I convinced you yet to watch this movie? What were your favorite scenes?
Source of pictures & memoir quote.