“The Young Victoria
 
            “The Young Victoria” is a valentine to the Queen who ruled Britain for 63 years.  Even in her childhood, she knew she was the only heir to the throne.  In this depiction, she is not really overly ambitious, and doesn’t seem to be enamored with all the trappings of power, and is particularly put off by the political machinations of those around her, especially the ones who wish to take her rightful place away from her.
            Her father is dead, and her mother’s assumed lover, Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong) first begs, then demands, then insists, then commands in a rage that she hand over her regency to him, because she is too young and inexperienced.  The more he rants, the more she becomes quietly convinced that this man does not need to be in power.  Her uncle, King William (Jim Broadbent), feels the same way, and is determined to hang on until Victoria reaches her majority, at age 18--and he does, barely.
            And so The Young Victoria (Emily Blunt) quietly puts away the things of a child (though she’s pretty much been a prisoner of the castle all her life, anyway), and suddenly assumes power in a country that is truly a world power.  She tries hard not to be overwhelmed.  She’s getting advice from everywhere, but even the people she decides to trust, most notably Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), themselves come under unscrupulous scrutiny.  The Parliament, especially the minority, seems always in an uproar.  The populace, at first charmed, then impatient, and then angrily demonstrative, seems too fickle to govern by their whims, either.  The best advice Lord Melbourne gives her is to trust her instincts.  And her instincts lead her toward Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), who resides in Germany .
            We watch The Young Victoria struggle even with appointing her house maids.  We wince when the political bombasts try to run roughshod over her.  And we quietly rejoice when her instinct about Prince Albert proves to be right.  He is a gentleman, and loves her truly, and understands that he is not primary in this relationship.  Nevertheless, he still has his own pride, and The Young Victoria must figure out where he fits into the palace power structure, without giving up her own authority, which she has so tenaciously clung to, despite all advice to the contrary.  Even at the cost of estrangement with her mother.
            Emily Blunt plays this role with a quiet, unemotional demeanor that befits her royal station.  Though we do see her “let her hair down” a little, literally and figuratively, in her intimate encounters with Prince Albert , those precious moments of relaxed intimacy are precious and few.  Mostly, she attends the business of being Queen, and over a period of time, it becomes clear to those around her that she really has grown into this position, and she really does have the well-being of her subjects at heart, and the crown really does fit her well.  It would be England ’s blessing for the rest of the 19th century, a time of great prosperity for the British Empire .  And even those of us who are not monarchians can understand how just the right person on the throne can enhance the well-being of an entire nation. (Psalm 72)
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas