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An Early Royal Event – 'Victoria & Albert: The Wedding'
January 12, 2019  | By David Hinckley

On the understandable premise that we colonists can’t get enough of all things Royal, PBS will supplement the premiere of this year’s Victoria series with a documentary on Victoria’s real-life wedding.

Logically titled Victoria & Albert: The Wedding, this deep dive will air Sunday and the following Sunday at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings), directly following the first two episodes of Victoria Season 3.

Warning: While The Wedding dramatizes numerous scenes as it chronicles the extravaganza’s backstory, it does not feature Jenna Coleman, who plays Victoria in the main series, or any of her colleagues.

The roles in The Wedding are mostly non-speaking, primarily used as tableaus and illustrations while various Royals experts fill in the narration.

The backstory of the wedding was covered in the Victoria mothership itself, and viewers who watch The Wedding will recognize the highlight bullet points.

Victoria became queen in 1837 as a teenager, seeing this promotion as a fearsome challenge, but also her first chance to assert herself and get out from under her smothering mother.

She scored points early in her reign and also made a couple of serious mistakes. Within three years she needed something to restore public confidence in the monarchy.

Her immediate successor had done nothing except erode that confidence, and now the presence of a young girl on the throne – a girl not even the daughter of a previous king or queen – was making increasing numbers of subjects question whether the country should abolish the position altogether.

The solution, sexist as it might sound to modern ears, was that Victoria had to marry. This would ensure there was a man around to help talk some sense into her when necessary and would also mean she could start producing direct-line heirs.

There had never been any question the marriage would be arranged, as royal marriages almost everywhere were transactions designed to strengthen alliances and bloodlines.

Albert was a German prince, which was a problem though not a deal breaker.

More importantly, Victoria’s primary advisor, Lord Melbourne, realized that once the wedding had been set, it needed to come off perfectly and provide such a spectacle that it made the whole country proud to continue to be subjects.

Her coronation, The Wedding reminds us, had become an unfortunate series of gaffes. Among other things, the Archbishop placed her ring on the wrong finger.

So the wedding was planned with the precision of a military invasion. Victoria would wear white, the first time that had been a signature bridal color. They had a breakfast on the day of the wedding at which 1,000 courses were served. The wedding cake weighed 300 pounds, much of it brandy.

In fact, the planning and the ancillary issues were so extensive that we don’t get to the nuptials themselves until the second night of The Wedding.

No matter. We do love our Royals details, and this show is as stuffed with trivia about lace making and petticoats as the cake was stuffed with fruit and brandy.

Do we take this woman? We certainly do.

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