Masterpiece on PBS unveiled a new series about Queen Victoria in January, adding to the focus on the British monarchy that Netflix’s The Crown, about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, had sparked.
These queens of Great Britain offer many research paper topics, from their places in history to the current revisionist reading of their legacies.
British monarchy—fact and fiction
The current fascination with the royals of Great Britain may be generating good television, but how much of what is represented on the small screen is accurate? Kelly Woo posted, “Fact, Fiction, or Fudge: The Truth Behind PBS’s ‘Victoria’” for Yahoo.com January 16, 2017, with insight into the accuracies and more from the Masterpiece on PBS show about Queen Victoria.
One scene in the premiere episode that was not based in reality revolved around a rat birthday cake infestation. Woo wrote, “Victoria’s birthday is ruined when rats overrun the cake. She freaks out, and her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland (Peter Firth), and Sir John Conroy plot to use those “hysterics” as a way of declaring the queen insane and installing a regency.”
A research paper could explore other untruths about Queen Victoria, especially those related to the fact that her one daughter, Princess Beatrice, edited or destroyed many of the 141 volumes of diaries the monarch created during her long reign.
Queen Victoria as entertainment
Queen Victoria ruled over Great Britain for 64 years. She was surpassed as the longest serving in the British monarchy in 2015 by her great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth II. In the eyes of many television viewers, her descendent might have also beat her in terms of having the best fictionalized account of her life on the small screen. “PBS’ ‘Victoria’ is good, but not as royally entertaining as ‘The Crown’” by Meredith Blake for the January 14, 2017, issue of The LA Times, shared more on this topic.
Blake explained the current obsession with female royals, “From our modern vantage point, the seeming contradiction between unimaginable wealth and power of being a queen and the strictly circumscribed gender roles of the past is a tantalizing source of drama.” A research paper could examine the intersection of gender and political power that the PBS program presents, and even contrast that with the changes experienced between the two female monarchs of the 19th and 20th centuries.
A fresh look at the British monarchy
“Julia Baird’s Biography Gives Dour Queen Victoria a Beating Heart” by Matthew Price for the January 1, 2017, edition of Newsday St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) described the monarch as the archetypal modern woman. Price wrote, “We tend to see her as a prisoner of that age: dour, unsmiling, repressed in short, rather Victorian. Julia Baird wants to liberate her from that straitjacket.”
Queen Victoria has come to be viewed in a certain way since her death, even as her name has come to describe an entire period of history. But the Victorian age, and the public perception of Queen Victoria, may not accurately reflect the true woman. A research paper could study the disconnect between the realities of who was this leader of Great Britain and how her reputation differs from the facts.
What is behind the recent fascination with the female leaders of Great Britain? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.