Following the success of The Crown, the critically acclaimed Netflix show about the Windsors, the appetite for royal dramas shows no sign of abating. Victoria, the new PBS Masterpiece series airing this month and starring British actors Jenna Coleman as the queen, Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, and Rufus Sewell as prime minister Lord Melbourne, does not stint on lavish locations. For the country-house fan, the show offers a whirlwind tour of some of Yorkshire’s most famous stately homes. Castle Howard, Carlton Towers, Bramham Park, and Wentworth Woodhouse stand in for such royal residences as Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle.
“Victoria was an unlikely character,” says Coleman when I meet her at London’s Covent Garden Hotel for tea. “She grew up very isolated and then became the most powerful woman in the world overnight. She was so inexperienced, so inconsistent—apparently she even threw scissors at her governess! But through all her flaws her core was good. Her diaries show that there was a pureness to her, a will to do a good job.”
I watched the series with one eye on the screen and another stuck into a fascinating new biography—Victoria: The Queen (Random House), by Julia Baird—that reflects Goodwin’s view that while Victoria was “the first woman to have it all,” she could also be “a mean girl. She was very troubled and tempestuous,” often lashing out at those close to her. A fascinating episode covers the scandal of Lady Flora Hastings, a lady-in-waiting whom court rivals accused of becoming pregnant by Sir John Conroy after she developed a swollen abdomen. The queen insisted that Hastings, who was a virgin, undergo a humiliating series of medical examinations. When she died soon afterward, it was revealed she was suffering from a horribly enlarged liver.
For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series – where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way – we’re posing some of the big questions to JENNA COLEMAN.
Following her roles in ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Waterloo Road’, Jenna broke through as one of Doctor Who’s most popular ever companions Clara Oswald.
Since then, she’s taken the title role as the young Queen in the ITV drama ‘Victoria’. In her capacity as an ambassador for American Express Shop Small, she spoke to HuffPostUK about what she’s learned along the way, and why her family would never let her get away with any queenliness herself…
How do you switch off from the world?
I take a bath. Or I read. Or both at once. Sometimes I go for a long walk.
How do you deal with negativity that comes your way?
If it’s justified, I’ll have a think, I try to take it on board. Sometimes it takes a phone call to my mum to rationalise. She’ll tell me, ‘Chin up.’ I do try to learn something from it.
When and where are you at your happiest?
I love being on an aeroplane. It means I can switch off, but I also like the switching of environments. There’s something about being in the clouds.
I also like being around my school-friends in London. It brings me back to who I’ve always been. They’re very supportive of my work, but they don’t let me take myself too seriously.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I was in Bali, and I was struggling to communicate with my taxi driver, we had a language barrier. But we ploughed on, and he was trying to explain some philosophy, and he came up with ‘Making easy.’ And I’ve always remembered it.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
You can’t fix everything.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Don’t worry so much; Have more faith in yourself and your instincts; Don’t try so hard to fit in.
What three things are at the top of your to-do list?
Learn the piano; Learn French; Get better at photography.
What do you think happens when we die?
After watching ‘Black Mirror’, I’d want to ask Charlie Brooker. I’d like we think we go to some special place, but maybe we just come back as grass.
When do you feel in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
When we look at the Supermoon, or we’re anywhere where we look up and see the stars.
What quality do you most treasure in relationships?
Unconditional love, when you’re doing something for another person without expecting a reward.
What keeps you grounded?
Northern pragmatism and humour. I can just see my family’s face if I went home and tried to indulge in some queenliness a la Victoria. I wouldn’t last long.
What the most recent act of kindness you received?
I got into a cab, and I told the driver ‘I’m having such a bad day.’ And he thought I said ‘It’s my birthday’ so he proceeded to sing Happy Birthday to me, the whole song. I didn’t have the heart to stop him, and it actually cheered me up a lot.
Jenna was on BBC Radio 2 this morning with Victoria co-star Tom Hughes,I’ve added images of her during the show a photoshoot which was taken during the interview and leaving the studios! Enjoy!
I’ve added a new portraits of Jenna for The Telegraph during the Victoria Press Day which was August 11.
I’ve added new photoshoots of Jenna at the TCA Portrait room yesterday with Victoria co-star Tom Hughes,enjoy viewing them!
I’ve added HQ Photoshoots of Jenna for Interview Magazine, how amazing does she look? she looks beautiful!
I’ve added HQ Images of Jenna’s new photoshoot for “Stylist Magazine” to our gallery,enjoy!